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Disability Accommodations

PowerPoint Access

Microsoft PowerPoint is a popular tool used to create slide show presentations. However, problems can arise for students with visual and hearing impairments. The following tips can help in making PowerPoint presentations accessible.

For students with hearing impairments:

Instructors should provide a transcript or captions for any embedded multimedia (video, video clips, audio recordings) in PowerPoint presentations.

For students with visual impairments:

Students with visual impairments often use screen readers (assistive technology that reads text for students).

When creating the PowerPoint slides:

  1. Type text in outline pane so that it can be accessible to screen reader.
  2. Use the Notes Pane to provide a written description of informational images (charts, graphs, diagrams, and maps).  Ensure that there are written descriptions of non-decorative images such as graphics, logos, charts, graphs, and diagrams in the Notes Pane to make them accessible.
  3. Images should also have a written description in Alt-Text. Alt-Text can be added easily with the following steps:
  • Right-click the image and click Format Image.
  • Click on the Alt-Text.
  • Add a written description of the image in the field.
  • Click OK.
  • Other helpful tips when creating PowerPoint slides:
    • Use a single description of a chart or graph, rather than trying to describe each individual element in the chart or graph.
    • Use descriptive words to describe mathematical equations (e.g., “divide 44 by 9” instead of “44/9”).

    Or an alternative way is to provide an accessible electronic copy of presentation using Microsoft Word with the following steps:

    1. On the File menu, click Save and Send (Microsoft Office 2010) or Publish (Microsoft Office 2007) and then click Create Handouts.
    2. Select the Notes Next to Slides or the Notes Below Slides option and then click OK.
    3. Make any desired formatting changes and then save the file.
    4. In Microsoft Office Word 2010, you can check for accessibility of your word file by:
    • On the File menu, click Info menu
    • Click on Check for Issues button.
    • On the next menu click, Check for Accessibility.
    • You will notice a menu to the right of your screen.  It will give you tips to make your word files accessible.

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