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Using the Accessibility Checker for PowerPoint

Published: 29 July 2021

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Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

Accessible PowerPoint documents will:

  • Make your presentations smaller and faster to upload/download
  • Help to ensure that all of the audience can engage with the presentation
  • Make your presentations easier to convert into alternative formats and retain readability
  • Reduce the time required to convert existing presentations into specific accessible formats
Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities


When writing your presentation:

  • Limit amount of information on each slide and avoid long sentences.
  • Use plain English and avoid the use of abbreviations.
  • Provide text descriptions for pictorial elements or graphs. To do this, right click on ‘Image’, select ‘format picture’, click ‘web tab’ and then add in the description and click ‘OK’).

Style of slides

The way slides look is also very important to their accessibility:

  • Use standard slide layouts and check order of information in outline view to ensure accessibility for those reading slides using screen readers.
  • Use a dark text on light backgrounds to provide clear contrast. An off-white/cream background is generally accepted as being more accessible than pure white. Avoid using busy background images.
  • Use a sans serif typeface (Arial is best) of font size 24 or above (45 bold for titles).
  • Bullet points assist in making slides easier to follow.
  • Avoid adding text boxes where possible.
  • Do not use colour as the only indicator of meaning, such as priority items shown in red.
  • Avoid animations and sounds if not crucial to content of presentation. Animations may cause screen readers to read the slide twice.
  • When adding in information from Word, Excel and so on, embed the file name into the slide rather than cutting and pasting.

To do this:

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation and the Word/Excel file you wish to embed into the slides.
  2. Select and copy the section from the Word/Excel file you wish to embed.
  3. Click on the section in the PowerPoint slide where you wish to embed the file.
  4. From the top menu bar select “Edit” then “Paste Special”.
  5. Select the format you wish – Excel/Word etc.
  6. This should embed the item into the presentation. If you double click on the item you will be able to edit it in Word/Excel whilst it remains in the PowerPoint

Using the Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint

PowerPoint presentations tend to be highly visual, and people who are blind or have low vision can understand them more easily if you create your slides with accessibility in mind.

Before releasing materials, you should run the Accessibility Checker to ensure your Microsoft Office content is easy for people of all abilities to read and edit.

The Accessibility Checker can be accessed from the top bar in PowerPoint by going to Review > Accessibility Checker. You will then need to select Check Accessibility from the drop-down menu.

This will open the Accessibility Checker window on the right-hand side of your document.

This will give a list errors, warning and tips with how-to-fix recommendations for each. You can also tick a box that will keep the checker running as you work.

From this list, you can select an issue using the drop-down arrow and this will list the recommended fixes and will let you make the changes directly from the list.

Once you have fixed all of the issues flagged by the Accessibility Checker, your document is ready to share.

Learn more about Accessibility Checker

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