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 Creating Accessible Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations (Windows)

 Instructions for creating accessible PowerPoint presentations (Windows)

Slide Layouts

Using slide layouts provided within PowerPoint will ensure files have correctly structured headings and lists, and proper reading order.

Creating Slide Layouts

1.   Select Home> New Slide.

2.   Choose the desired layout from the Layout option.

screenshot of New Slide button on Microsoft ribbon. 

Alternative Text for Images

Images can be given appropriate alternative text in PowerPoint. This alt text is read by a screen reader in a PowerPoint file and should remain intact when exporting to HTML or PDF.

Adding Alt Text

1.    Right-click on the image and choose Format Picture.

2.    Select the Size & Properties icon and choose Alt Text.

3.    Enter appropriate alt text only in the Description field (not the Title field).

screenshot of Format Picture window with Size and Properties tab highlighted third from the left. 

Data Tables

Accessible tables need a clear table structure and table headers to help guide a screen reader user.

         Select the Insert tab on the ribbon, then select Table > Insert Table.

     screenshot of Table button on the Microsoft ribbon. 

         PowerPoint can style rows and columns so they appear as data tables, but there is no way to add table header information in a way that will be
     identified by a screen reader.

         If your presentation contains more than the simplest tables, and if you have Adobe Acrobat, consider saving your presentation to PDF and adding
     the additional accessibility information in Acrobat Pro.


PowerPoint automatically creates a hyperlink when a user pastes a full URL onto a page. These may not make sense to screen reader users, so more information is needed.

Editing Hyperlinks

1.   Select a hyperlink, right click, and select Edit Hyperlink or CTRL + k.

2.   Change the text in the Text to Display field to a more meaningful description.

screenshot of Text to Display field located in the Hyperlink window. 

Outline and Notes Panels

PowerPoint contains two panels that can be used to enhance accessibility: the Outline panel and the Notes panel.

Outline Panel

         The Outline panel, found under View> Outline View, contains a text outline of the content that appears in your slides.

         Reviewing this panel can help ensure the content on the slides is logically sequenced, that slide titles are unique and meaningful, and that reading
     order is appropriate for any user.

Notes Panel

         The Notes panel, found under View> Notes, allows the speaker to add notes and information that will not appear on the slides. This
     information may not be accessed by a screen reader, so do not put important information in this area.

Accessibility Checker

PowerPoint includes an accessibility resource that identifies accessibility issues.

1.    Select File> Info.

2.    Select the Check for Issues button and choose Check Accessibility.

screenshot of Check Accessibility option located in the Info window. 

3.    The Accessibility Checker task pane will show accessibility errors, warnings, and tips on how to repair the errors. Select specific issues to see Additional Information at the bottom of the task pane.



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