How do I create an accessible document using Microsoft PowerPoint?

For an individual with disabilities, much of the success in using course materials depends on how those documents were created. When authoring documents using Microsoft PowerPoint, it's important to follow a few basic steps to ensure your document is readable.

Slide titles

Slide titles provide the heading structure for screen reader users. This allows for easier navigation and will help readers better understand the organization of the content.

You should use the built-in slide templates, as they have slide titles built-in by default. Make sure each slide title has a unique name. If multiple slides refer to the same topic of information, add continued to the end of the slide title.

Reading order

Reading order is important, as it is the order in which a screen reader will read the content to the user. PowerPoint's built-in templates will already have a defined reading order. If you create a new custom slide, you will need to set the reading order manually. When creating new slides, reading order is assigned in the order items are added to the slide.

Alternative text for images

Users who cannot see images must rely on you, the author, to provide alternate text to describe the content of an image. This alternate text should be succinct, convey the important information, and not overburden the reader. Add the alternate text to the description field in the "Format Picture" dialog.

Hyperlinks

Links should describe where they navigate to. For example, https://www.indiana.edu should be Indiana University Bloomington homepage.

Additional tips

  • PowerPoint has a built-in Accessibility Checker that can identify many of the issues mentioned above. You can access this tool by navigating to File > Info > Check for Issues > Check for Accessibility.
  • Table navigation is difficult in PowerPoint for a screen reader user. Consider providing tabular data in another format.
  • Videos embedded into PowerPoints are typically inaccessible. If these videos are hosted on an outside source (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), consider including a link to the video.
  • Screen reader users can interact with PowerPoint in various ways. When providing a copy of you presentation to them, provide the actual PowerPoint file and not a PDF version to allow for this.

For more information

This is document bftz in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2015-10-16 00:00:00.

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