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Document Formatting


1. SAVE AS A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION (.PPTX) WITH A DESCRIPTIVE FILENAME

A descriptive filename that identifies the document or its purpose helps everyone (including people with disabilities) locate, open, and switch between documents. In addition, the document must be in a ".pptx" format. The authoring and testing instructions in each section are only for MS PowerPoint 2013 Presentations.


Author Accessibly

Go to File Tab > Save As.


  1. Save your document with a descriptive filename.
  2. Save as a PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx).

Figure 1: The Save As Dialog Box

Screen shot showing Save as type pptx.


Check Your Work

Look at the file in Windows Explorer OR the title bar in MS PowerPoint.


  1. Check that the filename is descriptive and identifies the document or its purpose.
  2. Check that the file type is a PowerPoint 2013 Presentation (.pptx).

Table 1: Examples of nondescriptive and descriptive filenames


Nondescriptive Filename Descriptive Filename
Untitled1.ppt OMBReport387_2102014_v2.pptx
Document!.ppt Chapter6FY2016Justification.pptx
Presentation.ppt 2015Security_Training.pptx


2. USE BUILT-IN FEATURES TO CREATE SLIDE LAYOUTS

When you insert a new slide, use a built-in slide layout that already has placeholders for the content you want to create. If you manually add objects like text boxes, pictures, or tables to a slide, you must put objects in order for AT to read the content in the correct sequence.


Author Accessibly

Go to Home Tab > Slides Group > New Slide Button and select the layout that has the placeholders you want to use.

Figure 2: Built-in Slide Layouts

Screen shot showing standard slide layouts.

If you add objects (Text Box, Picture, Table, etc.), then:


  1. Open the Selection Pane (Home Tab > Editing Group > Select Button > Selection Pane).
  2. Starting from the BOTTOM, select each object to view the rest of the reading order.
  3. Use the Re-order buttons to set the reading order from bottom (read first) to top (read last).

Figure 2b: Slide Layouts using Selection Pane

Using the selection pane to order slides.

Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Open the Selection Pane (Home Tab > Editing Group > Select Button > Selection Pane).
  2. Select "Title" to view the first item in the reading order.
  3. Starting from the BOTTOM, select each object to view the rest of the reading order.
  4. Check that this reading order matches the visual layout on each slide.

Text Formatting


3. USE BUILT-IN FEATURES TO CREATE LISTS

Lists are used to break up and simplify content. Screen readers cannot infer meaning from just formatting (if you Tab and use a dash as a bullet). Using built-in list features creates a structure that screen readers can identify.


Author Accessibly

Go to Home Tab > Paragraph Group and use the bullets or numbering list buttons when putting lists in your presentation.

Figure 3: Bullets and Numbering List Buttons

PowerPoint Ribbon, with the bullets and numbering selections highlighted.

To use the built-in list features, you can either:

  1. Select the list feature you want and then type your list item,
  2. OR
  3. Type your list item and then select the list you want to use.
Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Look for lists on slides and in the notes pane.
  2. Select a list.
  3. Check that one of the built-in list features is highlighted.

4. USE BUILT-IN COLUMNS TO ORGANIZE CONTENT

This item does not mean that you are required to use a column layout, but when you do, you must use the built-in column feature rather than creating the appearance of columns with tabs or spaces. Screen readers and AT cannot read information in the correct reading order if just tabs or spaces are used. Columns create a structure that screen readers and AT can use to read information in the correct order (top to bottom and then left to right).


Author Accessibly

Select the text that should be in columns. Go to Drawing Tools > Format Tab > Paragraph > Add or Remove Columns

Figure 4: Column Formatting

PowerPoint Ribbon, with column formatting highlighted.

To use Column formatting:

  1. Select a text box that you want to put into columns.
  2. Click on the Columns Button.
  3. Click on the icon representing the number of columns you want.
Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Select a text box with text in a column layout.
  2. Check that the number of columns is highlighted (Home Tab > Paragraph Group > Columns Button).

5. USE BUILT-IN FEATURES TO ORGANIZE CONTENT IN LAYOUT TABLES

This item does not mean that you are required to use layout tables when organizing information, but when you do, you must ensure the reading order matches the visual layout. AT will read layout tables from left to right and then top to bottom.


Author Accessibly

Go to Insert Tab > Tables Group > Table Button.

Figure 5: Table Button

PowerPoint Ribbon, with Insert Table highlighted.

To use layout tables:

  1. Select the number of columns and rows you need for your layout table.
  2. Insert the information in your layout table from left to right and then top to bottom.
Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Put your cursor in the first cell of your layout table.
  2. Press the Tab key to move through the table from left to right and then top to bottom.
  3. Check that the tab order matches the visual layout.

6. IDENTIFY DIFFERENT LANGUAGES

A presentation can contain sections written in different languages. AT cannot indentify the language from just text. You must identify different languages, so AT can read all languages with the correct pronunciation. You do not have to set a section language for proper names, technical terms, or foreign words that are part of the vernacular.


Author Accessibly

Go to Review Tab > Language Group > Language Button > Set Proofing Language

Figure 6: Language Button

Review tab, with the Language button selected.


To identify a different language:

  1. Select a text box written in a different language.
  2. Go to Review Tab > Language Group > Language Button > Set Proofing Language.
  3. Select the appropriate language from the list.

Figure 6b: Language Button

Language tab, Mark selected text as selected.


Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Select any text box that is in a different language.
  2. Go to Review Tab > Language Group > Language Button > Set Proofing Language.
  3. Check that the correct language is identified.

7. CREATE UNAMBIGUOUS NAMES FOR LINKS

Provide unambiguous names or context for links that describe the destination, function or purpose so that AT can correctly identify information. For example, if you have several links and you name them all "click here," then AT will not be able to convey to individuals with disabilities information that distinguishes between links.


Author Accessibly

Ensure that the destination, purpose, or function is described in surrounding text.

OR

Go to Insert Tab > Links Group > Hyperlink Button.

Figure 7: Hyperlink Button

Insert tab, with the Hyperlink button selected.

To set a hyperlink name:

  1. Type an unambiguous name in your document that describes the destination, function, and/or purpose.
  2. Select the text in your document that you want to be a hyperlink (this text will show in “Text to Display”).
  3. Go to Insert > Hyperlink > LinkTo
    1. If "Existing File or Web Page," type the accurate URL in Address.
    2. If "Place in this Document," click on the appropriate line in "Select a Place in this Document".
    3. If "Create a New Document," type in the document name in "Name of New Document".
    4. If "Email Address," type a valid email address in "E-mail address".
Check Your Work

Check to ensure your link has an unambiguous name that describes the destination, function, and/or purpose OR that this is determinable within context.

Table 2: Examples of Link Names




Object Formatting


8. DUPLICATE VITAL INFORMATION IN THE BACKGROUND

AT does not automatically read information in the background, so vital information (such as Respond by X Date, CONFIDENTIAL, or Do Not Distribute) must be duplicated at or near the start of the main content area.


Author Accessibly

Duplicate vital information in the background at or near the start of the related information (such as the beginning of your presentation or the start of a section).

Figure 8: Example of Running Information in the Background

Screenshot of a PowerPOint with the due date repeated at the top of each slide.

Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Look for vital information in running headers, footers, or watermarks.
  2. Open the Selection Pane (Home Tab > Editing Group > Select Button > Selection Pane).
  3. Go to the start or near the start of the related information.
  4. Check that you can select vital information with the Selection Pane.

Figure 9: Example of Duplicated Vital Information

Screenshot of the first slide. The due date coresponds to a textbox in the Selection pane.


9. USE BUILT-IN FEATURES TO CREATE DATA TABLES

Data tables are those tables where the information in a cell requires a row and/or column header to adequately describe the cell's content. (If a table is used for placement of text and objects, then it is a layout table - See Use Built-in Features to Organize Content in Layout Tables).

When you create a data table you must:

  1. Insert tables. You cannot make images of tables accessible.
  2. Keep data tables simple (use one row of column headers and no merged or split cells).

If you need to create complex data tables (data tables with more than one header row, more than one header column, and/or merged or split cells), then you must convert to an accessible format. Complex data tables cannot be made accessible in MS PowerPoint.


Author Accessibly

Go to Insert Tab > Tables Group > Table Button.

Figure 10: Table Button

PowerPoint ribbon showing create table icon.

To create a data table:

  1. Insert the number of columns and rows you need for your data table.
  2. Do not merge or split cells.
  3. Only type headers into the first row.
Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Click on your table and make sure it’s not a picture. (If the Picture Tools Tab shows in the Ribbon, then it is a picture).
  2. Check that you do not have any merged or split cells. Put your cursor in the first cell and use the Tab key to move between the table cells. Check that cells do not span more than one row or column.
  3. Check that data tables do not have more than one row/column of headers.

10. CREATE ACCESSIBLE IMAGES AND OTHER OBJECTS

Screen readers cannot infer meaning from images and other objects. Images and other objects include pictures, images of text, images of tables, shapes, icons with hyperlinks, etc. Therefore, you must add descriptive text to images and other objects by:

  1. Adding Alt-Text to images and other objects OR
  2. Putting information in surrounding text or an appendix.

If adding Alt-Text to images and other objects, you must add:

  1. Text that describes the purpose and/or function for meaningful objects. If the object is an image of text, the Alt-Text must match the text verbatim.
  2. A space or "double-quote, space, double-quote" for decorative objects.
Author Accessibly

To enter Alt-Text:

  1. Select the image or object > right click > Format Picture/Object/Chart> Alt Text.
  2. Enter a description that states the purpose and/or function of the object (in about 250 characters or less). For decorative objects, enter 'double-quote, space, double-quote'.

Figure 11: Format Picture Dialog Box Alt Text

Format Picture Alt Text includes full text that is in logo.

Figure 11b: Decorative object Alt Text

Format Picture Decorative object Alt Text, only 'double-quote, space, double-quote'


Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Check that you have descriptive text in Alt-Text, surrounding text or an appendix.
  2. If you are using Alt-Text, right click and select Format Picture > Alt Text and check that there is a description of about 250 characters or less that states the purpose and/or function for meaningful images or objects OR that a "double-quote, space, double-quote" (" ") has been entered for decorative objects.

Color Formatting


11. USE COLOR (AND OTHER SENSORY CHARACTERISTICS) PLUS TEXT TO CONVEY MEANING


In order to use color and other sensory characteristics (such as size, shape, and location), do not use color alone to convey meaning. If you do, then individuals with disabilities who are blind, have low vision, or are color blind will not have access to comparable information.


Author Accessibly

To use color accessibly:

  1. Use color and other sensory characteristics (such as size, shape, and location) to convey meaning.
  2. Create text that duplicates the meaning of the color or other sensory characteristic.
Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Find where you have used color and other characteristics.
  2. Check that text duplicates the meaning of the color or other sensory characteristics.

Figure 12: Example of a table that uses color AND text to convey project status

Table that uses color and text to convey meaning.



12. CREATE THE REQUIRED COLOR CONTRAST


Having a high level of contrast between foreground and background results in more people being able to see and use the content. However, there are standards that are required and listed below:


Table 3: Table with Color Contrast Ratios by Text Size or Type


Type or Size of Text Contrast Ratio
Standard 4.5:1
Large Text (14 pt bold or 18 pt regular) 3:1
Incidental text, text overlaid on images, and logotypes Excluded from requirement

Author Accessibly

Create content with text or images of text that use color or shading with sufficient color contrast.


Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Open the color contrast analyzer (When you click download, the application will open without installing onto your computer).
  2. Drag the Foreground eyedropper icon over a sample of your text or image of text.
  3. Drag the Background eyedropper icon over a sample of your background color.
  4. Check that the color contrast ratio passes (AA) in the Color Contrast Analyser.

Figure 13: Example of Text that Passes the Colour Contrast Analyser (AA)

Color Contrast Analyzer with Passing score.

Figure 13b: Example of Text that Fails the Colour Contrast Analyser (AA)

Color Contrast Analyzer with Failing score.



Miscellaneous


13. CREATE ACCESSIBLE EMBEDDED FILES

If you embed an audio-only, video-only, or multimedia file that contains meaningful information into your MS PowerPoint presentation, you must also provide additional information so that individuals with disabilities have comparable access to the information.


Author Accessibly

Table 4: Additional information required listed by object type


Type Also include: What is this?
Audio-only Accurate and complete transcript A transcript is a text version of exactly what is being said in the audio-only file.
Video-only Accurate and complete text description A description is a text version of what is being shown in a video-only file.
Multimedia
(audio and video)
Accurate, complete, and synchronized, captions and audio descriptions Captions are time-synchronized text versions of exactly what is being said and/or a description of the relevant sounds in the multimedia file. Audio descriptions are time-synchronized descriptions of what is being shown in the multimedia file.

Check Your Work

To check your work:

  1. Activate the meaningful audio-only, video-only, or multimedia object.
  2. For audio-only, check that the transcript is accurate and complete.
  3. For video-only, check that the text description is accurate and complete.
  4. For multimedia (audio and video), check that the synchronized captions and audio description are accurate and complete.


14. AVOID FORMS IN MS POWERPOINT 2013

You cannot create an accessible form, suitable for publishing on a website, using MS PowerPoint. If you need to create a form, another application may be more appropriate so please contact the AT Team for assistance. The AT Team will analyze your business need and make an appropriate recommendation.


15. EXCLUDE FLASHING OBJECTS

Federal agencies do not typically see flashing objects embedded into MS PowerPoint presentations. Since flashing objects may be a public safety issue for individuals with photosensitive epilepsy and there is not typically a compelling business need, flashing objects should be excluded. If you feel you do have a compelling business need, please contact the AT Team for assistance in ensuring your object flashes below 3Hz.


16. ALTERNATIVE ACCESSIBLE VERSION

Federal agencies have the goal to produce one accessible document for everyone. However, there may be times when this is not feasible. Therefore, it is recommended that you contact the AT Team to ensure an alternative version is necessary as you are still required to create an alternative version that is accessible, up-to-date and has equivalent content.