Accessibility Checklist for MS PowerPoint

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Use this checklist to guide you toward creating accessible MS PowerPoint slides.  Start with practices that you find quick and easy, then build from there. 

Small changes can have a big impact


◻   Choose a simple Design Theme, that has lots of white space
◻   Limit amount of text/images per slide to avoid clutter and maximize white space
◻   Use PowerPoint’s preformatted slide Layouts when creating slides
◻   Give every slide a unique title
◻   Keep animations and transitions simple
◻   Check slides using the built-in “Check Accessibility” tool
◻   Create a bottom-to-top reading order (z-order) of elements on each slide


◻  Use text that is preferably 24-32 point (18 point, minimum)
◻  Use sans serif font(Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Tahoma, or Verdana)
◻  Use a solid background with sufficient colour contrast from the colour of the text
◻  Create lists with the built-in bullet/numbering function, not typed characters or hyphens
◻  Use the built-in slide numbering function, if numbering slides
◻  Use Style elements to organize and structure the slides (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.)
◻  Use Hyperlink text instead of showing the URL in presentations
◻  If the presentation is also provided as a printout, include the URL along with the hyperlink text
◻  Indicate the content of the destination link in the Hyperlink text; do not use "click here"
◻  Do not use colour as the only way to differentiate or emphasize information

Images and other Visual Elements 

◻   Include meaningful Alternative Text (i.e. a built-in function in Word where the author can provide
       a short description of the nature and content of each visual) for each visual
◻   If image is decorative, use the word decorative or describe the image
◻   Do not use colour as the only means of conveying information (check by viewing grayscale)
◻   Avoid using text on images
◻   If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the presentation
◻   Include captions and descriptive text transcripts for embedded videos and audio
◻  Check colour contrast using the Colour Contrast Analyser


◻  Create tables by using the PowerPoint’s Insert Table tool
◻  Use a simple table structure, and do not nest tables or split/merge cells
◻  Specify column and/or row header information in each in Table Properties table


If you would like support applying these tips to your own teaching, CTE staff members are here to help.  View the CTE Support page to find the most relevant staff member to contact.


teaching tips

 This Creative Commons license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon our work non-commercially, as long as they credit us and indicate if changes were made. Use this citation format: Accessibility Checklist for MS PowerPoint. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo.