Microsoft Powerpoint - Guidelines for Accessible Presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint is widely used across College as an aid when presenting to staff and students. This section aims to help staff and students create a fully accessible presentation with easy to use tips and help. These tips should be introduced and maintained for all presentation irrespective of who the presentation is aimed at.

When creating Ms Powerpoint Presentations ensure you:

Slide Content:

  • Use short concise ideas and content. Use bullet points and lists where appropriate.
  • Ensure every bullet point or item in a list ends with punctuation (e.g. a Full Stop, Semi-Colon or Comma).
    • Ensure the body text size is a minimum size of 16-18 font (where possible). 

Slide Layout:

  • Choose the slide layout appropriate for your requirements.
  • When creating a new slide, you can choose the slide layout by navigating to File > New Slide (Format > Slide Layout in older versions), once selected the slide layout options will be displayed.
  • Avoid blank slides. In choosing the blank template you are removing all the in-built headings and structure that a design layout provides. Heading and structure is needed by those with a visual impairment to navigate the presentation quicker and easily.

Background Colours:

  • Choose a high colour contrast between your background and text. Avoid black on white as this combination can cause glare for some members of your audience. The colours chosen for the text and slide background should provide good contrast without glare. For example, dark blue combined with a light cream colour has good legibility.
  • Avoid green on red and vice versa. Some of your audience may be colour blind.
  • To amend the background colour within the slide navigate to Design > Format Background. From the dialogue box that opens select the 'fill' then 'fill colour' to view available colours.
  • Once an appropriate colour has been selected you can apply it in one of two ways. If you wish the background colour to be shown on all slides select 'Apply to All', if the background colour should only be applied to that specific slide select 'Apply'.
  • Adapt your colours to your venue (if you are familiar with the venue). It is easier to read dark coloured text on a light coloured background in a bright venue, and dark backgrounds with a text light in dark venues.
    • Put text in bold if using a dark background.

Video and Audio Content:

  • Provide a text transcript for the AV material within the notes field of the slide.

Checking the accessibility of your presentation

  • MS Powerpoint has an in-built tool to allow you check the level of accessibility of your document.

Video Tutorial: A quick guides to the Dos and Don'ts of PowerPoint Creation (length 4m 5s)



Presenting in an inclusive Manner

  • Consider your pace. Don't speak too fast.
  • Allow approximately two minutes per slide.
  • Face the audience.
  • Use PowerPoint to highlight key terms.
  • Circulate your presentation in advance.
  • Vocalise all on your PowerPoint Slides.
  • Use a microphone.


A range of accessible templates are available to download here