Skip to Main Content
SJR State Learning Resources

Instructional Design Services  •  Library Services  •  Training & PD Resources

Course Accessibility Guidelines and Tutorials

PowerPoint Presentations

Use the Accessibility Checker as you create or edit a PowerPoint. Click Review - Check Accessibility to use the checker. 

As you make your PowerPoint, think about how you will post it in Canvas. You have 3 options:

  • Post the PowerPoint as a video. For ease of accessibility, this is the best option if your PowerPoint is narrated, contains embedded films, or uses complex images that require description. 
  • Post the PowerPoint as a PDF. For ease of accessibility, this is the best option if your PowerPoint is mostly text or includes images sufficiently described with alt-text.
  • Post the PowerPoint as a .pptx file. This requires students to open the presentation in PowerPoint. Screen readers will read the slides within PowerPoint - slide titles and slide content reading order are extremely important if you choose this method.

Perfect Accessibility Score iconGetting to Green

Option 1. Turn the PowerPoint into a video and use Canvas Studio to add closed captions.

"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."

Option 2. Create a PDF of the presentation in PowerPoint by clicking Acrobat - Create PDF and Run Action - Make Accessible

Screen shot of Acrobat Create PDF and Run Action selections

Option 3. If you plan to post the PowerPoint file itself:

  • Give every slide a unique 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. 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." - quoted from the Microsoft web page, Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

  • Check the reading order for each slide's content.

Watch this 2-minute video from Microsoft to understand why this is important and see how you can make sure the items in your slides are read by screen readers in the correct order.