If you have the Normal view open, the slide master is the larger slide image
in the slide thumbnail pane. The associated layouts are positioned beneath the
4. Customize the existing master slide and its associated layouts to suit your needs (e.g.,
apply a design, theme-based colors, fonts, effects, backgrounds) ensuring that your
changes meet accessibility requirements.
5. Go to menu item: File > Save As.
6. In the File name box, type a file name.
In the Save as type list, select PowerPoint template.
Use the built-in designs offered in PowerPoint; however please know that not all of these design
options have ‘accessible’ color contrast or other design elements. Please ensure that whatever
design is chosen meets all the design considerations discussed in this section.
To access these design choices, go to the Design tab, and scroll through the options. The
number of choices may be expanded by using the drop down menu highlighted below. From the
Design tab menu, color selection and font choices can also be controlled.
Figure 39 - Slide Design Tab
Fonts and Font Size
Because they are the easiest to read, only use Sans Serif fonts, such as Arial and Verdana.
Since a PowerPoint presentation will most likely be projected onto a large screen consider how
far the audience will be from the screen and choose a font size accordingly. The minimum font
size for a PowerPoint presentation is 24 points.
Use of Color and Contrast
Make sure your text color provides enough contrast with the background color that people can
easily read it.
Always put text on a plain, solid-colored background. Text placed on top of an image or
patterned background is harder to see.
Be sure to provide enough contrast between the text color and the background color.
Figure 40 - View of blank PowerPoint Master screen
tab, in the
Close Master View.
Set a Logical Tab Order
Many presentation applications create content composed almost exclusively of "floating" objects.
This means that they avoid the transitions between in-line content and secondary "floating"
objects (text boxes, images, etc.) that can cause accessibility issues in word processors.
However, when you are working with "floating" objects, it is important to remember that the way
objects are positioned in two dimensions on the screen may be completely different from how the
objects will be read by a screen reader or navigated using a keyboard. The order that content is
navigated sequentially is called the "Tab Order" because often the "Tab" key is used to navigate
from one "floating" object to the next.
Tips for setting a logical “tab order” for "floating" objects
The tab order of floating objects is usually from the “lowest” object on the slide to the
Because objects automatically appear “on top” when they are inserted, the default tab
order is from the first object inserted to the last. However, this will change if you use
features such as “bring to front” and “send to back”.
The slide’s main heading should be first in the tab order.
Headings should be placed in the tab order immediately before the items (text, diagrams,
etc.) for which they are acting as a heading.
Labels should be in the reading order placed immediately before the objects that they
For simple slide layouts, it may be possible to simply insert objects in a logical tab order.
For more complex layouts, it may be easier to simply to create the slide as usual and
then set the tab order (see below).
To set the tab order using the ‘Selection Pane’:
1. Go to menu item: Home.
2. In the Drawing section, select Arrange > Selection Pane…
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3. In the Selection and Visibility pane, all the elements on the slide are listed in reverse
chronological order under Shapes on this Slide.
4. Elements can be re-ordered using the Re-order buttons located at the bottom of the
Selection and Visibility pane.
Note: The tab order of elements begins at the bottom of the list and tabs
Use Slide Notes
A useful aspect of presentation applications is the facility to add notes to slides, which can then
be read by assistive technologies. You can use these slide notes to explain and expand on the
contents of your slides in text format. Slide notes can be created as you build your presentation.
Figure 41 - View of Slide Notes page
To add notes to your slides:
1. Go to menu item: View.
2. In the Presentation Views section, select Normal to ensure that the notes panel is in
You can then select menu item Home, to access text formatting options.
4. The Notes Pane can be found at the bottom of the window, below the slide.
5. Type and format your notes within the Notes Pane below each slide.
Add alternative text to images and objects
Alternative text appears when you move your pointer over a picture or object, and helps people
using screen readers understand the content of images in your presentation. Alt text should be
included for any of the following objects in your presentation:
Shapes (that don’t contain text and are not in groups).
Groups (all objects in this list, with the exception of shapes, should also have alt text
when in groups).
Video and audio files.
To add alternative text to an image, Right click on picture choose Format Picture.
Figure 42 - Format Pictures
With the Format Picture menu open, select the option for Alt Text in the sidebar. Two fields will
appear one labeled Title and one labeled Description. Type out the Title of your picture or
object and then add descriptive text to the Description field.
Figure 43 - Description Field
How to Group Small Graphics/Images
Select one of the images.
Hold down the “Shift” key and select the other images that are to be part of the group.
Right-click the image.
Scroll to “Grouping” and then mouse over to click “Group.”
o Open the “Drawing” toolbar by going to View>>Toolbar>>Drawing.
o Click and drag to select all elements you would like to group.
o Right-click the image, scroll to “Grouping” and select “Group.”
**Note: images and shapes will not group together in MS Word. You can
copy and paste into PowerPoint, group and copy back to Word. However,
grouped items will lose their Alt text description and you will need to
Header Rows on Tables
Each table created must have the header row (first row in the table) clearly defined so that
screen reader software will read the table in a manner that is understandable to the end user.
Create the table as you would normally and select the table by clicking it. The best way to select
a table is to click the four way cursor in the top left-hand corner of the table.
If tables must be used, they should be constructed with header rows, and may not contain
merged cells. Also make sure reading order is left to right, top to bottom.
A header row is the first row or column in the table. The table should also include a title and if
applicable a short description if the table is too complex.
Specify column header information in tables
In addition to adding alt text that describes the table, having clear column headings can help
provide context and assist navigation of the table’s contents.
Designating Table Headers:
1. Click on the first row in the table and highlight the row.
2. Go to the Table Tools.
3. Click on Design.
4. Check the Header Row check box for the First Column and/or First Row.
5. Type (or retype) your column headings.
6. Press the Enter key.
Figure 44 - Designating Table Headers
Use simple table structure
By not using nested tables, or merged or split cells inside of data tables, the data is predictable
and easy to navigate.
To test and simplify the table structure, do the following:
1. Select the first cell of the table.
2. Press the Tab key repeatedly to make sure that the focus moves across the row and then
down to the first cell of the next row.
Add alt text for Tables:
1. Right click on the Table, and then click Format.
a. Click Format Shape.
2. Click Alt Text.
3. Enter descriptive text of the Table into the Title and Description text boxes.
a. Tip Use clear, but concise descriptions. For example, “a red Ferrari” tells the
reader more about the image than “a car.”
4. Click Close.
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