Accessible PowerPoint

Are your PowerPoint Presentations Accessible?

a women making a PPT on her laptop

Microsoft Power Point is widely used by many of us to create visual presentation that consists of text, charts, images etc. But have you come across a need to make your PowerPoint presentation accessible?

Yes, you heard that right! Even your PowerPoint Presentations need to be accessible.

The following information includes how to create PowerPoint presentation keeping accessibility in mind.


Microsoft PowerPoint provides built-in Template which is accessible for different types of assistive technology users. This does not mean we cannot make custom template accessible. Custom template can be made accessible by keeping the following measures in mind.

Tip: You can search for accessible template with the keyword “accessible”.


PowerPoint also provide built-in layout wherein basic accessibility is taken care of. Layouts can be modified at any time based on users need and specification, however it is easiest to choose your layout when creating a new slide.Displaying different layout option in PowerPoint.

Slide Master

Making common changes in all of the slides in one go is possible using master slide, like changing font color for slide titles or adding brand logo. Changes made to master slide are applied to all the slides.

To open Slide Master, select the View tab > Slide Master.

A view of slide master.

Slide titles

Screen reader users identify the slide using slide title. Using identical titles may create confusion for users to understand on which slide they are currently on. Creating a unique slide title will help user navigate and understand the slide content easily. In the case of topics in series we can use additional information such as ‘Slide Title 1 of 2′.

Screenshot of slide title ending with 1 of 2.


Placeholder plays key role in making PowerPoint presentations accessible. You can read more about it from Content Placeholder- Little known features of PowerPoint.

Animation and Flashing/Blinking Content

Automatic transition needs to be avoided. Use minimum animation. It becomes difficult for users with attention difficult disorder to concentrate on information when rapidly moving content is used.


Colors make a presentation look attractive and pleasing but using only colors to interpret information leads to colorblind and blind user unable to perceive the information. Providing an alternate way such as indicating special information using a pattern for colorblind users, supplementing color with text for the visually impaired users and sufficient color contrast for all the users helps in making the presentation accessible in terms of using color.

PowerPoint provide Grayscale as well as other color option to check for other contrast options.


It is recommended to use minimum 10 point font size to ensure it is readable for low vision users.


Yes!!! Even multimedia content can be made accessible for deaf and hard of hearing users.

When using media like audio or video an alternate format (transcripts and/or captions) should be provided which will help deaf and hard of hearing people.

Reading order

Ensure that the reading order for screen reader users is logical.

You can check or change this reading order by selecting Home > Arrange > Selection Pane. The reading order for the elements in this page is bottom to top.

Screenshot of selection pane

Tip: Screen reader read the presentation from left to right and top to bottom.


Formatting text using list can be done using different list styles such as ordered, unordered list, etc. from PowerPoint.


Images are used to display information for users. This information needs to be conveyed to screen reader user also by providing alternate text which covers all the information of the image. Alternate text should be unique and descriptive.  We can add textual description for informative image in the description field in the Format picture.

Screeshot of Format picture


Simple data tables should be used instead of complex to ensure it is easy to understand for screen reader users. For data table appropriate row and/or column header can be marked as header in PowerPoint. This can be achieved by selecting Header Row checkbox from the Table Tools options.


Use descriptive link text.

Screenshot of "Insert hyperlink" lightbox

Accessibility Checker

Having added accessibility mentioned above we can check for accessibility issue using accessibility checker.

The built-in accessibility checker provides result of the accessibility errors, warning and tips.

Screenshot displaying "Check Accessibility" option.

Hope you find the post useful and interesting. Need help with making your presentations accessible? Use our 247 Portal to upload your PPTs to make them accessible. 

By Janaki Konar

Associate Quality Analyst