Microsoft PowerPoint

Overview

Microsoft PowerPoint is a popular way to make presentation for traditional face-to-face slide shows and it is also the basis for many other applications to create recorded narrated online presentations.  When designing PowerPoint presentations here are some issues to keep in mind.

  • When designing a presentation, use the built-in slide layouts instead of drawing custom text boxes on the slide.  This will make a consistent design for all of your slides and make it far easier for users of assistive technologies to navigate your presentation
  • Be sure to add alternate text to the images.
  • Older versions of the Macintosh version of Microsoft PowerPoint do not have as many accessibility features as newer versions or the Windows version, like the ability to add alternative text to images. Only the 2011 version of PowerPoint on Mac supports this functionality.
  • If you want to create a Web based version of the presentation, do not use the “Save as Web Page” feature.  You will need to use another tool like LecShare Lite or the Virtual508 Accessible Wizard for Microsoft Office.
  • One of the easiest ways to share an accessible PowerPoint presentation with others is to simply provide the user with the original PowerPoint file.  This works if the presentation uses the standard slide layouts and other best practices outlined below have been followed.
  • In PowerPoint 2010 and 2012 (Windows only) you can use the new Accessibility Checker to check for common accessibility issues.
  • The Institute of Applied Information Technology at Zurich University has created a Microsoft PowerPoint add-in to check for accessibility issues and create accessible PDFs.
  • Be sure to include a link to the free PowerPoint Viewer from Microsoft so users who don't have Microsoft PowerPoint installed can view your PowerPoint files.

Tutorial