Microsoft PowerPoint – MAC

Outline View

Make sure all of the slide text content appears in the outline view. Students with visual disabilities may prefer not to bother with the more visual slide view.

Recommended best practice: Compose your outline in the outline view, and then move to the slide view to add images and design.

Slide/ Normal View

Use the slide layouts (not the blank one though) provided on the Home tab. This will help to ensure your slide’s reading order remains intact.

The order that text and objects are inserted into the slide, will be the default reading order unless you manually change it.

Don’t use animations or slide transitions on the PowerPoint presentation that you post online.

Check accessibility

It is important to always run an Accessibility checker. When creating documents it is easy to forget small details that can make a document inaccessible

There are three levels of an issue. An error, warning or tip.

Error- Content that makes the document difficult or impossible to read and understand for people with disabilities.

Warning- Content that in most (But not all) cases makes the document difficult to understand for people with disabilities.

  1. Select the Review Tab
  2. Select the Check Accessibility option.
  3. The Accessibility Checker pane will show the inspection results.
  4. Choose an issue to see why you should fix the issue and steps to change the content.

The blue box will show additional information from Microsoft on why, how and other tips to make your materials accessible.

Images and Graphics (including Graphs, Maps & Shapes)

Alternative text descriptions of images (ALT text) allows screen reader users to benefit from the information being conveyed by an image.

  1. Go to the image and right click, then select Format Picture….
  2. Click over to the Size & Properties tab.
  3. Type a detailed explanation of the picture in the Description box – Not the Title box.
    1. Keep this description to one or two sentences.
  4. Click the Close button when done.


Formatting, like lists, headings and links, are read aloud to screen reader users, so the content is understood in context.

  1. On the Home tab.
  2. In the Paragraph group, select the Numbering or Bullets icon.
  3. Use Number lists if a sequential order is important to the list
  4. Use Bullet lists if all items are equal value.


Links are a major method of navigating for everyone, but especially screen reader users. If the links are embedded into meaningful text, they are much more useful.

  1. Type out text that describes the destination of the link. Example: Delta College
  2. Select the text, right click and choose hyperlinkfrom the menu.
  3. The Insert Hyperlink window will open. Type the URL of the webpage in the Address field. For example, we would type out, “”
  4. Then click the OKbutton to save the link.

NEED A NEW IMAGE with Delta example- Delta College-!!!

Hyperlink Tips:

  • If you think students will be printing the document and you want them to have the URL, put it in parentheses after the link, but don’t hyperlink it.
  • Screen reading software can pull up all of the links in a page to aid the user in navigating the page more quickly. If a link pulled up by the screen reader is some indecipherable URL or ambiguous phrase like, “click here” the screen reader user will not know where that link goes.


Column Headers

Designating column headers in a data table (not a table used for layout) is essential to screen reader users understanding how the information is laid out.

Please note: You can only create column headers (not row headers) in PowerPoint.

  1. Place cursor anywhere in the table.
  2. Two Table Tools tabs (Design and Layout) will show up at the top of PowerPoint.
  3. In the Table Style Options group, check the Header Row checkbox.
  4. Now the cells in the top row of your table make up the headers for the columns below them.

Reading Order in Tables

Screen readers read tables from left to right, top to bottom, one cell at a time (no repeats). If cells are split or merged, the reading order can be thrown off.

To test the reading order of your table in PowerPoint, place your cursor in the first cell of the table. Now press the Tab key repeatedly to navigate through the table. This will be the reading order that assistive technologies will use.

Merged, nested, and split cells change the reading order of tables. Make sure you construct your table in a way that accommodates good reading order.

*Once you check the reading order, the warning will still appear in the Accessibility Checker Inspection Results box. As long as the other errors and warnings are taken care of the PowerPoint will still be accessible.


Don’t use color alone to make a distinction, a comparison or to set something off or apart from the rest of the document. If you categorize something by color alone, those who are color blind or blind will not be able to benefit from the information.

Side Layout and Reading Order

If you added text boxes to a slide layout or if you used the blank layout, the reading order of your slide could be messed up. A student using a screen reader will be tabbing through your slide to read all of the information. If the tab order is not the proper reading order, the slide will be confusing. To check the reading order of a slide:

  1. Click in the gray staging area surrounding your slide or on your slide without selecting any of the placeholders.
  2. Hit Tab. This is the first thing on the slide that would be read by screen reading software (used by people who are blind, low vision or dyslexic.)
  3. Hit Tab again to see what the second thing read would be.
  4. And so on.

Change Reading Order- Microsoft 2016

  1. On the Home Tab, click on the Arrange menu and choose Selection Pane.
  2. The Selection panel will open up on the right hand side of the document.
  3. Tab through the slide again (steps 1-4 above) and the corresponding element will highlight in the Selection Pane.
  4. The reading order starts at the bottom of the Selection Pane and moves up, so if you want to move some element in the slide to the first position reading order, it would have to appear at the bottom of the list in the Selection Pane.

Adding a Title

It is important for all slides to have its own title. This helps individuals using screen readers be able to review slides easier. If there is only a text box and no title you will want to follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Home tab
  2. Select the Layout drop down menu
  3. Select Title Only

Interactive Elements

Ensure that any action that uses a mouse, can also be completed by a keyboard.

People with carpal tunnel and other mobility issues often cannot use a mouse. While there are more and more input device and software options such as speech to text software and touchpads, keyboard accessibility remains an important input format for many assistive technologies

  1. Whatever the operation or behavior, make sure a mouse is not required.
  2. Try navigate the web page without a mouse. Use the following keyboard keys to navigate and interact with the web page all of its content:
    1. Tab,
    2. Arrow keys
    3. Enter
    4. Spacebar

Keyboard commands clearly provided (and common operating system and browser keyboard commands) may also be used.

3. Could you complete the course without using a mouse?

Video & Audio

All videos and audio must have closed captions or a written transcript. To get assistance with how to request captions or to write a transcript set up an appointment with eLearning.

It is better to link out to media rather than embed it in your PowerPoint. Layers of technology make it difficult for assistive technologies to navigate. If you do embed video or audio make sure the players are keyboard accessible. (We know YouTube and Kaltura players are accessible) .Also keep track of media that isn’t captioned or transcribed since you will be asked for it when there is a captioning accommodation.