​​​​​​​Maths is an emerging area for accessibility with many challenges still to overcome. This page seeks to bring together guidance and techniques to help you improve the accessibility of your content. There is also excellent guidance curated by the London Mathematical Society​​​​​

Writing accessible Maths

Maths typed directly into documents is not accessible for visually impaired students/staff who use screen reading technology to read information aloud. Whenever possible you should use the following approaches to create accessible written maths.

Accessible maths in Microsoft Word

Inserting maths formulas (including LaTeX) into MS Words Equation Editor allows them to be converted into a much more accessible format. These can then be copied and pasted into other Microsoft application.

  • Go to the insert tab on MS Word and select “Equation”. This will then bring up the Equation Editor and associated menu options. Maths entered into the Equation editor will be accessible.
  • By selecting the appropriate format from the “conversion” menu (Unicode, LaTeX, Text) content entered into the editor box will be converted into an accessible equation. 
  • Maths can be inserted symbol by symbol, using the template structures provided or using the “Ink Equation” tool. 

Only enter formulas using the Equation tool, as symbols entered into the body of normal text will not be accessible. 

Maths in Blackboard

  • Blackboard has an inbuilt maths editor which allows users to add accessible maths to blackboard pages.
  • When uploading documents it is recommended to keep them in their original format, such as word rather than saving to PDF, as this will offer the greatest accessibility.
    • ​​​​​​​PDFs uploaded to Blackboard Ally may provide a high score but the maths contained may not be accessible.
    • When maths is present encourage students to use the original version of a document instead of selecting alternative formats as the conversion is unlikely to produce accessible results.


The MathJax converter allows you to create accessible maths that can then be copied into MS Word. Use MathML, TeX, and ASCIImath as input and produce HTML+CSS, SVG, or MathML as output.


All diagrams or photos/scans of maths need to have alternative text for visually impaired users. ​​​​​​​Diagram Center have produced excellent guidance on writing alternative text for maths as well as more general guidance and support for accessible maths.

  • Ideally you should look to provide as much description and analysis of a diagram in the body of your documents as possible. If you are able to do this then the alternative text can but much shorter – briefly describing what type of diagram it is and what data it relates to.
  • If this is not possible you should include a detailed description in the alternative text itself. 
  • If you cannot describe the diagram effectively or you do not immediately have time to do so you should still provide brief alternative text and advise students to inform you if they need someone to talk them through the details of diagrams. This is only a short-term solution until you are able to provide more detailed description.

More general information on alternative text is available as part of the mandatory Introduction to Digital Accessibility module available on the HROD People Development Blackboard site. 

Maths tools

Below are two useful tools for staff and students. EquatIO was initially designed for Further Education. As the software continues to become more advanced it may be a product the university procures for staff use.

Desmos accessible maths tools

Desmos offers free accessible maths calculators  including graphing, scientific, four function and matrix. These tools are especially useful for disabled students or staff who need to write or calculate maths. 


EquatIO is developed by texthelp – the same parent company as read&write.

  • The full version is free for students and staff can trial it for a month. 
  • The free version has greatly reduced features but does offer speech to text (LaTeX) which can then be copied and pasted into Microsoft Words Equation Editor.
  • The full version provides three key features for students:
    • Quick conversion of LaTeX to MathML (accessible maths format).
    • Screenshot reader – ability to covert images into editable (and accessible) maths.
    • Predictive formula creation to speed up the writing process.