Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

This topic gives you step-by-step instructions and best practices for making your PowerPoint presentations accessible and unlock your content to everyone, including people with disabilities.

PowerPoint has many features built-in that help people with different abilities to read and author documents. In this topic, you learn, for example, how to work with the Accessibility Checker to tackle accessibility issues while you're creating your presentation. You'll also learn how to add alt texts to images so that people using screen readers are able to listen to what the image is all about. You can also read about how to use slide design, fonts, colors, and styles to maximize the inclusiveness of your slides before you share or present them to your audience.

In this topic

Best practices for making PowerPoint presentations accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating PowerPoint presentations that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

How to find it

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all visuals.

To find missing alternative text, use the Accessibility Checker.

Alternative text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.

Add alt text to visuals

Make sure slide contents can be read in the order that you intend.

Use the Accessibility Checker to find slides that have possible problems with reading order.

Try navigating your slides with a screen reader.

A screen reader reads the elements of a slide in the order they were added to the slide, which might be very different from the order in which things appear.

Set the reading order of slide contents

Use built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order, colors, and more

Add meaningful and accurate hyperlink text and ScreenTips.

To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information, visually scan the slides in your presentation.

People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links.

Tip: You can also add ScreenTips that appear when your cursor hovers over text or images that include a hyperlink.

Create accessible hyperlink text and add ScreenTips

Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information.

Select Start Settings > Accessibility > Color filters. Turn on the Color filter switch, and then select Grayscale. Visually scan each slide in your presentation for instances of color-coding.

People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.

Use an accessible presentation template

Use built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order, colors, and more

Use sufficient contrast for text and background colors.

To find insufficient color contrast, use the Accessibility Checker.

You can also look for text in your presentation that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.

Strong contrast between text and background makes it easier for people with low vision or colorblindness to see and use the content.

Use accessible font color

Use built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order, colors, and more

Give every slide a unique title

To find slides that do not have titles, use the Accessibility Checker.

People who are blind, have low vision, or a reading disability rely on slide titles to navigate. For example, by skimming or using a screen reader, they can quickly scan through a list of slide titles and go right to the slide they want.

Give every slide a title

Hide a slide title

If you must use tables, create a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

To ensure that tables don't contain split cells, merged cells, or nested tables, use the Accessibility Checker.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. 

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Avoid using tables

Use table headers

Use a larger font size (18pt or larger), sans serif fonts, and sufficient white space.

To find potential issues related to fonts or white space, review your slides for areas that look crowded or illegible.

People who have dyslexia describe seeing text merge or distort.

Use an accessible presentation template

Use accessible font format and color

Make videos accessible to people who are blind or have low vision or people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Subtitles typically contain a transcription (or translation) of the dialogue.

Closed captions typically also describe audio cues such as music or sound effects that occur off-screen.

Video description means audio-narrated descriptions of a video's key visual elements. These descriptions are inserted into natural pauses in the program's dialogue. Video description makes video more accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.

Use captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks in videos

Create accessible PDFs or other file formats of your presentation.

Include accessibility tags to PDF files you create from your presentation. The tags make it possible for screen readers and other assistive technologies to read and navigate a document.

You can also save the presentation in a format that can be ported to a Braille reader.

Save your presentation in a different format

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Check accessibility while you work

The Accessibility Checker is a tool that reviews your content and flags accessibility issues it comes across. It explains why each issue might be a potential problem for someone with a disability. The Accessibility Checker also suggests how you can resolve the issues that appear.

In PowerPoint, the Accessibility Checker runs automatically in the background when you're creating a document. If the Accessibility Checker detects accessibility issues, you will get a reminder in the status bar.

To manually launch the Accessibility Checker, select Review Check Accessibility. The Accessibility pane opens, and you can now review and fix accessibility issues. For more info, go to Improve accessibility with the Accessibility Checker.

Tip: Use the Accessibility Reminder add-in for Office to notify authors and contributors of accessibility issues in their documents. With the add-in, you can quickly add reminder comments that spread awareness of accessibility issues and encourage the use of the Accessibility Checker. For more info, go to Use the Accessibility Reminder to notify authors of accessibility issues.

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Create accessible slides

The following procedures describe how to make the slides in your PowerPoint presentations accessible. For more info, go to Video: Create accessible slides and Video: Design slides for people with dyslexia.

Use an accessible presentation template

Use one of the accessible PowerPoint templates to make sure that your slide design, colors, contrast, and fonts are accessible for all audiences. They are also designed so that screen readers can more easily read the slide content.

  1. To find an accessible template, select File > New.

  2. In the Search for Online templates and themes text field, type accessible templates and press Enter.

  3. In the search results, select a suitable template.

  4. In the template preview, select Create.

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Give every slide a title

One simple step towards inclusivity is having a unique, descriptive title on each slide, even if it isn't visible. A person with a visual disability that uses a screen reader relies on the slide titles to know which slide is which.

Use the Accessibility ribbon to make sure every slide has a title. For instructions, go to Title a slide and expand the "Use the Accessibility ribbon to title a slide" section.

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Hide a slide title

You can position a title off the slide. That way, the slide has a title for accessibility, but you save space on the slide for other content. For instructions, go to Title a slide and expand the "Put a title on a slide, but make the title invisible" section.

If you want all or many of your slide titles to be hidden, you can modify the slide master. For instructions, go to Title a slide and expand the "Systematically hide slide titles" section.

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Restore a slide design

If you've moved or edited a placeholder on a slide, you can reset the slide to its original design. All formatting (for example, fonts, colors, effects) go back to what has been assigned in the template. Restoring the design might also help you find title placeholders which need a unique title.

  1. To restore all placeholders for the selected slide, on the Home tab, in the Slides group, select Reset.

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Set the reading order of slide contents

Some people with visual disabilities use a screen reader to read the information on the slide. When you create slides, putting the objects in a logical reading order is crucial for screen reader users to understand the slide. 

Use the Accessibility Checker and the Reading Order pane to set the order in which the screen readers read the slide contents. When the screen reader reads the slide, it reads the objects in the order they are listed in the Reading Order pane. 

For the step-by-step instructions how to set the reading order, go to Make slides easier to read by using the Reading Order pane.

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Use built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order, colors, and more

PowerPoint has built-in, predesigned slide designs that contain placeholders for text, videos, pictures, and more. They also contain all the formatting, such as theme colors, fonts, and effects. To make sure that your slides are accessible, the built-in layouts are designed so that the reading order is the same for people who use assistive technologies such as screen readers and people who see. For more info, go to Video: Use accessible colors and styles in slides.

  1. On the View tab, select Normal.

  2. On the Design tab, do one or both of the following:

    • Expand the Themes gallery and select the slide layout that you want. PowerPoint automatically applies this layout to the presentation.

    • Select Design Ideas and select one of the predesigned designs.

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Avoid using tables

In general, avoid tables if possible and present the data another way, like paragraphs with headings. Tables with fixed width might prove difficult to read for people who use Magnifier, because such tables force the content to a specific size. This makes the font very small, which forces Magnifier users to scroll horizontally, especially on mobile devices.

If you have to use tables, use the following guidelines to make sure your table is as accessible as possible:

  • Avoid fixed width tables.

  • Make sure the tables render properly on all devices, including phones and tablets.

  • If you have hyperlinks in your table, edit the link texts, so they make sense and don't break mid-sentence.

  • Make sure the slide content is easily read with Magnifier. View it on a mobile device to make sure people won’t need to horizontally scroll the slide on a phone, for example.

  • Use table headers.

  • Test accessibility with Immersive Reader.

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Use table headers

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table. Use a simple table structure for data only and specify column header information. Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

To ensure that tables don't contain split cells, merged cells, or nested tables, use the Accessibility Checker.

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in a table.

  2. On the Table Design tab, in the Table Styles Options group, select the Header Row checkbox.

  3. Type your column headings.

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Add alt text to visuals

Alt text helps people who use screen readers to understand what’s important in the visuals in your slides. Visual content includes pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.

In alt text, briefly describe the image, its intent, and what is important about the image. Screen readers read the description to users who can’t see the content.

Tip: To write a good alt text, make sure to convey the content and the purpose of the image in a concise and unambiguous manner. The alt text shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence or two—most of the time a few thoughtfully selected words will do. Do not repeat the surrounding textual content as alt text or use phrases referring to images, such as, "a graphic of" or "an image of." For more info on how to write alt text, go to Everything you need to know to write effective alt text.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you use images with text in them, repeat the text in the slide. In alt text of such images, mention the existence of the text and its intent. 

PowerPoint for PC in Microsoft 365 automatically generates alt texts for photos, stock images, and the PowerPoint icons by using intelligent services in the cloud. Always check the autogenerated alt texts to make sure they convey the right message. If necessary, edit the text. For charts, SmartArt, screenshots, or shapes, you need to add the alt texts manually.

For the step-by-step instructions on how to add or edit alt text, go to Add alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object and Video: Improve image accessibility in PowerPoint.

Tips: 

  • In the Alt Text pane, spelling errors are marked with a red squiggly line under the word. To correct the spelling, right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

  • In the Alt Text pane, you can also select Generate a description for me to have Microsoft cloud-powered intelligent services create a description for you. You see the result in the alt text field. Remember to delete any comments PowerPoint added there, for example, "Description automatically generated."

To find missing alternative text, use the Accessibility Checker.

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

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Create accessible hyperlink text and add ScreenTips

People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, avoid using link texts such as "Click here," "See this page," Go here," or "Learn more." Instead include the full title of the destination page. You can also add ScreenTips that appear when your cursor hovers over text or images that include a hyperlink.

Tip:  If the title on the hyperlink's destination page gives an accurate summary of what’s on the page, use it for the hyperlink text. For example, this hyperlink text matches the title on the destination page: Create more with Microsoft templates.

For the step-by-step instructions on how to create hyperlinks and ScreenTips, go to Add a hyperlink to a slide.

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Use accessible font format and color

An accessible font doesn't exclude or slow down the reading speed of anyone reading a slide, including people with low vision or reading disability or people who are blind. The right font improves the legibility and readability of the text in the presentation.

For the step-by-step instructions on how to change fonts in PowerPoint go to Change the fonts in a presentation or Change the default font in PowerPoint.

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Use accessible font format

To reduce the reading load, select familiar sans serif fonts such as Arial or Calibri. Avoid using all capital letters and excessive italics or underlines.

A person with a vision disability might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors. For example, add an underline to color-coded hyperlink text so that people who are colorblind know that the text is linked even if they can’t see the color. For headings, consider adding bold or using a larger font.

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Use accessible font color

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • The text in your presentation should be readable in a high contrast mode. For example, use bright colors or high-contrast color schemes on opposite ends of the color spectrum. White and black schemes make it easier for people who are colorblind to distinguish text and shapes.

  • Use the pre-designed Office Themes to make sure that your slide design is accessible. For instructions, go to Use an accessible presentation template or Use built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order, colors, and more.

  • Use the Accessibility Checker to analyze the presentation and find insufficient color contrast. It finds insufficient color contrast in text with or without highlights or hyperlinks in shapes, tables, or SmartArt with solid opaque colors. It does not find insufficient color contrast in other cases such as text in a transparent text box or placeholder on top of the slide background, or color contrast issues in non-textual content.

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Use captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks in videos

PowerPoint supports the playback of video with multiple audio tracks. It also supports closed captions and subtitles that are embedded in video files.

Currently, only PowerPoint for Windows supports insertion and playback of closed captions or subtitles that are stored in files separate from the video. For all other editions of PowerPoint (such as PowerPoint for macOS or the mobile editions), closed captions or subtitles must be encoded into the video before they are inserted into PowerPoint.

Supported video formats for captions and subtitles vary depending on the operating system that you're using. Each operating system has settings to adjust how the closed captions or subtitles are displayed. For more information, see Closed Caption file types supported by PowerPoint.

Closed captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks are not preserved when you use the Compress Media or Optimize Media Compatibility features. Also, when turning your presentation into a video, closed captions, subtitles, or alternative audio tracks in the embedded videos are not included in the video that is saved.

When you use the Save Media as command on a selected video, closed captions, subtitles, and multiple audio tracks embedded in the video are preserved in the video file that is saved.

To make your PowerPoint presentations with videos accessible, ensure the following:

  • Videos include an audio track with video descriptions, if needed, for users who are blind or have low vision.

  • Videos that include dialogue also include closed captions, in-band closed captions, open captions, or subtitles in a supported format for users that are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

For more information, refer to Add closed captions or subtitles to media in PowerPoint

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Save your presentation in a different format

You can save your presentation in a format that can be easily read by a screen reader or be ported to a Braille reader. For instructions, go to Video: Save a presentation in a different format or Create accessible PDFs. Before converting a presentation into another format, make sure you run the Accessibility Checker and fix all reported issues.

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Test accessibility with a screen reader

When your presentation is ready and you've run the Accessibility Checker to make sure it is inclusive, you can try navigating the slides using a screen reader, for example, Narrator. Narrator comes with Windows, so there's no need to install anything. This is one additional way to spot issues in the navigation order, for example.

  1. Start the screen reader. For example, to start Narrator, press Ctrl+Windows logo key+Enter.

  2. Press F6 until the focus, the blue rectangle, is on the slide content area.

  3. Press the Tab key to navigate the elements within the slide and fix the navigation order if needed. To move the focus away from the slide content, press Esc or F6.

  4. Exit the screen reader. For example, to exit Narrator, press Ctrl+Windows logo key+Enter.

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See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Everything you need to know to write effective alt text

Use the Accessibility Reminder to notify authors of accessibility issues

Use a screen reader to attend a PowerPoint Live session in Microsoft Teams 

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Excel documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Closed Caption file types supported by PowerPoint

Mac: Best practices for making PowerPoint presentations accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating PowerPoint presentations that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

How to find it

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all visuals.

Visual content includes pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.

To find missing alternative text, use the Accessibility Checker.

Alternative text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the presentation. In the alternative text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.

Add alt text to visuals in Microsoft 365

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2019

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2016

Make sure slide contents can be read in the order that you intend.

Use the Accessibility Checker to find slides that have possible problems with reading order.

When someone who can see reads a slide, they usually read things, such as text or a picture, in the order the elements appear on the slide. In contrast, a screen reader reads the elements of a slide in the order they were added to the slide, which might be very different from the order in which things appear.

To make sure everyone reads the contents in the order you intend, it's important to check the reading order.

Set the reading order of slide contents

When creating a new slide, use the built-in slide designs.

PowerPoint contains built-in slide layouts that you can apply to any slide. When you use them with a new slide, these layouts automatically make sure that the reading order works for everyone.

Use built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order

Add meaningful hyperlink text and ScreenTips.

To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan the slides in your presentation.

People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, instead of linking to the text Click here, include the full title of the destination page. You can even use the URL of the page if it's short and descriptive, for example, www.microsoft.com.

Tip: You can also add ScreenTips that appear when your cursor hovers over text or images that include a hyperlink.

Add hyperlink text and ScreenTips

Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information.

Enable the grayscale color filter in System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Color Filters. In older versions of macOS, go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display and check Grayscale. Visually scan the slides in your presentation.

People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.

For example, add an underline to color-coded hyperlink text so that people who are colorblind know that the text is linked even if they can’t see the color. For headings, consider adding bold or using a larger font.

Use an accessible slide design

Use sufficient contrast for text and background colors.

To find insufficient color contrast, use the Accessibility Checker.

You can also look for text in your spreadsheet that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.

Use strong contrast between text and background, so people with low vision can see and use the content. Use dark text on a white or off-white background, or reverse it and use white text on a dark background.

White and black schemes also make it easier for people who are colorblind to distinguish text and shapes.

Use an accessible slide design

Give every slide a unique title.

To find slides that do not have titles, use the Accessibility Checker.

People who are blind, have low vision, or a reading disability rely on slide titles to navigate. For example, by skimming or using a screen reader, they can quickly scan through a list of slide titles and go right to the slide they want.

Use unique slide titles

Hide a slide title

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

To ensure that tables don't contain split cells, merged cells, or nested tables, use the Accessibility Checker.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Use table headers

Use a larger font size (18pt or larger), sans serif fonts, and sufficient white space.

To find potential issues related to fonts or white space, review your slides for areas that look crowded or illegible.

People who have dyslexia describe seeing text “swim together” on a page (the compressing of one line of text into the line below). They often see text merge or distort.

For people who have dyslexia or have low vision, reduce the reading load. For example, they might benefit from familiar sans serif fonts, such as Arial or Calibri. Avoid using all capital letters and excessive italics or underlines. Include ample white space between sentences and paragraphs.

Use an accessible slide design

Format text for accessibility

Make videos accessible to visually impaired and hearing-impaired users.

Subtitles typically contain a transcription (or translation) of the dialogue.

Closed captions typically also describe audio cues such as music or sound effects that occur off-screen.

Video description means audio-narrated descriptions of a video's key visual elements. These descriptions are inserted into natural pauses in the program's dialogue. Video description makes video more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Use captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks in videos

Add alt text to visuals in Microsoft 365

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your PowerPoint presentations in Microsoft 365:

Notes: 

  • For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

  • To enable right-click on your Mac, make sure that the Secondary click option is selected in System Preferences.

Tip: To write a good alt text, make sure to convey the content and the purpose of the image in a concise and unambiguous manner. The alt text shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence or two—most of the time a few thoughtfully selected words will do. Do not repeat the surrounding textual content as alt text or use phrases referring to images, such as, "a graphic of" or "an image of."

Add alt text to images

PowerPoint does not automatically generate alt texts for images. If you want to add an image that is an icon, screenshot, or other image that is not a photograph, you need to add the alt texts manually.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click an image. Select Edit Alt Text....

      Context menu for images with alt text option selected.
    • Select an image. Select Picture Format > Alt Text.

      Alt text button on the ribbon for an image in PowerPoint for Mac.

    The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the slide.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the image and its context to someone who cannot see it.

Alt Text in PowerPoint for Mac

Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to shapes

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click a shape. Select Edit Alt Text....

      Context menu for shapes with alt text option selected.

      Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire shape, not inside one of its parts.

    • Select a shape. Select Shape Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button on the ribbon for a shape in PowerPoint for Mac.

    The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the slide.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the shape and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Alt text pane for shapes in PowerPoint for Mac in Office 365

Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click a SmartArt graphic. Select Edit Alt Text....

      Context menu for shapes with alt text option selected.

      Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire SmartArt graphic, not inside one of its parts.

    • Select a SmartArt graphic. Select Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button on the ribbon for a SmartArt in PowertPoint for Mac.

    The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the slide.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the SmartArt graphic and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Alt text pane for shapes in PowerPoint for Mac in Office 365

Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to charts

  1. Right-click a chart.

    Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire chart, not inside one of its parts.

  2. Select Edit Alt Text.... The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the slide.

    Context menu for charts with Alt text option selected.
  3. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the chart and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Alt Text pane for charts in PPT for Mac in Office 365.

Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Make visuals decorative

If your presentation has visuals that are purely decorative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. When a screen reader finds such an image, it simply announces they are decorative, so the user knows they are not missing any information.

  1. To open the Alt Text pane, do one of the following:

    • Right-click a visual. Select Edit Alt Text....

    • Select a visual. Select the visual's Format tab > Alt Text.

  2. Select the Mark as decorative check box. The text entry field becomes grayed out.

    Alt text decorative image in PowerPoint for Mac in Office 365.

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2019

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your PowerPoint presentations in Office 2019:

Notes: 

  • For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

  • To enable right-click on your Mac, make sure that the Secondary click option is selected in System Preferences.

Tip: To write a good alt text, make sure to convey the content and the purpose of the image in a concise and unambiguous manner. The alt text shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence or two—most of the time a few thoughtfully selected words will do. Do not repeat the surrounding textual content as alt text or use phrases referring to images, such as, "a graphic of" or "an image of."

Add alt text to images

To make your presentations accessible to wider audiences, add alt texts to the images in your slides. PowerPoint does not automatically generate alt texts.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click an image. Select Edit Alt Text....

      Context menu for images with alt text option selected.
    • Select an image. Select Picture Format > Alt Text.

      Alt text button on the ribbon for an image in PowerPoint for Mac.

    The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the slide.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the image and its context to someone who cannot see it.

Alt Text in PowerPoint for Mac

Tip: You can also select Generate a description for me to have Microsoft's cloud-powered intelligent services create a description for you. This takes a moment, after which you see the result in the text entry field. Remember to delete any comments PowerPoint added there, for example, "Description generated with high confidence."

Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to shapes

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click a shape. Select Edit Alt Text....

      Context menu for shapes with alt text option selected.

      Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire shape, not inside one of its parts.

    • Select a shape. Select Shape Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button on the ribbon for a shape in PowerPoint for Mac.

    The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the slide.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the shape and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Alt text pane for shapes in PowerPoint for Mac in Office 365

Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click a SmartArt graphic. Select Edit Alt Text....

      Context menu for shapes with alt text option selected.

      Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire SmartArt graphic, not inside one of its parts.

    • Select a SmartArt graphic. Select Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button on the ribbon for a SmartArt in PowertPoint for Mac.

    The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the slide.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the SmartArt graphic and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Alt text pane for shapes in PowerPoint for Mac in Office 365

Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Add alt text to charts

  1. Right-click a chart.

    Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire chart, not inside one of its parts.

  2. Select Edit Alt Text.... The Alt Text pane opens on the right side of the slide.

    Context menu for charts with Alt text option selected.
  3. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the chart and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Alt Text pane for charts in PPT for Mac in Office 365.

Tip: To spell check and correct a word you typed, just right-click the word and select from the suggested alternatives.

Make visuals decorative

If your presentation has visuals that are purely decorative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. When a screen reader finds such an image, it simply announces they are decorative, so the user knows they are not missing any information.

  1. To open the Alt Text pane, do one of the following:

    • Right-click a visual. Select Edit Alt Text....

    • Select a visual. Select the visual's Format tab > Alt Text.

  2. Select the Mark as decorative check box. The text entry field becomes grayed out.

    Alt text decorative image in PowerPoint for Mac in Office 365.

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2016

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your PowerPoint presentations in Office 2016:

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images, such as pictures and screenshots, so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Right-click an image.

  2. Select Format Picture.

  3. In the Format Picture pane, select Size & Properties.

  4. Select Alt Text and then type a description for the image.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Screenshot of the Format Picture pane with the Alt Text boxes describing the selected image

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

  1. Right-click a SmartArt graphic.

  2. Select Format SmartArt, and then select Shape Options.

  3. In the Format Shape pane, select Size & Properties.

  4. Select Alt Text and then type a description for the SmartArt graphic.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Screenshot of the Format Shape pane with the Alt Text boxes describing the selected SmartArt graphic

Add alt text to shapes

Use the following procedure to add alt text to shapes, including shapes within a SmartArt graphic.

  1. Right-click a shape.

  2. Select Format Shape.

  3. In the Format Shape pane, select Size & Properties.

  4. Select Alt Text and then type a description for the shape.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Screenshot of the Format Shape pane with the Alt Text boxes describing the selected shape

Add alt text to charts

  1. Right-click a chart.

  2. Select Format Chart Area.

  3. In the Format Chart Area pane, on the Chart Options tab, select Size & Properties.

  4. Select Alt Text and then type a description for the chart.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Screenshot of the Format Chart Area pane with the Alt Text boxes describing the selected chart

Make hyperlinks, text, and tables accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the hyperlinks, text, and tables in your PowerPoint presentations accessible.

Add hyperlink text and ScreenTips

  1. Select the text to which you want to add the hyperlink, and then right-click.

  2. Select Hyperlink. The text you selected displays in the Text to Display box. This is the hyperlink text.

  3. If necessary, change the hyperlink text.

  4. In the Address box, enter the destination address for the hyperlink.

  5. Select the ScreenTip button and, in the ScreenTip text box, type a ScreenTip.

    Tip: If the title on the hyperlink's destination page gives an accurate summary of what’s on the page, use it for the hyperlink text. For example, this hyperlink text matches the title on the destination page: Templates and Themes for Office Online.

  6. To apply the changes, select OK > OK.

Screenshot of the Insert Hyperlink dialog box

Use an accessible slide design

Use one of the included accessible templates to make sure that your slide design, colors, contrast, and fonts are accessible for all audiences. They are also designed so that screen readers can more easily read the slide content.

  1. To find an accessible template, select File > New from Template.

  2. In the Search all templates text field, type accessible templates and press Return.

  3. In the search results, select a suitable template.

Templates page in PowerPoint for Mac

Use table headers

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in a table.

  2. On the Table Design tab, select the Header Row check box.

  3. Type column headers.

Screenshot of the Header Row check box on the Table Design tab

Format text for accessibility

  1. Select your text.

  2. Select the Home tab.

  3. Use the options for font type, size, style, and color to format your text.

Screenshot of the Font group on the Home tab

Create bulleted lists

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in your slide.

  2. Select the Home tab.

  3. Select the Bullets button.

  4. Type the text you want for each bullet item in the list.

Bulleted list menu expanded in PowerPoint for Mac.

Create ordered lists

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in your slide.

  2. Select the Home tab.

  3. Select the Numbering button.

  4. Type the text you want for each numbered item in the list.

Numbered list menu expanded in PowerPoint for Mac.

Make slides accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the slides in your PowerPoint presentations accessible. (See Title a slide for related information.)

Use unique slide titles

  1. To restore all placeholders for the selected slide, on the Home tab, select Reset.

  2. On the slide, type a unique and descriptive title.

Screenshot of the Reset command in the Slides group on the Home tab

Hide a slide title

Position a title off-slide, so it will be invisible but will still be voiced by screen readers.

  1. On the View tab, select Zoom and then lower the zoom percentage to about 50% so that the margins outside the slide are visible. 

  2. Point the mouse at the border of the Title placeholder box so that the pointer becomes a four-headed move pointer.

  3. Drag the Title placeholder upward or downward and then drop it outside the slide boundary.

    Title of a PowerPoint slide being moved outside the slide margin on macOS

Set the reading order of slide contents

Use the Selection Pane to set the order in which the screen readers read the slide contents. When the screen reader reads this slide, it reads the objects in the reverse of the order they are listed in the Selection Pane.

  1. On the Home tab, select Arrange.

  2. In the Arrange menu, select Selection Pane.

  3. In the Selection Pane, to change the reading order, drag and drop items to the new location.

Screenshot of the Selection pane listing all objects on the slide in reverse order

Use built-in slide designs for inclusive reading order

PowerPoint has built-in slide designs that contain placeholders for text, videos, pictures, and more. They also contain all the formatting, such as theme colors, fonts, and effects. To make sure that your slides are accessible, the built-in layouts are designed so that the reading order is the same for people who see and people who use technology such as screen readers.

  1. On the View tab, click Normal.

  2. In the thumbnail pane, locate the place where you want to add the new slide, and then right-click.

  3. Select New Slide and then select the inserted slide.

  4. On the Design tab, expand the themes gallery, and select the slide layout that you want. PowerPoint automatically applies this layout to the new slide.

  5. Go to the new slide, and add the title and content that you want.

Use captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks in videos

PowerPoint supports the playback of video with multiple audio tracks. It also supports closed captions and subtitles that are embedded in video files.

Closed captions or subtitles must be encoded into the video before it is inserted into PowerPoint. PowerPoint does not support closed captions or subtitles that are stored in a separate file from the video file.

Supported video formats for captions and subtitles vary depending on the operating system that you're using. Each operating system has settings to adjust how the closed captions or subtitles are displayed. For more information, see Closed Caption file types supported by PowerPoint.

Closed captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks are not preserved when you use the Compress Media or Optimize Media Compatibility features. Also, when turning your presentation into a video, closed captions, subtitles, or alternative audio tracks in the embedded videos are not included in the video that is saved.

When you use the Save Media as command on a selected video, closed captions, subtitles, and multiple audio tracks embedded in the video are preserved in the video file that is saved.

To make your PowerPoint presentations with videos accessible, ensure the following:

  • Videos include an audio track with video descriptions, if needed, for users that are blind or visually impaired.

  • Videos that include dialogue also include closed captions, in-band closed captions, open captions, or subtitles in a supported format for users that are deaf or hard of hearing.

See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Everything you need to know to write effective alt text

Use a screen reader to attend a PowerPoint Live session in Microsoft Teams 

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Excel documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Closed Caption file types supported by PowerPoint

iOS: Best practices for making PowerPoint presentations accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating PowerPoint presentations that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all visuals and tables.

Visual content includes pictures, shapes, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.

Alternative text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the presentation. In the alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.

Add alt text to images, tables, and shapes

Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information.

People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.

For example, add an underline to color-coded hyperlink text so that people who are colorblind know that the text is linked even if they can’t see the color. For headings, consider adding bold or using a larger font.

Use an accessible slide design

Use sufficient contrast for text and background colors.

The text in your presentations should be readable in High Contrast mode so that everyone, including people with visual disabilities, can see it well.

For example, use bright colors or high-contrast color schemes on opposite ends of the color spectrum. White and black schemes make it easier for people who are colorblind to distinguish text and shapes.

Use an accessible slide design

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Use table headers

Use a larger font size (18pt or larger), sans serif fonts, and sufficient white space.

People who have dyslexia describe seeing text “swim together” on a page (the compressing of one line of text into the line below). They often see text merge or distort.

For people who have dyslexia or have low vision, reduce the reading load. For example, they might benefit from familiar sans serif fonts, such as Arial or Calibri. Avoid using all capital letters, and excessive italics or underlines. Include ample white space between sentences and paragraphs.

Use an accessible slide design

Format text for accessibility

Make videos accessible to visually impaired and hearing-impaired users

Subtitles typically contain a transcription (or translation) of the dialogue.

Closed captions typically also describe audio cues such as music or sound effects that occur off-screen.

Video description means audio-narrated descriptions of a video's key visual elements. These descriptions are inserted into natural pauses in the program's dialogue. Video description makes video more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Use captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks in videos

Add alt text to images, tables, charts, and shapes

Add alt text to images, tables, charts, shapes and other visual elements, so that screen readers can read the text to describe the element to users who can’t see it.

  1. Select the element, for example, an image.

  2. To open the related tab, for example, the Picture tab, tap the Show Ribbon button Edit icon.

  3. Tap Alt Text and type a description for the element. For example, describe the content of the image.

Mark visuals as decorative

If your visuals are purely decorative and add visual interest but aren't informative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. Examples of objects that should be marked as decorative are stylistic borders. People using screen readers will hear that these objects are decorative so they know they aren’t missing any important information. 

  1. Select the visual, for example, a picture or chart.

  2. To open the related tab, for example, the Picture tab, select the Show Ribbon button Edit icon.

  3. Select Alt Text.

  4. Select the Mark as decorative toggle button, and then select Done.

The Mark as decorative option selected in the Alt Text dialog box in PowerPoint for iOS.

Use an accessible slide design

Use one of the included slide Themes to make sure that your slide design is accessible. Most of the themes are designed for accessible colors, contrast, and fonts. They are also designed so that screen readers can more easily read the slide content.

  1. Select a slide.

  2. To open the Home tab, tap the Show Ribbon button Edit icon.

  3. Tap Home > Design.

  4. Tap Themes and then select the theme you want.

Themes menu in PowerPoint for iOS.

Use table headers

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in a table.

  2. To open the Table tab, tap the Show Ribbon button Edit icon.

  3. Tap Style Options and then select Header Row.

  4. In your table, type the column headings.

Table header menu in PowerPoint for iOS.

Format text for accessibility

  1. Select your text.

  2. To open the Home tab, tap the Show Ribbon button Edit icon.

  3. On the Home tab, select your text formatting options.

Font menu in PowerPoint for iOS.

Use captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks in videos

PowerPoint supports the playback of video with multiple audio tracks. It also supports closed captions and subtitles that are embedded in video files.

Closed captions or subtitles must be encoded into the video before it is inserted into PowerPoint. PowerPoint does not support closed captions or subtitles that are stored in a separate file from the video file.

Supported video formats for captions and subtitles vary depending on the operating system that you're using. Each operating system has settings to adjust how the closed captions or subtitles are displayed.

Closed captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks are not preserved when you use the Compress Media or Optimize Media Compatibility features. Also, when turning your presentation into a video, closed captions, subtitles, or alternative audio tracks in the embedded videos are not included in the video that is saved.

When you use the Save Media as command on a selected video, closed captions, subtitles, and multiple audio tracks embedded in the video are preserved in the video file that is saved.

To make your PowerPoint presentations with videos accessible, ensure the following:

  • Videos include an audio track with video descriptions, if needed, for users that are blind or visually impaired.

  • Videos that include dialogue also include closed captions, in-band closed captions, open captions, or subtitles in a supported format for users that are deaf or hard of hearing.

See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Everything you need to know to write effective alt text

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Excel documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Closed Caption file types supported by PowerPoint

Android: Best practices for making PowerPoint presentations accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating PowerPoint presentations that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all images, shapes, and tables.

Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and shapes.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the presentation. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to shapes

Add alt text to tables

Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information.

People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.

For example, add an underline to color-coded hyperlink text so that people who are colorblind know that the text is linked even if they can’t see the color. For headings, consider adding bold or using a larger font.

Use an accessible slide design

Use sufficient contrast for text and background colors.

The text in your presentations should be readable in High Contrast mode so that everyone, including people with visual disabilities, can see it well.

For example, use bright colors or high-contrast color schemes on opposite ends of the color spectrum. White and black schemes make it easier for people who are colorblind to distinguish text and shapes.

Use an accessible slide design

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Use table headers

Use a larger font size (18pt or larger), sans serif fonts, and sufficient white space.

People who have dyslexia describe seeing text “swim together” on a page (the compressing of one line of text into the line below). They often see text merge or distort.

For people who have dyslexia or have low vision, reduce the reading load. For example, they might benefit from familiar sans serif fonts, such as Arial or Calibri. Avoid using all capital letters, and excessive italics or underlines. Include ample white space between sentences and paragraphs.

Use an accessible slide design

Format text for accessibility

Make videos accessible to visually impaired and hearing-impaired users

Subtitles typically contain a transcription (or translation) of the dialogue.

Closed captions typically also describe audio cues such as music or sound effects that occur off-screen.

Video description means audio-narrated descriptions of a video's key visual elements. These descriptions are inserted into natural pauses in the program's dialogue. Video description makes video more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Use captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks in videos

Add alt text to visuals and tables

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals and tables in your PowerPoint presentations.

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images such as pictures and screenshots so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Select an image.

  2. To open the Picture tab, tap the Show Commands button Edit icon.

  3. Scroll down to Alt Text, and then tap it.

  4. Type a description for the image.

    Alt text dialog for an image in PowerPoint for Android.

Add alt text to shapes

  1. Select a shape.

  2. To open the Shape tab, tap the Show Commands button Edit icon.

  3. Scroll down to Alt Text, and then tap it.

  4. Type a description for the shape.

    Alt text dialog for a shape in PowerPoint for Android.

Add alt text to tables

  1. Tap anywhere within a table.

  2. To open the Table tab, tap the Show Commands button Edit icon.

  3. Scroll down to Alt Text, and then tap it.

  4. Type a description for the table.

    Alt text for a table in PowerPoint for Android.

Mark visuals as decorative

If your visuals are purely decorative and add visual interest but aren't informative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. Examples of objects that should be marked as decorative are stylistic borders. People using screen readers will hear that these objects are decorative so they know they aren’t missing any important information.

  1. To open the Alt Text pane, select an image.

  2. To open the formatting menu for the visual, tap the Show Commands button Edit icon.

  3. Scroll down to Alt Text, and then tap it.

  4. Tap the Decorative check box. The text entry field becomes grayed out.

    Mark as Decorative selected in the Alt Text dialog in PowerPoint for Android.

Use an accessible slide design

Use one of the included slide Themes to make sure that your slide design is accessible. Most of the themes are designed for accessible colors, contrast, and fonts. They are also designed so that screen readers can more easily read the slide content.

  1. Select a slide.

  2. To open the Home tab, tap the Show Commands button Edit icon.

  3. Tap Home > Design.

  4. Tap Themes, and then select the theme you want.

    Themes for slides in PowerPoint for Android.

Use table headers

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in a table.

  2. To open the Table tab, tap the Show Commands button Edit icon.

  3. Tap Style Options, and then select Header Row.

    Tip: When the option is already selected, it’s grayed out.

  4. In your table, type the column headings.

    Table header row styles menu in PowerPoint for Android.

Format text for accessibility

  1. Select your text.

  2. To open the Home tab, tap the Show Commands button Edit icon.

  3. On the Home tab, select your text formatting options.

    Font menu in PowerPoint for Android.

Use captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks in videos

PowerPoint supports the playback of video with multiple audio tracks. It also supports closed captions and subtitles that are embedded in video files. 

Closed captions or subtitles must be encoded into the video before it is inserted into PowerPoint. PowerPoint does not support closed captions or subtitles that are stored in a separate file from the video file.

Supported video formats for captions and subtitles vary depending on the operating system that you're using. Each operating system has settings you can use to adjust how the closed captions or subtitles are displayed. 

Closed captions, subtitles, and alternative audio tracks are not preserved when you use the Compress Media or Optimize Media Compatibility features. Also, when turning your presentation into a video, closed captions, subtitles, or alternative audio tracks in the embedded videos are not included in the video that is saved.

When you use the Save Media as command on a selected video, closed captions, subtitles, and multiple audio tracks embedded in the video are preserved in the video file that is saved. 

To make your PowerPoint presentations accessible, ensure the following:

  • Videos include an audio track with video descriptions, if needed, for users that are blind or visually impaired.

  • Videos that include dialogue also include closed captions, in-band closed captions, open captions, or subtitles in a supported format for users that are deaf or hard of hearing.

See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Everything you need to know to write effective alt text

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Excel documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Office Online: Best practices for making PowerPoint for the web presentations accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating PowerPoint for the web presentations that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

How to find it

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all visuals and tables.

Visual content includes pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, embedded objects, and videos.

To find missing alternative text, use the Accessibility Checker.

Alternative text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the presentation. In the alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

Add alt text to shapes or embedded videos

Add alt text to tables

Add meaningful hyperlink text.

To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan the slides in your presentation.

People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, instead of linking to the text Click here, include the full title of the destination page. You can even use the URL of the page if it's short and descriptive, for example, www.microsoft.com.

Add hyperlink text

Change the text of a hyperlink

Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information.

Go to Windows settings and enable the grayscale filter in Settings > Ease of Access > Color Filters. Visually scan each slide in your presentation for instances of color-coding.

People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.

For example, add an underline to color-coded hyperlink text so that people who are colorblind know that the text is linked even if they can’t see the color. For headings, consider adding bold or using a larger font.

Circle or use animation to highlight information, rather than relying on laser pointers or color.

Add shapes if color is used to indicate status. For example, add a checkmark symbol if green is used to indicate “pass” and an uppercase X if red indicates “fail”.

Format text for accessibility

Use sufficient contrast for text and background colors.

To find insufficient color contrast, look for slide text that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.

The text in your presentations should be readable so that everyone, including people with visual disabilities, can see it well.

For example, use bright colors or high-contrast color schemes on opposite ends of the color spectrum. White and black schemes make it easier for people who are colorblind to distinguish text and shapes.

Avoid using orange, red, and green in your template and text.

Use patterns in graphs, instead of color, to highlight points of interest.

Use an accessible slide design

Give every slide a unique title.

Use the Accessibility Checker to find slides that don't have titles.

People who use screen readers and other assistive technology hear slide text, shapes, and content read back in a specific order. That’s why it’s a good practice to use the slide layouts in PowerPoint for the web, which ensure that content is read in a logical order by screen readers.

People who are blind, have low vision, or a reading disability rely on slide titles to navigate. For example, by skimming or using a screen reader, they can quickly scan through a list of slide titles and go right to the slide they want.

Use a logical reading order

Use unique slide titles

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

To ensure that tables don't contain split cells, merged cells, or nested tables use the Accessibility Checker.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Use table headers

Use a larger font size (18pt or larger), sans serif fonts, and sufficient white space.

To find potential issues related to fonts or white space, review your slides for areas that look crowded or illegible.

People who have dyslexia describe seeing text “swim together” on a page (the compressing of one line of text into the line below). They often see text merge or distort.

For people who have dyslexia or have low vision, reduce the reading load. For example, they might benefit from familiar sans serif fonts, such as Arial or Calibri. Avoid using all capital letters and excessive italics or underlines. Include ample white space between sentences and paragraphs.

Use an accessible slide design

Format text for accessibility

Note: The Accessibility Checker inspects your presentation for all issues that can be fixed in the browser. For a complete inspection, open your presentation in the desktop app and use the desktop Accessibility Checker for Windows or Mac.

Add alt text to images and tables

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to images and tables in your PowerPoint for the web presentations.

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

Add alt text to images

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click an image. Select Edit Alt Text....

      Context menu for an image showing the Edit Alt Text option in PowerPoint Online.
    • Select an image. Select Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button on the ribbon for an image in PowerPoint Online.
  2. Select Alt Text, and then type a description for the image.

Alt text dialog in PowerPoint Online.

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

  1. Select a SmartArt graphic.

  2. Select Design > Alt Text.

  3. Type a description for the SmartArt graphic.

Alt Text button on the ribbon for a SmartArt in PowerPoint Online.

Add alt text to shapes or embedded videos

  1. Select a shape or video.

  2. Select Format > Alt Text.

  3. Type a description for the shape or video.

Alt Text button on the ribbon for a shape and video  in PowerPoint Online.

Add alt text to tables

  1. Place the cursor in a cell of the table.

  2. Select Layout > Alt Text.

  3. Type a description for the table.

Alt Text button on the ribbon for a table in PowerPoint Online.

Make hyperlinks and tables accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the hyperlinks and tables in your PowerPoint for the web presentations accessible.

Use table headers

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in a table.

  2. On the Table Tools tab, select Design.

  3. Select Header Row, and then type the column headings in the table.

Screenshot of the Table Style Options group on the Table Tools Design tab, with the Header Row option selected.

Make slides accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the slides in your PowerPoint for the web presentations accessible.

Use an accessible slide design

Use one of the included accessible themes and templates to make sure that your slide design, colors, contrast, and fonts are accessible for all audiences. They are also designed so that screen readers can more easily read the slide content.

  1. In your browser, go to Accessible PowerPoint template sampler.

  2. On the Accessible PowerPoint template page, select Download. The template sampler is downloaded to your device.

  3. Open the sampler in the PowerPoint app, select a suitable slide design, and save it.

  4. Open PowerPoint for the web in your browser, open the selected design, and create your presentation.

Use a logical reading order

Use the Selection Pane to set the order in which the screen readers read the slide contents. When the screen reader reads this slide, it reads the objects in the reverse of the order they are listed in the Selection Pane.

  1. On the Home tab, select Arrange > Selection Pane.

  2. In the Selection Pane, to change the reading order, drag and drop items to the new location.

Format text for accessibility

  1. Select your text.

  2. Select the Home tab.

  3. In the Font group, select your formatting options.

Font group in PowerPoint Online

Use unique titles for slides

  1. Select a slide without a title.

  2. On the Home tab, select Layout.

  3. In the Slide Layout dialog box, select a slide layout that includes title placeholders, and then select Change Layout. The new layout is applied to the slides.

  4. In the title placeholder, type a unique name.

Note: A title doesn’t necessarily have to be visible to be accessible. For example, people who use screen readers hear a slide’s title even if it isn’t visible. In the PowerPoint desktop version, you can use the Selection pane to turn visibility on or off for titles and other objects on a slide.

Layout button on the Home tab ribbon in PowerPoint Online.

See also

Improve accessibility with the Accessibility Checker

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Everything you need to know to write effective alt text

Use a screen reader to attend a PowerPoint Live session in Microsoft Teams 

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Excel documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Closed Caption file types supported by PowerPoint

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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