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Making your PowerPoint presentations more accessible IRD Accessible Resources

Making your PowerPoint presentations more accessible

Posted in Accessible Resources

Ask Yourself

  • Do you create and structure your PowerPoint presentations to make them more accessible?
  • Do you know if the content in your PowerPoint presentations is accessible on different technologies?
  • Does your PowerPoint presentation work without additional explanation?
  • If the content of your PowerPoint presentation was not delivered slide by slide would it still make sense?


PowerPoint presentations by design are good for breaking down information into small chunks to convey a linear sequence of information. When developing a PowerPoint presentation you need to also consider that it may be used outside of where it was originally presented and without the context of the lecture.


To create more accessible PowerPoint presentations you can:

  • limit the amount of text on each slide
  • limit the number of slides
  • provide outline/notes
  • number the slides in a logical reading order
  • ensure consistent font size
  • use high contrast between the text colour and the background colour to improve readability
  • ensure that all slides have unique titles

Use alternative text to describe images and graphics – content can be conveyed without the image and the description is retained if converting the document to HTML.

Use the default slide layouts within PowerPoint which can be read by assistive technologies and automatically creates correctly sized and aligned page holders for content. Don’t use additional ‘layout’ text boxes. If the text of your slide cannot be seen in the outline panel then it will not be visible in different formats or to assistive technologies.

Using PowerPoint to deliver presentations may not always be an effective way to create an easily accessible document, especially if presentations are made available online. For example they should not be used to convey complex/detailed information. Alternative methods of delivering content should be considered which takes into account the readability, usability and navigability of the user.

“One of my lecturers was really inclusive. He not only put up copies of the lecture slides but he also put up copies of the actual lecture notes, so essentially what he would read out. That made it a lot quicker to go through and find that one bit of information instead of having to look through all the slides. Because they have a lot more visual information on them [which I can’t see] which can take a lot longer to sort through [unlike text].”
A La Trobe student with vision impairment describes how one lecturer supports all students by adding text to the PowerPoint slides to make them more inclusive.

Making such modifications to your PowerPoint presentations will ensure that all students have equal access to your information. Further information available from Tips for creating a more inclusive Microsoft PowerPoint document.

Related Topics

La Trobe Resources and References

External Resources and References

PowerPoint Accessibility by Portland Community College.
Inaccessible documents by The Higher Education Academy has four exercises on making electronic documents accessible.

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