Improve Your PowerPoint Accessibility
It’s imperative that you incorporate accessibility best practices into your presentations so everyone, including people with disabilities, has an equal opportunity to benefit from your work. For instance, many with visual impairments commonly use a screen reader. A screen reader will dictate the content you’ve created based on a slide’s reading order. In PowerPoint, the reading order does not necessarily go from the top–to–bottom, left–to–right as you might expect. To make sure your information is relayed accurately, it is important to verify the reading order.
PowerPoint Screen Reader Accessibility
One way to make sure your presentation is accessible to screen readers is to use one of PowerPoint’s built-in templates. The objects in these templates are arranged to relay information in logical reading order. However, if you make changes to the design by adding, removing, or rearranging objects (text boxes, graphics, etc.) or you build on a blank slide, you’ll likely need to manually adjust the reading order, even if the objects appear to be arranged logically.
The reading order can be modified using the Selection Pane, which displays all objects on the selected slide. To access the Selection Pane and adjust your reading order:
- Navigate to the Home tab.
- Locate the Editing group and click the Select drop-down menu.
- Choose the Selection Pane option. All objects on the slide are listed in the pane. Reading order starts from the bottom of the Selection Pane and moves upward.
- Move objects by clicking on the object name and using the arrows provided to move it up or down in the reading order.
Important: Reading order starts at the bottom of the pane. If you add objects to the slide, those new objects added to the slide will appear at the top, and therefore last in the reading order.
Naming Objects Using the PowerPoint Selection Pane
By default, each of your objects is given a default name of “Object #,”; which can be confusing when you have several objects on a slide. It’s a good idea to name your objects to help you stay organized. Learn how to name your objects in addition to other options in the Selection Pane with our software tip on Using the PowerPoint Selection Pane to Work with Complex Presentation Slides. Furthermore make sure your PowerPoint accessibility is up to par with another PowerPoint tip covering Checking the Accessibility of a Presentation.
- Document Accessibility: Accessible PowerPoint Presentations – November 7, 2019
Additional PowerPoint Resources
- We have more Microsoft PowerPoint tips in our Recent Posts and Categories sections. These are on the right side of your screen if viewing from a desktop.
- To learn about upcoming classes on Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and other Microsoft applications, please visit our Course Schedule page.
- To schedule a custom class for any Microsoft application on your organization’s campus, please contact our Training Team.
- Finally, be sure to look through our other Software Tips for more on Microsoft Office!