This resource is designed to help you provide your students with accessible Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. The table below provides recommendations and links to appropriate guidance materials. Please note that the points raised here encompass both the values and ethos of the Universal design for Learning and the requirements of Accessibility legislation (Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018) relating to resources made available via websites, including the Blackboard VLE.

Microsoft provides a mechanism for checking the accessibility of documents in PowerPoint and a full description of the method for running this check is provided at the end of the table below.

An abbreviated version of this table is available for you at this link, to download and use as a checklist.

What to think about What to do
Font Use a sans serif fonts, such as Arial, Helvetica, Calibri and Tahoma.
Font size For presentations try to keep the font size at 22 or above.

For headings and sub headings use a larger font size.

Filename Make the File name for the presentation descriptive of the content.
Headings Use the styles and heading tools (these can be set in the Slide Master). 

Ensure that any labels are descriptive and clearly stated.

Structure The templates and designs provided by Microsoft in PowerPoint are approved for use by screen readers and a range of accessibility devices.

Give every slide a unique title.

Align left wherever possible and avoid using justified text.

Use white space.

Include a punctuation mark after a bullet point.

Ensure that the intended slide reading order can be easily identified.

Avoid text wrapping images – put images in line with text.

Avoid adding text over images.

Avoid crowded text and images.

Avoid large amounts of text on a single slide.

  • Use short phrases or single words rather (avoid full sentences and paragraphs where possible).


Add spaces around headings

Avoid using multiple columns of text.

Avoid too many animations and animations that strobe or move rapidly.

Images, diagrams, charts, SmartArt, graphics and embedded video Use ALT text to provide a clear description of any type of non-text object added.

Describe the content and purpose of the object.

  • Try to do this in one or two short sentences.
  • Avoid repeating content from the body of the text.


Decorative images do not need explanatory ALT text but it does need to indicate that the image is decorative.

A more detailed image description may be required in the body of the text where specific details and ideas are to be conveyed.

Avoid using visual characteristics alone to convey information.

Avoid including images of text.

Avoid using any content that flashes or flickers.

Colours Pastel colours are best for backgrounds.


Avoid using textured background styles.

Avoid communicating ideas with colour alone.

Avoid using green and red / pink wherever possible.

Colour contrast Ensure that there is a high contrast between the text and its background.   This can be checked using the Microsoft accessibility checker – see below.

Avoid combining colours of a similar tone, such as dark blue and black.

If you know that a presentation is to be delivered in a dark room it can be helpful if a dark background and light text are used.

Links Use meaningful text and descriptions for hyperlinks.

ScreenTips can be employed to provide additional hyperlink information. (Screen Tips are added via the hyperlink set-up window).

To show or hide screen tips

Avoid using a full url in the body of the text.

Tables Use a simple table structure.

Include clear column and row headings.

Avoid split and merged cells.

Avoid blank rows and columns


There are is a wealth of additional support material available for users of Microsoft PowerPoint at this link.

Assessing the accessibility of a PowerPoint presentation.

1) Select the ‘File’ tab in the upper left hand corner

2) Click the ‘Check for Issues’ button

check for issues button

3) Select ‘Check accessibility’

check accessibility option

4) A separate panel will appear on the right hand side of the screen that gives information about any accessibility issues with your document and suggestions about the way to fix them.