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A Guide to Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations


Creating accessible PowerPoint presentations is an ethical practice and, in some cases, a legal requirement. Accessibility breaks down barriers and is more inclusive to a diverse range of individuals, including those with a disability.

In this blog post we will discuss the importance of accessibility and how to create PowerPoint presentations that everyone can access and use to their full potential.

Why Accessibility is Important in PowerPoint

There are three key reasons why accessibility matters:

1. Legal: There are many countries and corporations worldwide that have legal requirements and mandate the creation of accessible content.

2. Ethical: Creating content that all audiences can access, see, and understand promotes inclusivity and social consciousness.

3. Reach: Presentations that are accessible have a wider reach of audience, which leads to improved communication.

How to make PowerPoint Presentations more Accessible:

1. Text Point Size

Keep your text fonts between the size range of 28 – 40 points where possible. (Use 36 points or greater for title fonts). Anything under the size of 24 points is too small to be comfortably read in most presentation situations.

2. Include Alternative Text for Images

Ensure all images inserted into your presentations have alternative text (Alt Text). Alternative text provides a description of your image, making it accessible to individuals who use screen readers.

3. Ensure Hyperlinks are Descriptive

If you are inserting hyperlinks into your presentation, ensure that every link has a descriptive link text. For example, instead of using “click here” you could use descriptive words that clearly relate to the linked content. The link text you use will be read aloud by screen readers, so this is beneficial to all users.

4. Use appropriate Colour and Contrast

Always use good contrast for text and background on each presentation slide. This will ensure your content is digested and read easily by individuals who have a visual impairment. TIP: PowerPoint’s ‘Eyedropper‘ tool can help you check and adjust colour contrast as required.

5. Provide Transcripts

If you have embedded an audio, make sure you include a transcript. Transcripts provide the text version of what is being said in an audio. This will help individuals with hearing impairments understand the content.

6. Use Simple Language

Use clear and simple language. Keep in mind that screen readers will understand content presented via lists, bullet points, simple tables, and charts a lot easier than via long worded sentences.

7. Use the Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint

Before finalising your presentation, run the Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint to make sure your content is easy for people of all disabilities to read. The checker will identify any issues and offer solutions on how to fix them. To run the checker, you select the Review tab > Check Accessibility.

8. Accessible Templates

PowerPoint offers accessible presentation templates. These templates will assist you by making sure your slide content, including colours, contrast, and fonts are accessible to everyone. To find an accessible template within PowerPoint, go to File > New. In the ‘Search for Online templates and themes’ field, type ‘Accessible templates’ and press Enter. Then simply select the template of your choice.

9. Sharing

When sharing content, providing an accessible format such as PDF or HTML is important. TIP: It is advisable that you run the Accessibility Checker before you generate or save your document as a PDF. 

In Conclusion:

By incorporating accessibility into your PowerPoint presentations, you’ll be creating content that is more inclusive and valuable to a broad range of individuals. It is a small effort for such a large and far-reaching impact.