PowerPoint

PowerPoint offers many accessibility features. When used properly, these features improve your presentation's accessibility.

Keep It Simple

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Color Choice/Contrast

Live Presentation and Digital File

Strive for colors in a PowerPoint presentation to pass WCAG 2.0 AA standards for color contrast.

  • Choose high-contrast text to background ratios

  • When showing emphasis, use bold or underline (not italics) instead of relying on just color

  • Avoid text that appears on top of images or patterned backgrounds

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Images and Graphics

Live Presentation and Digital File

Images should:

  • use a high-contrast text to background ratio (if text or chart elements are present)

Digital File

In addition to above, digital files should:
  • include a description of the image in the alt text field, if you will be sharing the presentation digitally

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Links

Live Presentation

It can be helpful for people taking notes to see the full hyperlink during a presentation.

Digital File

Hyperlinks should be unique and descriptive in digital presentations. To change the link text:

  1. Select a link, right click and select Hyperlink or Hyperlink > Edit Hyperlink.

  2. In the Text to display field, edit the text to be descriptive. Click OK.

  3. Review your surrounding text and edit as needed.

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Multimedia (Audio & Video)

Live Presentation and Digital File

  • Any video within your PowerPoint should offer captions.

    • Tip: Have the captions on when showing the video to a live audience.

  •  A PowerPoint that has audio should be treated like a video. It requires closed captions or an interactive transcript (time-synchronized with the slide)

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Tables

Live Presentation and Digital File

Avoid using tables. If you must use them:

  • use simple tables with header cells that correlate directly to the data

  • do not use tables to align text and images

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Text, Headings

Live Presentation

  • Choose large, legible fonts.
    • Acceptable fonts include: Verdana, Lucida Sans/Lucida Grande, Tahoma, Georgia, Palatino/Palatino Linotype, Book Antiqua.
    • Don’t go smaller than 24 pt.

  • Headings should be larger than the rest of text, bold to stand out and in the same location on each slide.

Digital File

In addition to above, digital files should:

  • use as few text boxes as possible, to aid those using screen readers

Next Steps for Digital Files

Presentations are often shared via email or the web. Be sure to follow the notes in the above sections that apply to digital files.

Once you have created your accessible PowerPoint:

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Test

Microsoft Check Accessibility buttonUse the built-in accessibility checker to identify and repair accessibility issues.

The checker's Inspection Results (usually located on the right in a column next to your document) classifies accessibility issues into three categories:

  • Errors: content that makes a document very difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to access. Example: an image with no alt text.

  • Warnings: content that in most—but not all—cases makes the document difficult for people with disabilities to access. Example: a link with text that is not descriptive of its function.

  • Tips: content that people with disabilities can access, but that might be better organized or presented. Example: skipping from a first-level heading to a third-level heading.

Note: If in your Inspection Results you see the message: "The accessibility checker can't check the current file type for accessibility" the version of PowerPoint your file is using does not support the accessibility check. To repair this, go to File > Save As and select .pptx (rather than .ppt) from the File Format dropdown.

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