Creating accessible PDFs from Microsoft PowerPoint

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Before starting

Demo file

An example file, Powerpoint-Example.pptx (PPTX 7MB), has been created which has issues that need to be corrected.

Making documents correctly

Title, Author etc.

While Title is the only field that is required, it is worth adding Tags for SEO, Subject, and right click on Author(s)’s name to “Remove Person” if you do not wish their name all over the internet – replace Author with organisation name.

Headings

Master slides

Making sure there is a Title element for each slide

Lists

Hyperlinks

Alternative text for images (alt text)

Image use

Language

Leading screen reader software is multilingual.

Language of document

The language of the document must be set so that screen readers will read the document using the correct language profile.

Language of part of document

Content within the document written in a different language to the document’s default language must be identified.

Tables

Other things to take into account for accessibility

Plain English

Why use it?

Further help

Font

Colour

PowerPoint Accessibility Checker

Accessibility Checker (external website) tests Microsoft PowerPoint documents for accessibility issues and gives errors, warnings, tips, and intelligent services.

Errors

Warnings

Tips

Intelligent Services

Suggested alternative text.

Running the Accessibility Check

Language

Note:

Language of document

Language of part of document

Title

The Accessibility Checker does not test for the title in PowerPoint so this needs to be done manually.

Tables

Tips for accessible tables

Inserting a table

Note: Scope must be fixed using Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Editing a table

Adding Alternative text to a table

Older versions of PowerPoint
PowerPoint 365

Lists

Hyperlinks

Hyperlink text is the same as the link address

url text as a full url

Note: Adobe Acrobat will automatically make text that appears to be a hyperlink clickable as a hyperlink without it being a proper hyperlink in the PDF document so text like below

Text that is a url but not a link in the original document

will be clickable in the exported PDF and should be made into a hyperlink in the original document using good link text

Link is now a link with proper link text

Colour contrast

Use Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA) (external website) to test the text colour contrast manually and change any colours that fail.

Using colour for meaning

Fixing the issues

Errors

Missing Object Description

This error is because the object requires Alt-text.

Missing Table Header

This is because the table does not have a header row.

Missing Slide Title

This is because the slide has not had a title added.

Default Section Name

This is because a section has been added but not been renamed from the default.

Warnings

Warnings are issues that may be fixed but do not necessarily need to be.

Missing Audio or Video Subtitles

This is because the embedded video does not have subtitles.
This cannot be fixed as it is an external third party video. Options include:

Hard-to-Read Text Contrast

This warning is because of the colour contrast between the text and the background

Very light colour text on a pink background

Use of Merged or Split Cells

This is because cells within the table are merged or split.
The options are to remove these cells from the table by simplifying the table, in this case the table

Table with merged cells

Was split into two separate tables

Tables split into two tables so merged cells are not an issue

But these simpler tables still have merged cells where the title is – potentially the numbering could be removed and included at the start of each sentence, or the heading split into two cells with a heading of chapter (or something similar)

Extra column heading added so there are no merged cells

Check Reading Order

Tips

Duplicate Slide Title

This is because there is more than one slide with the same title.

Duplicate Section Name

This is because there is more than one section with the same title.

Intelligent Services

Review Auto-Generated Description

Auto-Generated Description turning on or off

Reading order

Exporting to a PDF

Artifacting objects

Header and Footer objects are artifacted when exported to PDF.

Check for accessibility in Adobe Acrobat Pro PDF

Errors in Accessibility Checker

Errors in PAC 2024

Fixing the errors found in Accessibility Checker

Documents

Logical Reader Order

“Walk” down the Tag tree to check that the reading order is as expected and fix if it is not.

Title

This failed because even though the document had a Title, Author and Keywords, the “Initial View” was set to Show “File Name” rather than “Document Title”, clicking Fix sorted that out.

Color contrast

Go through the document with Colour Contrast Analyser (CCA) (external website) to make sure all the contrasts are still ok.

Tables

Regularity

A regularity failure is because the table does not have the same number of cells in each row or in each column. In this case because there are only two columns of headers, but two columns inside each header column.

Table which does not have the same number of cells in each column or row

To fix this a span will need to be added to the “Cras aliquam convallis felis” cell and to the “Phasellus sagittis nunc quis mauris” cell so that each cell covers two columns.
The “1” cell and “Curabitur at rhoncus tellus” cells will need to have spans added covering four rows.

Summary

Table summaries used to be required to describe the table, the number of columns and rows etc. for AT so that it can announce this information. It is no longer necessary and the

Exclamation mark in a yellow warning triangle

and the fact it was skipped is not a failure and it could be ignored.

If nothing has been done on the table at all
If the table has already been modified to correct issues

Errors in PAC 2024 after fixing issues in Accessibility Checker

Fixing the errors found in PAC 2024

Table header cell has no associated subcells

PAC 2024 showing table header cell which does not have an associated subcell

Alternative description for annotations

PAC 2024 link failing alternative description for annotations

PDF/UA identifier

This should only be added when the document passes everything else.

The document has now fully passed PAC 2024.

The PDF/UA requirements checked by PAC are fulfilled

Downloadable Microsoft Word version

Creating accessible PDFs from Microsoft Powerpoint (Word 2.09MB)

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Font size help

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Letter spacing help

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Line height

Line height help

  • Default (Unset): all text has a minimum line height of 1.5 times the size of the text
  • Increased: all text has a line height of twice the size of the text
Paragraph spacing

Paragraph spacing help

  • Default (Unset): The space between paragraphs is equivalent to 1.5 times the height of the paragraph's text
  • Increased: The space between paragraphs is equivalent to 2.25 times the height of the paragraph's text
Word spacing preference

Word spacing help

  • Default (Unset): No modifications to word spacing are present
  • Increased: Spaces between words are equivalent to 0.16 times the font size