Create Accessible Microsoft PowerPoints

There are five basic techniques that will greatly improve the accessibility of your PowerPoint content:

  1. Add alternative (alt) text to images, SmartArt, graphs, tables, and other visuals
  2. Check the reading order
  3. Use built-in formatting options such as bulleted lists, numbered lists, spacing options, and indent options
  4. Create meaningful hyperlinks that inform readers about the link's content
  5. Use the Accessibility Checker

Add alternative (alt) text to images, SmartArt, graphs, tables, and other visuals

Alt text helps individuals using assistive technologies access images, graphs, and other visuals by describing important features of a visual. Follow the steps below to include alt text in your document’s images:

  1. Select the visual and right click, or select the menu key, to bring up a menu.
  2. Select Format Picture in the menu. A "Format Picture" dialog should appear.
  3. In the dialog, select the Layout and Properties option.
  4. Insert alt text into textbox.

Check the reading order

PowerPoints that have a logical reading order are easier for individuals with disabilities to perceive and understand. Follow the steps below to adjust the reading order of the slides:

  1. Go to the Drawing group under the Home tab.
  2. Select the "Arrange" icon to reveal a dropdown menu.
  3. Choose "Selection Pane."
  4. Adjust the reading order of the textboxes by clicking and dragging them in the list as needed.

Use built-in formatting options such as bulleted lists, numbered lists, spacing options, and indent options

Formatting tools built into Microsoft Word help assistive technology like screen readers read a document accurately, alerting users of features such as bulleted lists and numbered lists. Spacing and indent tools provide accurate visual formatting, preventing the user from being confused. Follow the steps below to utilize built-in formatting tools:

  1. Go to the Paragraph group in the Home tab.
  2. Select the appropriate icon for bulleted lists, numbered lists, spacing, or indent options.
  3. Adjust formatting as needed.

Create meaningful hyperlinks that inform readers about the link's content

Hyperlinks that contain meaningful text instead of a URL provide more context in a document, and inform users where the link will take them if they click on it. Follow the steps below to create meaningful hyperlinks:

  1. Select the text intended to be the link.
  2. Go to the Links group under the "Insert" tab.
  3. Select "Hyperlink." 
  4. In the dialog box, insert the desired website URL. (Your selected text should already be in the "Text to Display" field.)
  5. Click "OK."

Use the Accessibility Checker

The Accessibility Checker is a feature in PowerPoint that informs you about any accessibility concerns in your presentation, and instructs on how to address and fix these concerns. Follow the steps below to run the Accessibility Checker:

  1. Go to the File tab, then Info.
  2. Select "Check for Issues" to bring down a dropdown menu.
  3. Select "Check Accessibility."
  4. Follow the steps in the results pane as needed.

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