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MS Powerpoint 2016 Checklist


Document Formatting


1. Is the file name descriptive, and is the file in .pptx format?


How to test

Instruction: Look at the filename in Windows Explorer OR the title bar in MS PowerPoint. An example of a descriptive filename is "FY16-Report.pptx." The file must be in the "*.pptx" format for accessibility testing to be possible.

NOTE: If the document extension is not displayed, open your documents folder in Windows Explorer, select "View">check "File name extensions".

Figure 1: The Save As Dialog Box

Screen shot showing Save as type pptx.


Test A: Is the file name descriptive and does it identify the document or its purpose? If not, the document fails this test.

Test B: Is the file in "PowerPoint (.pptx)" format? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

A descriptive file name identifying 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 because these authoring and testing instructions will only work if the file is in the ".pptx" file format.

Select "File tab>Save As"

  • Save as type: "PowerPoint Document(*.pptx)"
  • Save the document with a descriptive file name.


Text Formatting


2. Does the reading order match the visual layout?


How to test

Instruction: Open the Selection pane (Home tab>Drawing group>Arrange>Selection pane). Select the last item in the Selection pane. The first object on the slide is at the bottom. Starting from the bottom, select each subsequent object above the last item to view the reading order.

Test A: Does each object match the visual reading order in the slide? If not, the document fails this test.

Figure 2: Slide Layouts using Selection Pane

Screen shot showing standard slide layouts.

How to author for accessibility

Objects in PowerPoint slides (such as text, pictures, and tables) corresponding to the visual reading order ensures assistive technology reads the items in a logical manner. When adding content to a slide, use the Selection Pane to place it in the order intended.

  • Manually move objects (by using cut-and-paste or drag) so they match the visual reading order.

3. Are lists formatted correctly?


How to test

Instruction: Place your cursor on a list item. Determine if one of the list formatting indicators (Home Tab> Paragraph pane) is selected.

Test: Are lists formatted correctly? If not, the document fails this test.

Figure 3: Bullets and Numbering List Buttons

PowerPoint Ribbon, with the bullets and numbering selections highlighted.

How to author for accessibility

Lists organize and structure content. Assistive technology users cannot infer meaning if you just format with tabs, a dash, or a number. Using built-in list features applies the formatting that assistive technology needs to both identify and present lists to users with disabilities.

Go to Home Tab>Paragraph group and select the bullets or numbering list buttons when using lists in your presentation.

To format content using the built-in list features, you can:

  • Select the list feature (i.e. bullets or numbering) you want, then type your list item,
  • OR

  • Type your list item, then select the list feature you want used.

4. Are columns formatted correctly?


How to test

NOTE: If content does not appear in columns, do not perform this test.

Instruction: Place the cursor on columnar text and determine if columnar formatting is enabled (Select Home tab>Paragraph group>Columns button)

Test: Are the correct number of columns highlighted? If not, the document fails this test.

Figure 4: Column Formatting

PowerPoint Ribbon, with column formatting highlighted.

How to author for accessibility

Screen readers and assistive technology cannot read information in the correct reading order when using tabs or spaces to separate content into columns.

Select Home tab>Paragraph group>Columns button and choose number of columns desired in the content.


5. Is text formatted for the intended language?


How to test

NOTE: If the document only uses one language, you do not have to perform this test.

Instruction: If the document contains words or phrases in a language other than the predominant language, place your cursor on that text. Go to Review Tab>Language Group>Language Button>Set Proofing Language.

Test: Is the text formatted in the correct language? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

A document can contain sections written in different languages. Assistive technology cannot infer the correct pronunciation from just text, so formatting the text with the correct language is important.

Select Review tab>Language group>Language button>Set Proofing Language.

Figure 5: Language Button

PowerPoint Ribbon, with Review tab and Language button. Marking text as Korean.

To set a different language, you:

  • Select text written in a different language.
  • Select Review tab>Language group>Language button>Set Proofing Language.
  • Select the appropriate language from the list.

6. Are link names descriptive?


How to test

Instruction: Find hyperlinks within a slide

Test: Do links have meaningful names that describe their destination, function, and/or purpose OR are these determinable within context? If not, the document fails this test.

Uniquely Named Link:

      www.section508.gov

Links Determinable within context:

      Get My Section 508 Questions Answered

An unclear link name with no context:

      click here


How to author for accessibility

Assistive technology users rely on meaningful names to determine the destination, function, or purpose of links. For example, multiple "click here" links confuse assistive technology users because the name for each link is the same, while the destinations may be different.

Figure 6: Hyperlink Button

File tab, with the Hyperlink button selected.


Naming and creating links:

  • To edit the name of a link, place your cursor on the link and edit the text.
    NOTE: deleting the last character in the link name will remove the link.
  • To insert a link, copy the link (e.g. URL), select the desired text, right-click OR Shift + F10, select "Hyperlink," paste the link in the "Address" field and select "OK."

Object Formatting


7. Is vital information in the background (i. e. Slide Master) duplicated in the document?


How to test

Instruction: Look for vital information in headers, footers, and watermarks (e.g. Respond by X date, CONFIDENTIAL, or Do Not Distribute). Go to Home tab>Drawing group>Arrange>Selection Pane.

Test: Can the vital information be selected within the Selection Pane? If not, the document fails this test.

Figure 7: : Example of Duplicated Vital Information

Format tab, with the Selection Pane button selected.

How to author for accessibility

Assistive technology does not automatically read information in the background, so vital information needs to be duplicated at or near the start of the related information. Because the background is accessible to users, non-vital information does not need to be duplicated.



8. Did you use built-in features to create data tables?


How to test

Instruction 1: Select a table. If the "Picture Tools" tab shows up in the Ribbon, instead of the "Table Tools" tab, then the table is a picture.

Test A: Is the document free of pictures of tables? If not, the document fails this test.

Instruction 2: Place your cursor on a table, and use the "Tab" key to move between table cells. Make sure cells don't span more than one column or row, which would signal merged or split cells.

Test B: Are tables free of merged or split cells? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

Assistive technology users need to identify column headers in data tables so the user can understand the association between table cells and their respective headers.

Select Insert tab>Table

Figure 8: Table Button

Screenshot of a PowerPOint with the Insert tab and Table button selected.

To create an accessible data table you:

  • Select the number of columns and rows you desire.
  • Do not merge or split cells.

NOTE: If you need to create complex data tables (data tables with more than one header row, one or more header column, and/or merged or split cells), you must convert the document to an accessible format (i.e. a PDF document remediated for accessibility) Complex data tables cannot be made accessible in MS PowerPoint.


9. Do images and other objects have alternative text?


How to test

Instruction 1: Select an image or object that conveys meaning, right-click (or Shift+F10)>Format Picture (Note: could say Format Object, Format Shape, etc.)>Size & Properties>Alt Text, and read the Description field. Also, look for a caption or description of the image or object in nearby text.

Test A: Does the image/object/shape have descriptive text as alt text, a caption, or is it described in the surrounding text? If not, the document fails this test.

Figure 9a: Format Picture Dialog Box Alt Text

Format tab, Format Picture button, Alt text dialog selected.

Figure 9b: Decorative object Alt Text

Format tab, Format Picture button, Alt text dialog selected.

Instruction 2: Select an image or object that is just for decoration, right-click (or Shift+F10)>Format Picture (Note: could say Format Object, Format Shape, etc.)>Size & Properties icon>Alt Text, and read the Description field.

Test C: Do the Description fields of decorative images or objects contain two spaces between quotes? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

Assistive technology 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.

To enter alt text, select the image, object, or shape. Right-click or Shift+F10, and select Format Picture (Note: could say Format Object, Format Shape, etc.)>Size & Properties icon>Alt Text. In the Description field, enter information that states a meaningful image or object OR enter a space or two spaces between quotes for decorative objects, then select "close."


Color Formatting


10. Are colors and other visual characteristics that convey information (such as size, shape, and location) also described in text?


How to test

Instruction: Find where you have used color and/or other visual characteristics to convey meaning such as green, yellow, red, circle, the larger triangle, etc. Look for associated screen text (i.e. a red circle, with the text "red" within the object) OR alternative text (right-click (or Shift+F10)>Format Picture (Note: could say Format Object, Format Shape, etc.)>Size & Properties>Alt Text).

Test Is there text that conveys the meaning of the color or other visual characteristics. If not, the document fails this test.


How to author for accessibility

The following layout table describes the progress for three projects using colors to symbolize the current project status. Adding text in addition to the color provides comparable information to users of assistive technology and people who are colorblind.

Table 1: Example of a table that uses color AND text to convey project status

Project Status
Project A
Project B
Project C
Project Status
Project A Green
Project B Yellow
Project C Red

Use text to duplicate the meaning of the color or visual characteristics (such as size, shape, and location).


11. Is the contrast ratio between text and background sufficient?


How to test

NOTE: If the document text is black on white background (or close to it), you do not need to perform this test. This test requires the Colour Contrast Analyser.

Instruction: Execute the Colour Contrast Analyser. Select "Download" (the application can be executed without downloading it onto your computer). Open the Colour Contrast Analyser. Drag the "Foreground eyedropper" icon over a sample of your text or image of text. Drag the "Background eyedropper" icon over a sample of your background color.

Figure 10 - Passing result for the Colour Contrast Analyser


Color Contrast Analyzer with Passing score. Color Contrast Analyzer with failing score.

Test A: Have you formatted with the correct color contrast ratio? If not, the document fails this test.

How to author for accessibility

People who are colorblind or have low vision will have comparable access if there is sufficient contrast between the text and the background. The contrast standards are:

Table 2: 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

Create content with text or images of text that use color or shading with sufficient color contrast. If the contrast ratio does not pass, then adjust your foreground or background until it does pass.

Table 3: Examples of Good and Bad contrast

Examples of Good and Bad contrast.



Miscellaneous


12. Are descriptions of embedded audio, video and multimedia files accurate?


How to test

NOTE: If the document does not contain audio, video, or multimedia files, you do not need to perform this test.


Instruction: Activate the audio-only, video-only, or multimedia file.

Test A: Is there an accurate and complete text transcript for multimedia files, text description for audio files, and synchronized caption and/or audio description for video files? If not, the document fails this test.


How to author for accessibility

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


  • Audio-only
    •   Accurate and complete transcript

  • Video-only
    •   Accurate and complete text description

  • Multimedia (audio and video)
    •   Accurate and complete synchronized captions and audio descriptions


13. Did you exclude flashing objects?


How to test

Test: Is the document free of all flashing objects? If not, the document fails this test.



How to author for accessibility

Create your content without using flashing objects. Flashing objects can cause seizures and should never be used.