University of Utah

Improving Accessibility in PowerPoints for Effective Learning Experience Design

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PowerPoints are a common tool used in online course design for presenting information to students. However, to ensure that all students have equal access to course content, instructors must make sure that their PowerPoints are accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities. In this UCL Knowledge Base article, we will provide you with some tips and best practices for improving the accessibility of your PowerPoints. Making PowerPoints accessible is a crucial step in creating an inclusive learning environment. By providing accessible course materials, instructors can help ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn and succeed in their courses.

Learning Objectives

After reading this article, you will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of making PowerPoints accessible for all learners.
  • Apply best practices for improving the accessibility of your PowerPoints.
  • Identify and overcome common challenges related to making PowerPoints accessible.

Background Information

Research has shown that students with disabilities often face barriers to accessing course materials, including PowerPoints. Therefore, it is important for instructors to create accessible PowerPoints to ensure that all learners can access course content. The key terminology associated with this topic includes alternative text, color contrast, and hyperlinks, among others. PowerPoints are often disregarded when it comes to accessibility and once created, are often hard to improve upon; therefore, it is recommended to create PowerPoints using Microsoft PowerPoint Templates and accessibility in mind from the start.

Best Practices

  1. Use Microsoft's Templates: When creating a new PowerPoint, it is best to use Microsoft's templates, as they are designed with accessibility in mind. This will make it easier to create a slide deck that is accessible from the beginning.
  2. Use the Accessibility Checker: Use the Accessibility Checker to quickly identify and fix the most common accessibility issues. The checker will provide you with recommendations for improving the accessibility of your PowerPoint.
  3. Design Accessibly: Create your slides and their content in the order you intend them to be read. Add alternative text for all visuals, ensure color is not the only means of conveying information, and use accessible hyperlinks.
  4. Use Slide Design Best Practices: Use a larger font size, sans serif fonts, and sufficient white space. Avoid unnecessary design elements that may distract from the meaning of the information on the slide.

Examples and Applications

Real-life examples of accessible PowerPoints include the use of clear, concise language, color contrast, and alternative text. You can apply these examples to your specific course and instructional context by ensuring that all of your slides are designed with accessibility in mind.

Put Into Practice

To practice applying these best practices, you can create a new PowerPoint presentation using Microsoft's templates and use the Accessibility Checker to identify and fix any accessibility issues. You can also use the resources and tools provided by Microsoft to improve the accessibility of your PowerPoints.

FAQs and Common Challenges

What is alternative text?

Alternative text is a description of an image that is used by screen readers to provide information to users who are visually impaired.

What is color contrast?

Color contrast refers to the difference in hue and brightness between foreground and background colors. Good color contrast is important for users with color blindness and low vision.


Improving the accessibility of your PowerPoints is an important step in creating an inclusive learning experience for all students. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can create accessible PowerPoints that allow all learners to access course content equally. Remember to use Microsoft's templates, use the Accessibility Checker, add alternative text, use accessible hyperlinks, use color appropriately, and design accessibly. 

Further Resources

Microsoft provides a range of resources for making PowerPoints accessible, including tutorials and accessibility features built into the PowerPoint application.


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