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Inaccessible Narrated PPT Files

Narrated PPT files are inaccessible to many SWD (low vision, blind, HOH, Deaf) due to method of creation. Need to be replaced with accessible materials. PowerPoint is lacking accessibility for students who have visual and auditory impairments. The PowerPoint needs to be updated so all users with disabilities can access it.

Example of Issue

An instructor created a PowerPoint that has no captioning, alt tags and limited audio. Students with visual impairments are not able to understand the information presented on the PowerPoint because some of the audio is absent from some of the slides. Students with hearing impairments are not viewing any captioning of the accompanying audio.


  • Guideline 1.1 Text Alternatives: 1.1.1 Non-text Content: All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, except for the situations listed below. (Level A)
  • Guideline 1.2 Time-based Media: 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded): Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. (Level A)
  • Section 508 Compliance: 1194.22 Web-based intranet and internet information and applications
    (b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

Example of Standard in Action

An instructor created a PowerPoint that has audio to describe the different slides and as well as lecture. The audio is captioned to synchronize with the text and lecture. Also, any images in the PowerPoint have alt tags included. Rows and columns headers in data tables are clearly identified. Links are also clearly described.

Inserting Audio:

  1. Navigate to the PowerPoint slide where the audio should begin playing.
  2. Click Audio On My PC to select an existing file on your computer, click Online Audio to search for a term in’s Clip Art of sound clips.
  3. Click Insert, and an audio bar will paste into your presentation.How to Insert Audio in PowerPoint
Adding Alternative Text:
Alt text should be added to pictures, clip art, charts, tables, shapes, SmartArt graphics, all objects in the list group, embedded objects, video, and audio files.

  1. Right-click the image or object and select the Format item type (e.g., Format Shape, Format Object, Format Chart Area).
    a. A format panel will open on the right.
  2. Click the Size & Properties icon > ALT TEXT.
  3. Enter the title and description in the Title and Description field.
 Adding ALT tag in PowerPoint

Adding Header Information in Tables:
Note: In PowerPoint 2013, header row is automatically added to the table. Nested tables, and merged or split cells inside of data tables are more difficult to navigate.

Adding Header Information  in Tables

Adding Closed Captioning for Audio/Video:
Download and install the Sub-titling text add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint (STAMP) which allows you to easily create closed captions for video and audio in your presentation.

Meaningful link text vs. Unclear link text:

Locating the Issue in Your Course

Go through your course and locate any PowerPoints that are in use. Open PowerPoint and check for the following:

  • Alt tags: right click on any images or objects and click on Format to confirm if they have alt tags.
  • Tables: if you are using tables,  on the Table Tools Design tab, in the Table Style Options group, check that Header Row is checked.
  • Audio: If you are using audio or video components in the presentation, ensure that the content is available in alternative formats for users with disabilities, such as closed captions, transcripts or alt text.
  • Text: audio is provided for any text and is synchronized with the slides/lecture.
  • Links: all links provide a clear description of the link destination, rather than only providing the link.

Resources to Align With Standard

  • WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) provides web accessibility solutions to individuals with disabilities. Links provided will give you information on how to make a PowerPoint accessible and a quick reference guide on web accessibility principles to keep in mind when creating a PowerPoint.
  • @ONE provides training and online resources to faculty and staff to learn technology for free or low cost thanks to funding from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and Technology Infrastructure Program (TTIP). Link provided will take you to webinar that will help you to ensure all content used in an online presentation is accessible.

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