Queen Margaret University - Student Guide Top Tips for Producing Accessible PowerPoint Presentations

Top Tips for Producing Accessible PowerPoint Presentations

Slide Layout

Make sure slide contents can be read in the order that you intend. Screen readers may sometimes read the elements of a slide in a different order from the way things appear on the screen.

Use one of PowerPoint’s pre-set accessible layouts from the Home/New Slide option.

Help: Setting the reading order of slide contents

Help: Using built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order

Slide Titles

Ensure each slide has a unique title. People who have a visual impairment or a reading disability rely on slide titles to navigate. For example, by skimming or using a screen reader, they can quickly scan through a list of slide titles and go right to the slide they want.

Help: Using unique slide titles


Ensure that font size is sufficiently large—generally a minimum of 18 points. Use Sans Serif fonts such as Arial or Verdana.

Help: Formatting text for accessibility 

Contrast and Colour

Ensure there is good contrast between elements on the page, e.g. text and background colours. Use a simple background.
Do not use colour as the only way to convey information on a slide.

Help:  accessibility text color 

General Content

Limit the amount of information on slides and avoid long sentences.

Unless important for the slide, avoid animations and automatic slide transitions as they can be distracting or work incorrectly with Screen Readers.


Use descriptive link text for links, when linking to web pages within your documents. Avoid text such as ‘Read More’ or ‘Click Here’. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination.

Help:  Adding hyperlinks text and screen tips 


Use a simple table structure, and specify column header information.

Ensure that tables do not contain split cells, merged cells, nested tables, or completely blank rows or columns.

Do not use tables to format layout, only for presenting data. Use alternative text descriptions for tables.

Help:  How to use table headers 

Help:  Adding alt text to tables 


Provide alternative labels for all images. To do this, right-click on the image, then select Format Picture and then select ‘Alt Text’.

Alternative text (Alt Text) describes an object so that a user’s assistive technology may convey the information being shown. The text should communicate the purpose of the image or other object accurately and succinctly.

Help:  How to add alt text to images 

Help:  improving images accessibility in PowerPoint 

Embedded Video and Audio

If you have embedded video, ensure the video is captioned and the player controls are accessible.

For an audio only file, a transcription should be included.

Help:  Using captions, subtitles and alternative audio tracks in videos 

Help:  How to Quickly Record Narration in PowerPoint 

Converting a PowerPoint to PDF format

Whilst PowerPoint is great for presentations, it is not usually the best format for content on the web. Converting the PowerPoint to a PDF is often a better way to distribute the presentation electronically. Assuming the original PowerPoint has been created following these guidelines, most accessibility features will be retained in the PDF file.

Help:  How to save a PowerPoint presentation as a PDF 

Accessibility Checker

Use Microsoft PowerPoint’s built in Accessibility Checker function. It inspects your file and alerts you to issues that could make it difficult for a user with a disability to access.

It can be found under File / Info / Check for Issues / Check Accessibility.

Help:  Using the built in Accessibility checker