Accessible Presentations – Introduction & Language

Best Practices

These best practices for accessibility are really best practices for presentation creation in general. Besides accessibility, these steps offer greater ease in search-ability, navigation, conversion to other formats, editing, etc. Blog posts over the next few months won’t cover all features of PowerPoint 2013 but will provide information on elements commonly used.

These directions assume that you are using MS Office 2013. If you need to convert your presentation to PDF, you will need Acrobat Professional XI or Acrobat DC installed on your computer.

Please note that most of these best practices focus on presentations to be posted on the web or Blackboard/Canvas. For live presentations, we’ll discuss readability in a few weeks and some tips for handouts, physical space, questions, etc. later this semester. Also, be sure to check out our VC Online series of CAPE Professional Development workshops in October and November. This 4-part series will introduce both faculty and staff to web and eLearning usability and design basics. We’ll cover navigation, visuals, typography and color.

Want to dive a bit deeper? Check out these resource books in the CAPE Resource Library:

  • Presentation Secrets by Alexei Kapterev
  • Show and Tell by Dan Roam
  • The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning edited by Richard E. Mayer
  • The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (2 ed.) by Edward R. Tufte

Before we end, here’s a quick tip on setting Language in PowerPoint…


The Language should be set to English by default, but you can change it if needed. This benefits everyone because the language is used for spelling and grammar checks.

Go to File > Options > Language > Choose English (unless your document needs to be in another language.)

Screenshot of PPT 2013 Options dialog box with Language highlighted

Stay tuned as we talk about the Design Ribbon Tab next week!


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