Need a professional, Amherst PowerPoint template for your on-campus (or off-campus) presentation? Our PPT template contains ten slide types with official Amherst typefaces, wordmarks and color palette choices. Download the template (in .pptx format) to your computer.

The cover of the PowerPoint presentation with a photo of the back of Johnson Chapel surrounded by trees

Making Your Presentation Accessible

We created our PowerPoint template to be accessible to people with visual impairments, who might use a screen-reader or need high-contrast text. When creating your presentation, it’s easiest to add pre-existing slides and text/image boxes for your content. This will ensure that your presentation will maintain correctly structured headings and lists, and proper reading order.

Please review the following resources to ensure that your presentation remains accessible as you add slides and content.

Adding Slides to your Presentation

You can add a new slide to your presentation from the Home or Insert tab. If you choose the New Slide icon from the Home tab, PowerPoint will create a new slide with the same layout as the currently-selected slide.

There are nine pre-existing slides in our template to choose from when building your presentation. To add a slide:

  • In Windows, select either the small arrow or the text “New Slide” right below the icon, and a menu will drop down with all the available slide layouts. Select one of these options to create a new slide with this layout.
  • In macOS, select the small arrow next to the New Slide icon to show a similar dropdown menu and select the slide you want to insert.

The nine template slides of Amherst College's PowerPoint template

Reading Order of Content

Although it is best to use the existing slide layouts, you may need to add content to an existing slide. By default, a screen reader will read the slide title first, followed by other content in elements defined in the slide layout. Then it will read any additional content in the order it was added to the slide. If you add content with this principle in mind, it should be presented to screen reader users in a logical order.

The PowerPoint selection pane showing the title, text and picture items

You can check or change this reading order by selecting Home > Arrange > Selection Pane. The Selection Pane will appear in the right-hand sidebar. Reading order is shown in reverse, bottom to top.

Click and drag to change the reading order. PowerPoint for Windows also has up/down arrow buttons that can be used to reorder items.

Adding Alt Text to Images

All photos in your presentation will need to have alternative text that can be read by screen readers, if necessary. The images that already exist in the template contain the appropriate alt text. If you are changing one of the default images, or adding a new image, you will need to add the appropriate alt text. To do so:

  • Right-click on the image and choose Format Picture.
  • Select the Size & Properties icon and choose Alt Text.
  • Enter appropriate Alt text only in the Description field (not the Title field).

Note: Alt text will remain intact when exporting to HTML or PDF in Windows only; alt text does not carry over when exporting on a Mac.

Checking Your Presentation’s Accessibility

The PowerPoint Accessibility Checker showing a list of errors

PowerPoint includes a tool that will identify many common accessibility issues. The accessibility checker is basically the same in Windows and macOS, but the steps to start the check are different. To run the accessibility checker:

  • In Windows, select File > Info. Select the Check for Issues button and choose Check Accessibility.
  • In macOS, select the Review tab, then choose Check Accessibility.

The Accessibility Checker sidebar will appear to the right. The checker presents accessibility errors, warnings and tips. Selecting an item in the report will highlight the issue within the slide.

Information about the issue, and instructions on how to repair it, will also appear at the bottom of the sidebar. When the issue is addressed, it will disappear from the report automatically.

Other Tips for Making Accessible Presentations

  • Make sure text is not too small. If your presentation will be viewed on a projector, font size may need to be even larger. In general, try to make text at least 24pt.
  • Provide sufficient contrast. If your presentation will be viewed on a projector, sometimes the contrast needs to be even more pronounced.
  • Don’t mix up your fonts and font sizes. Too many variations in font size and type can be visually confusing.
  • Avoid automatic slide transitions.
  • If your slides contain animations, ensure they are brief and do not distract from the most important content on the page.
  • Do not put accessibility information such as alternative text in the Notes pane.
  • If you have embedded video, ensure it is captioned.
  • If you have embedded audio, include a transcript.
  • Learn more about how unclear or confusing writing can be an accessibility barrier.