Accessible Presentations – Accessibility Checker and Acrobat Conversion

Accessibility Checker

Office 2013 offers a built in Accessibility Checker. Using this automated checker won’t make your presentation perfectly accessible, but it’s a great tool.

To access the Accessibility Checker, go to File > Info > Check for Issues > Check Accessibility.

Note: In order to use the Accessibility Checker, your document needs to be saved as .pptx – uncheck compatibility

Screenshot of PPT 2013 Backstage Screen Info area wtih Check for Issues option of Check Accessibility highlighted

This allows you to access the Accessibility Checker pane. This pane provides you with Errors, Warnings, and Tips.

Screenshot of PPT 2013 Accessibilty Checker pane - Inspection Results area

Why Fix and How to Fix will appear when you click on one of your Errors, Warnings or Tips. You will usually need to use the scroll bar to see the step by step directions in How to Fix. (Not all issues can be checked this way, but it will catch a majority.)

Screenshot of PPT 2013 Accessibility Checker pane - Additional Information area - Why and How to Fix

Acrobat Ribbon Tab

Be sure to save your document in PowerPoint first. Then, you can use the Acrobat ribbon tab or the Save As Adobe PDF option located in the File menu. (Note: Do not convert to PDF by using Print to PDF – it will not be tagged correctly.)

Camel Case Document File Name

Using Camel Case is more important for documents which will be uploaded to the web. This helps URLs for PDFs stay “cleaner.” When you save your document, be sure to “CamelCase” the file name. CamelCase is a standard method for naming files that eliminates spaces, hyphens, underscores, or any other special characters. The first letter of every word is capitalized and there are no spaces between words. (Example: VictoriaCollegeFallCalendar.pdf )

Whether or not you choose to use Camel Case for the file name, the name should be concise yet descriptive.


You’ll need to make sure that your Acrobat PDFMaker Preferences are set to optimally convert your presentations to accessible PDFs. The Preferences option is located in the Create Adobe PDF area of the Acrobat tab.

Screenshot of PPT 2013 Acrobat ribbon with Preferences highlighted

In the Settings tab, be sure that the following options are checked in the Application Settings: Create Bookmarks, Add Links, and Enable Accessibility and Reflow with tagged Adobe PDF.


Be sure to click OK to save your Preferences. (These Preferences should be saved for the future when you use PPT, so you probably won’t have to set them again. However, it’s always a good idea to double check your settings.)

Create PDF

Go to the Acrobat tab and select Create PDF.

Screenshot of PPT 2013 Acrobat ribbon with Create PDF highlighted

(Alternately: Go to File > Save as Adobe PDF.)

Most of your formatting from PPT will carry over to the PDF. However, the more complicated your presentation, the more likely you’ll need to do a bit of remediation in PDF. The most common thing you may need to adjust is reading order.

Adobe Acrobat Professional XI

Once you’ve converted your PPT presentation to PDF, open the document in Adobe Acrobat Professional XI. Acrobat XI has a built-in Accessibility Checker as well as a Make Accessible Action Wizard. These tools will assist you with making sure your PDF is as accessible as possible. For more information, check out the Blog from last semester on using the Make Accessible Action Wizard.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll focus on live presentations.

Bonus! If you’re looking for more ideas, check out these Learning Styles & Active Learning Boot Camp workshops this month (November). Details and registration are available on our CAPE TeamUp Calendar.

  • Creating Engaging Presentations with Matt Wiley
  • Active Learning Tools with Deb Butler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s