At Texas A&M Health Science Center, making our electronic information resources (EIR) accessible to everyone is a priority. It is recommended that all PowerPoint presentations be made accessible to those with disabilities using the guidelines that follow. For specific questions regarding this tutorial or accessibility of information resources, please email


  • Know your audience
  • Avoid abbreviations or acronyms
  • Be concise; don’t overwhelm the page with too much text or text that is too small

General design


  • Each slide must have a unique title, and the same title should not be repeated.
  • Don’t use text boxes; instead, enter text within the established layout templates.
  • Make sure your text content can be viewed when you click the Outline tab on the upper left of your screen.
  • Try to use sans-serif fonts such as Arial, Verdana, or Tahoma
  • Make sure your text is large enough to see when viewed during the presentation, on a laptop, or printed.
  • Do not use color as the only way to convey specific content. (Example: the correct answers are shown in red.)


  • Use tools within PowerPoint for creating hyperlinks. Highlighting a section of text, then right-clicking creates a drop-down menu from which you can select Hyperlink. You may select from four options:
    • Linking to an existing file or webpage; you will need the URL of the page to enter into the Address field
    • Linking to a place in this document; you will have the opportunity to browse through the PPt outline
    • Allowing you to create new document to link to
    • Linking to an e-mail address; you will need to enter the e-mail address and the desired subjecthyperlink options
  • Link text should be meaningful. Do not use “click here” or “read more”; instead it should be relevant to the linked material.
  • You may want to include the URL within your  slide content, perhaps in parentheses, if a print version of the PowerPoint may be utilized.


  • All images must have alt tags, a text equivalent of what the image represents. This should be a word or short phrase that conveys the meaning or description of the image and should not be preceded by the words “picture of” or “image of”.
    1. Clicking on an image and right-clicking will display a drop-down menu from which you can choose to Format Picture.format-pic
    2. It will give you many options, one of which is Alt Text, near the bottom left of the window.alt-text
    3. Click on it and enter your alt text into the Description box. LEAVE THE TITLE FIELD EMPTY. Alt tags for decorative images should be left completely blank. (This may give you a subsequent error message when checking for accessibility.)description
  • Do not use presenter notes area for addition of alternate text.
  • Avoid grouping images and/or text.

Transitions and animations

  • Avoid automatic slide transitions.
  • If they are necessary, use simple transitions.
  • Avoid animations.

Tables and charts

  • Use alt text to convey the meaning of a table which may be included as an image.
  • Don’t use color as the only way to convey information
  • Consider adding distinct patterns or a general explanation of the trends within the text portion of the slide.


  • Video must be captioned and have accessible player controls.
  • Audio must include a link to a transcript.

Check reading order

Assistive technology such as screen readers read through documents in an order that is typically automatically determined through a particular software. We must verify that the order is correct by checking the order in this way.

  1. From the Home tab within PowerPoint, select Arrange within the top navigation area.
    arrange selection
  2. Choose Selection Pane from the drop-down menu (PowerPoint 2013 for Windows) or Reorder Objects (PowerPoint 2011 for Mac).
    selection pane
  3. Within the Selection and Visibility window, you should see an order of Shapes on this Slide. Within the window on PCs, the reading order the screen reader will utilize is bottom to top. For Mac users, Item #1 in the Rearrange panel is read last. Therefore, the order should be reverse order to that which seems logical. In this instance, the title will be read first, then the content, and finally a description of the alt text for the image.
    reading order

Check accessibility of your PowerPoint

This is the final set of steps utilized to ensure your document is accessible to everyone:

  1. From the File tab within PowerPoint, select the Check for Issues box.
    checking for issues selection
  2. When the drop-down menu is displayed, select Check Accessibility.
    checking accessibility
  3. An Accessibility Checker box will appear on the right side of the PowerPoint window. It will show accessibility errors and show tips on how to fix them. You can view errors by clicking the + sign to expand the errors. In this example, there are 60 alt text errors and an indication to check the reading order of 43 slides.
    accessibility checker window
  4. Once you make all corrections, make sure you Save your document in its accessible format.
Now that all the steps have been taken to ensure that your document is accessible, you may choose to save it as an accessible PDF to upload to the web or distribute to students.

  1. From the File tab within PowerPoint, click Save as Adobe PDF.
    'save as' option
  2. Indicate which folder you’d like to save it to.
  3. Click Save in the bottom right hand corner of the window.