Use slide layouts within PowerPoint to ensure files have correctly structured headings, lists, and proper reading order.
- Select Home > New Slide, then choose a layout from the dropdown.
- To change a slide layout, select Home > Layout, then choose a layout from the dropdown menu.
- Make sure to include a Title for every slide (it can be hidden using the Selection Pane).
SLIDE READING ORDER
- To check or correct reading order, select Home > Arrange > Selection Pane.
- The Selection Pane will appear to the right of the slide view. Reading order is shown in reverse, bottom to top.
- You can verify reading order by clicking on each element in the Selection Pane list and viewing the corresponding item on the slide.
- Click and drag or use the arrow buttons to change reading order as necessary.
IMAGE ALT TEXT
Images (including shapes, pictures, charts, graphs, etc) must have a text description that clearly explains the image and its context in the slide. Images should be described so that those using a screen reader are not missing any relevant information.
- Insert an image OR right-click on an existing image and choose “Format Picture.”
- Select the Size and Properties icon (third icon from the left) and choose “Alt Text.”
- Enter succinct yet descriptive alt text in the Description field (title is optional).
Hyperlinks should provide descriptive text and make sense contextually instead of simply pasting a “raw” URL or using generic link text such as “click here” or “read more.” (Please note: PowerPoint automatically creates a hyperlink when a user pastes a full URL onto a slide and presses Enter or Space, but following the steps below will allow anyone using a screen reader and others to understand the hyperlink information.)
- Click “Insert” from the top menu and click Hyperlink
- In the “Text to Display” field, enter descriptive text about the link
- Paste or type the actual URL in the Address box near the bottom.
FINAL STEP: ACCESSIBILITY CHECKER
Like all Microsoft programs, Powerpoint includes a built-in Accessibility Checker.
- With your presentation open, select File and make sure you are on the “Info” menu at left.
- On the screen, click the button that says ‘Check for Issues’ and then select ‘Check Accessibility’ from the dropdown menu.
- If using Powerpoint on a Mac, click “Review” on the top ribbon and then select “Check Accessibility.”
- Powerpoint will populate an Accessibility Checker report on the right side of the screen.
- Go through each item in the Accessibility Checker report and follow the recommendations and directions listed under ‘Additional Information.’
GENERAL POWERPOINT ACCESSIBILITY TIPS
- Ensure font size is sufficient. If your presentation will be viewed on a
projector, font size may need to be even larger.
- Provide sufficient contrast. If your presentation will be viewed on a
projector, sometimes the contrast needs to be even more pronounced.
- Do not use color as the only way to convey meaning.
- Avoid automatic slide transitions and use simple slide transitions when possible.
- Do not put accessibility information (like alternative text) in the Notes pane.
- If you have embedded video, make sure it is captioned.
- If you have embedded audio, include a transcript.
- If your slides contain animations, ensure they are brief and do not distract from the most important content on the page.
- Use simple language.