The main accessibility points to consider when creating a PowerPoint presentation are:

Slide titles

Use built-in PowerPoint slide templates rather than creating custom templates. These templates have Slide titles built into their structure. Slide titles provide heading structure for screen reader users.

  1. On the Home tab, choose layouts from the New Slide or Layouts drop-down menus and select a slide that includes a title and appropriate content structural elements.

If you do not want the title to be visible on your slide, do the following:

  1. On the Home tab in the Drawing pane, click the Arrange menu.
  2. Click Selection Pane.
  3. Click the eye icon next to the text box to toggle its visibility.

Things to consider when adding slide titles:

  • Each slide should have either a visible or non-visible slide title.
  • Use unique heading titles for each slide. If multiple slides refer to the same topic, consider adding "continued" to the end of the slide title.

Reading Order

  1. On the Home tab and in the Drawing pane, click Arrange, then choose Selection Panel.
  2. The Selection Panel lists the shapes on the slide. Objects will be read back beginning with the bottom list item and ending with the top list item. Use the arrows to re-order the shapes.
  3. In the normal layout view, select Outline in the left pan. Check the reading order and look for text included on the slide, but not in the outline.

Things to consider when setting reading order:

  • PowerPoint's built-in templates have predefined reading order. Slides created from a blank slide will likely require you to manually set the reading order.
  • Reading order will be set as items are added to the slide. Example: an image added first will be first in reading order.
  • Text added in text boxes may not appear in the Outline view.

Alternative Text for Images

  1. Right-click the Image, and select Format Picture.
  2. Click Alt Text.
  3. In both both the Title and Description fields, enter the same alternative text for the image. The description should describe the meaning and purpose of the image rather than just its appearance.

Things to consider when providing Alt Tags for images:

  • You do not need to include "image of" or "picture of" in the description.
  • Any text within the image must be included in the Alt Tag.
  • Keep Alt Tags short (less than a paragraph). For a longer description, include it near the image as standard text.
  • In PowerPoint, all images must have alternative text, even if they are purely decorative.
  • Be concise with your use of images and avoid clutter.
  • For more information related to charts and other complex graphics, see this UMN Accessibility website.

Self-Describing Links

  1. Highlight the text you would like to make the link.
  2. Right-click the text or go to the Insert tab and click on Hyperlink.
  3. Type or paste the URL in the Address field.
  4. Select OK.

Things to consider when providing self-describing links:

  • The link text should describe where the user will be taken. For example: SLCC Accessibility homepage.
  • If you wish to include the URL for users who may print the slides, place the URL in parenthesis next to the self-describing link, right-click the URL, and select Remove Hyperlink. Example: SLCC Accessibility homepage (http://www.slcc.edu/accessibility)


  • PowerPoint has a built-in Accessibility Checker that can usually identify issues with any of the items listed above. To use the Accessibility Checker click File, Info, Check for Issues, Check for Accessibility. When used in conjunction with the Selection Pane, you can better insure accessibility in your PowerPoint presentation. Helpful information related to Why Fix and How to Fix is provided in the Additional Information section of the Inspection Results.
  • Navigating tables in PowerPoint is difficult for assistive technology users, consider providing table data in Excel, separate from the PowerPoint or provide the data in a list format.
  • Player controls for videos embedded in PowerPoint are inaccessible; consider adding a self-describing link to the video on YouTube/Vimeo or provide the video file separately from the PowerPoint.
  • Users may interact with PowerPoint files in various ways; provide the PowerPoint file itself instead of a PDF to allow for these various techniques.