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PowerPoint Accessibility Checklist

How to Create Accessible PowerPoint presentations

1/27/2020 3:53:01 PM

A person writing checkmarks on a checklist.

Do you have an accessible PowerPoint template? If so, be sure to use it. If not, you can still create an accessible PowerPoint.

Plan Your Content

  • Include only concepts and brief descriptions on slides, not full sentences. This makes it easier to read from the back of the room. It also supports those with difficulty taking notes to remember key points when they review your slides after the event.
  • Display only simple tables. Complex table data is difficult to see from the back of the room and is difficult to make accessible within a PowerPoint presentation. You can show sections of a table on a slide, provide an accessible PDF of a table you are referencing, or highlight key elements of the table in your slides.
  • Use graphics that support your slide topic. Graphics help many people with vision understand your topic more quickly but not every slide needs a graphic. Consider it as one tool for communication.
  • Make sure color is not the only way you are communicating.
  • Choose video content with accessibility in mind. Videos you choose to show during your presentation should have:
    • Accurate captions turned on during your presentation.
    • Description of visuals that are displayed. Consider those that are unable to see. If you close your eyes, can you understand why the presenter selected a video from just the audio?

Create Your Slides

  • Every slide needs a unique slide title. This is a specific type of content placeholder. Select Home – Arrange – Selection Pane, and check for Title 1.
  • Font size should be fairly large. This needs to be viewable from the back of the room. 24-point font is the minimum size, but we recommend larger.
  • Font color is important. Use a tool like the Colour Contrast Analyser to verify your text color contrast is sufficient.
  • Add alternative text to each graphic. A brief description, without the words “graphic” or “picture of,” provides a text description for those using assistive technology.
  • Use properly formatted tables with the previous font and color considerations.
  • Don’t use the notes area to add information for your attendees. Not everyone can access the notes area easily. Consider providing supplemental information in another format, like an accessible Word document or PDF.
  • Use meaningful text for links. Instead of posting a link like /mnit/about-mnit/accessibility/, use /mnit/about-mnit/accessibility/index.jspOffice of Accessibility ( This makes it easier for those using assistive technology to access the document and provides the link for printed handouts.

Test for Accessibility

  • Run the accessibility checker in PowerPoint. Review any identified issues and fix them.
  • Do a quick check of alternative text for all images. Sometimes file names sneak in and won’t be caught by the checker.
  • Go to View – Outline View. Ensure all text (other than alternative text and tables) is present and remove any extra spaces.
  • Go to Home – Arrange – Selection Pane. Content order should be bottom to top for most versions of PowerPoint (at the time of this article).

Consider Making an Accessible PDF of Your Presentation

If you have Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can export your PowerPoint presentation using the Acrobat tab within PowerPoint.

Open the tags pane. Verify that the tags are in the correct order and have the correct type of tag. Run the Acrobat Pro accessibility checker.

There is more to testing in Acrobat Pro, so if you plan to create a PDF, reach out to a colleague with experience to help you.

Anything Else?

This checklist was created by the State of Minnesota’s Office of Accessibility to help you consider digital accessibility as you create a PowerPoint, but it does not include tips for all the things you might add into your presentations. Please visit the Microsoft Accessibility help pages for more information.

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