Microsoft Office to PDF
Some content on this site is based on material from Michigan State Web Accessibility with their permission.
Use a color scheme that provides enough contrast between the text and the background, yet is not too overpowering. See the color page for more information on suitable color schemes.
Use sans-serif fonts that are designed for both projectors and online viewing. See the Font Face page for more information on picking a suitable font.
Give a title to every slide. Make sure the title is entered into the designated area (usually at the top), as this will help generate a table of contents for screen reader users (in both PowerPoint and, if the file is converted, in the HTML file).
If your slide includes multiple elements (e.g. images combined with textboxes), use the Arrange tool to order elements in a sequence that will be intelligible to a screen reader user.
Avoid inserting text boxes as they are not recognized by screen readers. Use one of the slide master templates instead.
If you use the Chart Wizard, make sure the chart formatting is accessible.
If you use Adobe Presenter with a PowerPoint file to create a recorded presentation, make sure that images are tagged, and try to minimize transitions. Text transcriptions are also necessary for audio content. For more information, see Creating Accessible Content with Adobe Presenter (from the Adobe Users Community)
Modern versions of Microsoft Office allow you to equip inserted images with alt text. If these files are converted to HTML, the alt text is generally preserved.
Microsoft Office 2010
NOTE: In Microsoft Office 2007, the Alt Text tool is under the Picture Size options. In Office 2003, it is under the Format Picture options.
- Open any Microsoft Office software and select an image so that the square anchors are visible.
- Right-click the mouse and select Format Picture.
- In the Format Picture window, select the Alt Text tab on the right, then insert the alt text into the Descriptionfield.
Click the Close icon to finalize the alt text.
NOTE: If the Alt Text tab is not available, make sure you have not selected the Format Picture.
Microsoft Office 2011 (Mac)
NOTE: This functions is not available in Office 2004 or Office 2008 for Mac.
- Open any Microsoft Office software and select an image so that square anchors are visible.
- Right click the mouse and select Format Picture.
- In the Format Picture window, select the Alt Text tab.
- Insert the alt text into the Description field as needed.
- Click OK to close.
- Click anywhere in the table.
- Go to the Design tab (Office 2010 for Windows) or the Table tab (Office 2011 for Mac) at the top of the page.
- Check the Header Row check box for the First Column and/or First Row.
- Type (or retype) your column headings.
- Press the Enter key.
Word 2010 for Windows Headers Tool
Word 2011 for Mac Headers Tool
Because screen readers cannot simply display all of a slide’s content at once, they must read every slide in a certain order. It is important to verify the order in which each slide is arranged to make sure the information is coherent when read aloud.
To verify the order of slide elements:
- Go to the Home tab.
- In the Format section, select the Arrange icon to see a drop-down list of commands.
- Choose Selection Pane (PowerPoint 2010 for Windows) or Reorder Objects (PowerPoint 2011 for Mac).
- Use the tools to place items in correct reading order. See the Quickstart guides below for details.
Notes on Order
- Windows: The bottom most item is in the Arrange panel read first.
- Macintosh: Item #1 in the Rearrange panel is read last.