Accessible PowerPoint Presentations
Improving accessibility and equity for all students is a requirement for all online learning content. When creating presentations using PowerPoint, please be mindful of the accessibility techniques listed below.
- Make sure the text in your presentation is not too small, especially if the presentation will be viewed on a projector. Use concise and simple language.
- Do not use color as the only way to convey information, use textures and patterns with the color as well as a written description of the information.
- Transitions and animations should be simple. Complex and automatic transitions and animations can be distracting.
- If you have embedded video, ensure the video is captioned.
- If you have embedded audio, include a transcript.
Use Formatted Templates and Slide Layouts
The formatted templates provided in Microsoft PowerPoint have structured headings, text boxes, and lists that have a configured pre-set reading order. Chose a compatible Template with preformatted slide deck for your presentation. When adding new slides:
1. Select New Slide from the Insert menu to add additional slides.
MS PowerPoint slides presentations often contain images that are important to the information being communicated in the presentation. Blind and low-vision students who use screen readers will require Alt Text to be added to the image. The Alt Text should remain intact when exporting to HTML or PDFs.
- Select the picture or object.
- Option to right-click to Edit Alt Text or select Alt Text from the Format section on the header ribbon and select Alt Text.
- Write a short description of the image or mark it as a decorative item if the image is used for decorative value only.
Add a concise description
A few words are all you need, though sometimes a short sentence or two might be appropriate. Screen readers generally say what type of content the object is, you do not need phrases like "image of", "table of", or "link to."
If you have images in your presentation that are purely decorative and do not add value to the content of your presentation please consider removing the image altogether, replacing the image with a more meaningful image and Alt Text, or ensuring that it is excluded in the slide reading order.
When using Tables in your presentation, it is essential to have a clear Table structure. Tables created in PowerPoint have accessibility limitations. Keep your Tables simple. Tables are styled and appear to be formatted as data tables, however, screen reading software cannot not always identify specific data headers or sections.
Do not add an image of a table, create by inserting the data in a Table:
- Select the Insert tab on the ribbon, then select Table > Insert Table.
- Ensure to use formatting to indicate Header Row, First Column, and Banded Rows.
When you embed a video into your PowerPoint Slide presentation it is important that you add Alt Text so that people using screen readers will know that the video is present. Captioning is also required and is provided to all faculty and staff. Closed captions are intended to allow people who are deaf or have audio deficiencies to read the text of spoken dialogue (and important sounds).
Slide Reading Order
People who cannot view the slide can hear slide text with a screen reader. Content is read in a specific order that is determined by the formatted slide or slide creator. It is important to ensure that the slide content will be read by a screen reader in the order that you intend. Checking the reading order of your slides is a critical step to ensure the presentation is in a logical reading order to those that use screen readers.
To ensure the reading order is in the correct order you intended:
- Select the slide and use the Tab key to progress the slide content in the order it will be read.
To correct the slide reading order:
- On the Home tab, in the Drawing group, Select Arrange > Selection Pane.
- The Selection Pane lists the objects on the slide. Objects will be read back through a screen reader beginning with the bottom list item and ending with the top list item. Correct any out of order items using the Re-order arrows on the bottom of the pane.
Checking for Accessibility
Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint tells you about possible accessibility issues in your slide presentation so you can fix these issues so someone with a disability can read and get to your content.
- Select File from the ribbon.
- Select Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility.
Each issue is classified as an Error, Warning, or Tip.
- Error: An error is for content that makes a file very difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to understand.
- Warning: A warning is for content that in most, but not all, cases makes a file difficult for people with disabilities to understand.
- Tip: A tip is for content that people with disabilities can understand, but that might be better organized or presented in a way that would improve their experience.
Additional information and tips on how to correct the errors are listed the Accessibility Checker Panel.