Presentation slides need to made as accessible as possible for your audience, both in terms of viewing them on a screen and when printed.
The information below mostly focuses on PowerPoint as this is the most commonly used software for creating slides. It is not recommended to use Prezi from an accessibility standpoint but you can find out more information about how to make Prezi more accessible if you have used it to create content.
Many of the accessible practices for Creating accessible Word documents also apply to PowerPoint slides so it is worth reading this page as well.
Structure and layout
- Use standard Slide Layouts. Avoid adding additional text boxes other than the ones that are part of the Slide Layout you have chosen.
- Use Outline View to check the reading order of the objects on your slides. By default this will match the order you created the objects in, which is not necessarily the logical order. All slide text should be visible in Outline View.
Alignment and spacing
- Use at least 1.0 of spacing between lines.
- Use the Paragraph Formatting feature to create space rather than using the Return key.
Fonts and formatting
- Choose sans serif fonts and ensure font size is large enough (at least 24 is recommended and 45 for titles).
- Use bullet points, preferably no more than four per slide.
- End all your sentences and any list items with a full stop or semi-colon.
Use of colour
- Ensure there is sufficient contrast between the font colour and the background colour. For example, black font on a cream or yellow background is a good contrast. Extreme contrast such as black font on a white background is best avoided.
- Avoid backgrounds with a lot of patterns.
- Do not use color as the ONLY way to convey content or meaning, for example using red to convey important points.
See the Visuals and use of colour page for more details on using colour in your content.
- Avoid animations and sounds if they are not crucial to the content of the presentation.
- Use alternative text for tables, charts, figures, images etc.
See the Visuals and use of colour page for more details on using images in your content.
Use descriptive words for hyperlinks rather than actually displaying the web address or a generic 'Click here' or similar. For example:
'Visit the Accessibility fundamentals page for more details about descriptive hyperlinks.'
Writing style and content
- Ensure that each slide has a unique Title.
- Avoid long sentences and use words and phrases that best suit your audience. Use the Notes area for fuller details rather than trying to put everything on the slide.
- Embed content from Word, Excel etc. rather than copying and pasting it.
- If using tables, use a simple table structure, and specify column header information.
Templates and themes
- Choose a template or theme that is accessible.
- There is more information about accessible themes on the Microsoft page Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities
Printing and sharing
- Print no more than two slides per page.
- Use uncoated, matt paper to avoid glare and ensure that it is thick enough so that print from one side doesn’t show through to the other. 90 gsm or more is recommended.
- If you are providing an electronic copy of your slides, make sure they can be edited so that people can adapt them to meet their needs (e.g. change the colours).
For details about creating accessible PDFs from Word visit the PDF documents page.
Refer to our page on Face-to-face sessions for information on how to make your delivery more accessible.
Check for accessibility
- The WebAIM site has a good section on PowerPoint Accessibility with step-by-step details.
- Microsoft has a step-by-step guide to Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities
- UCL’s Moodle course Accessible Teaching Practices: Providing Access to All using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides more detailed guidance on how to create accessible PowerPoint slides.
- Take this LinkedIn Learning course on Creating accessible documents in Office.
- The University of Edinburgh has a helpful page on Improving the Accessibility of Prezi.