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How Do I Make My Slide Presentations Accessible for My Learners?

by Craig Mill

on Fri Nov 05, 2021

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I’ve had a few queries recently asking how to make PowerPoint accessible, particularly for learners with a visual impairment who use a screen reader.

We have lots of resources on making Word accessible for example the YouTube video playlist on 'Creating Accessible Documents' and the popular free online interactive module 'Creating Accessible Documents'.

But surprisingly, we don’t have anything on making PowerPoint accessible, so I thought I would write a short guide - making content accessible benefits everyone!

Thankfully, PowerPoint, and other slide software such as Google Slides and Keynote, don’t require a lot of work to make them accessible, just some careful thought and planning beforehand.

I thought this poster from Hull University, Designing for Diverse Learners', was a good starting point with some simple yet useful suggestions to enhance inclusion.

Some golden rules

When it comes to making PowerPoint accessible there are a few golden rules to follow, such as;

  • Using the built-in themes and templates (or doing a search for an accessible template)
  • Ensuring the reading order is correct
  • Adding page numbers to slides to aid navigation
  • Adding Alt Text to images (similar to Word)
  • Using meaningful hyperlinks (similar to Word)
  • Using PowerPoint’s Accessibility Checker to check your slides are good to go (again similar to Word!)

The guide also has some information on presenting and using subtitles and some tips on using captions for media such as audio and video.

PowerPoint templates

Microsoft has developed some accessible PowerPoint templates which you can download here.

Download the guide in different formats

Download in Word format

Download in accessible PDF format

Download in ePub reader (requires an ePub reader)

Download in audio format (mp3)

If there's anything I've missed in the guide or something you would like to see included, please let me know.

Tags: accessible, powerpoint,

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