7 Steps to Creating an Accessible PowerPoint Slideshow

Screenshot of a PowerPoint with Accessibility Checker Menu open.

PowerPoint presentations are frequently used in K-12 classrooms, college classrooms and in the work field. Are your PowerPoint presentations accessible to all your students?

Students with visual impairments and blindness should be introduced to and comfortable with using PowerPoint as a learning tool.  They should also be able to create their own accessible PowerPoint slides.  Beginning in high school, students should be able to advocate for accessibility and should begin to share resources with general education teachers on how to create accessible PowerPoint slides.  

Want to learn more about how to make PowerPoint presentations accessible?  Disability Access Services shares 7 steps on how to make an accessible PowerPoint slideshow.

  1. Establish the Slide Layout
  2. Other Slide Design Considerations
    • Use sans serif fonts Arial or Verdana
    • 24 point minimal font size
    • Color Contrast
    • Avoid animations and transitions
    • Tables data visualizations are not accessible with a screen reader
    • Videos should be captioned, video described and/or transcript made available
  3. Use Slide and Outline Views
    • Outline view displays what is read by a screen reader
  4. Add Alternative Text
    • Images should be described using alt text
  5. Use Meaningful Hyperlink Text
    • Hyperlink text should name or briefly describe the link destination
  6. Convert PowerPoint to other Formats
    • PDF or HTML format should be shared with student
  7. Check Accessibility
    • PowerPoint has built-in accessibility check feature
    • Also test using a screen reader

Teacher of the Visually Impaired Hint: Include PowerPoint accessibility training with general education teachers at the beginning of the year or the beginning of each semester.  Share resources that the general education teachers can refer to as they make their PowerPoint presentations.  With your student, create a bulleted list of your student's specific preferences (such as colors, font size, etc.) that can be shared with general education teachers.  Consider making a simple PowerPoint presentation that includes your student's preferences to share with general education teachers.  Creating these resources and sharing these resources with general education teachers are critical college skills and can be a part of the student's transition plan.

Editor's Note: The original document was initially created in 2013.  The PowerPoint application has been updated since then, so the screenshots may show some slight differences.  The accessibility concepts continue to be viable.

For additional information on how to create accessible PowerPoints, go to the Paths to Technology post, Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations for Students with Visual Impairments and Blindness.  This post includes APH's PowerPoint Guidelines, with information and examples of PowerPoint slides for students with low vision.