Making PowerPoint decks more accessible

An essential component to maximizing remote participation by people with disabilities

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
7 min readMar 30, 2022


Example powerpoint template displaying many slides starting with hello and ending with thank you

Authors note: Because of Medium’s refusal to address its accessibility issues for both authors and readers, I’ve moved my last three years of blogs to Substack. Please sign up there for notices of all new articles. Thank you for your continued readership and support.

Part two of a two-part article. Part one focuses on how to optimize the video conference experience for the event.

One of the lasting impacts of the pandemic is that business people are spending much more time on video conferences. Many of those meetings involve one or more PowerPoint-based presentations.

Do you know how to optimize your decks for the 20 % of your audience with a disability?

Following the steps in this article will help ensure that participants with disabilities will be able to equally consume your content.

Step 1: Run the PowerPoint accessibility checker

Screenshot of Review menu on Powerpoint with accessibility typed into the search bar and the two methods to initiate the accessibility checker highlighted in red

PowerPoint has implemented an accessibility checker, which will review the deck for the 30 % of accessibility issues that can be detected automatically. It can be accessed from the Review Menu, or you can type accessibility in the search bar, and the Best Action highlighted in the popup should be the accessibility checker.

This is what you want to see:

Clean accessibility checker results

This type of result means you have some more work to do:

Accessibility checker results with numerous errors in alt text, slide titles, contrast, and reading order

You can open each of these accordions, select the item, and it will show you precisely what object on what page is causing the problem. Once you solve the issue, it…



Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.