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Creating Universal PowerPoint Content


Slide Layout and Structure

  • Use standard pre-defined slide layouts
  • Start with a blank presentation and build slides using the Outline view
  • Ensure that all slides have unique titles
  • Use slide transitions cautiously, if at all
  • Ensure that the reading order of each slide is logical


Graphics and Images

(text boxes, pictures, clip art, shapes, SmartArt, groups, embedded objects, video, audio)

  • Avoid using Text Boxes as they appear as graphic elements and may not be accessible
  • Only use images if they are critical to communicate or support meaning
  • Include meaningful alternative (alt) text and meaningful textual descriptions for graphical images (including diagrams and charts)
    • Create simplified, easy to understand titles to describe an image
    • Draft textual descriptions that explain the layout and other details of the image such as makeup, structure, and significance; include any words that may be part of the image
  • Adding a caption below the image will help all users understand the purpose of the image
  • Avoid animated images
  • Do not add graphics that distract from the content

Tables and Charts

  • Tables, charts, and graphs should be added using the appropriate slide layout or by selecting the item from the Insert menu
  • Limit use of tables to the presentation of data; do not use for slide layout
  • Do not include large tables or provide a detailed description for understanding the table content
  • Ensure data in tables reads from left to right
  • Create clear column headings that provide context and assist with navigation
  • Use simple table structure where data is predictable and easy to navigate; do not use nested tables, or merged or split cells inside of data tables
  • Avoid using blank cells for formatting; delete unnecessary blank cells or, if your table is used specifically to layout content, clear all table styles

Audio and Video

  • Include alt text to identify media
  • Include an area at the bottom of each slide for text captions; captions must be synchronized with audio
  • Include closed captions and transcripts for video

See also:


Additional Resources

How to Guides



Adapted from Best Practices in Online Content Accessibility: Microsoft PowerPoint by Xavier University's Instructional Design and Digital Media Department. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported LicenseCreative Commons Icon