Creating Accessible Power Point Presentations

Although quite an ‘old technology’ the ubiquitous nature of PowerPoint Presentations means that thoughtful design from an accessibility perspective can greatly enhance the student experience of subject content. Here’s a list of easy to utilise hints and tips that will help improve the accessibility of your presentations.

Font

Sans Serif fonts should be used for text and headings.  Below are a few examples:

  • Arial
  • Verdana
  • Tahoma
  • Century Gothic
  • Calibri

Font Size

  • Headings 32 points or larger
  • Subheadings 30 points or larger
  • Text 24 – 28 points or larger

To Enhance Text

  • Bold text
  • Underline
  • Quotations
  • Sufficient white space

Backgrounds & Text

  • Every slide should have a unique title
  • Slide Layout should be simple – minimise bullets, try not to use columns
  • Use simple table structure – specify column header, don’t contain merged/split cells, nested tables
  • Use high contrast colour schemes
  • Keep it simple, preferably one colour or two colour gradients:
    • white and pastel
    • two pastel colours which are adjacent on the colour wheel
  • Avoid grey background or grey text
  • Avoid shadowed text
  • Avoid blue backgrounds
  • Use built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order

Animations & Graphics

  • Images, tables, graphs and data visualisations are not accessible with screen readers. Add an alternative text to each visual
  • Avoid excess animation, flashing images, strobing or rapidly moving images
  • Limit animations – preferably no animations or transitions as screen readers do not read these
  • Avoid low contrast and grey scale graphics
  • If adding a narrated voice to each slide, turn off automatic transitioning

Other General Accessibility Best Practices

  • If a PDF format is required for students, save the PPT to an accessible PDF
  • Create PowerPoint in outline view. Outline view displays what is read by a screen reader
  • Hyperlinks should be meaningful – name or briefly describe link destination
  • Check external content for accessibility
  • Provide audio transcription – could be provided in notes section
  • Use the built-in accessibility checker in Microsoft Office products
  • For additional accessibility checking, use a screen reader

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