Like any document, it is easiest to make a Google Slides presentation accessible when you plan to do so from the start.
Use Pre-existing Slide Layouts
Adding New Slides
Text Equivalents with Alt Text
Provide Contextual Hyperlinks
Use Comments and Suggestions
Run an Accessibility Check
Check Reading Order
Converting Google Slides
Use preset slide layouts whenever possible, as this helps with reading order. The slides have pre-set font and paragraph styles, but these can be modified. Rather than changing a style for each slide, a default can be set for the entire presentation.
- From the main ribbon, select Theme
- Choose a theme you would like to work with
- Select Slide. From here, any change that is made within the master slide view will affect all slides that use that master.
- On the master slide, highlight the text you would like to modify the style for.
- The main menu ribbon allows you to choose how to modify the style:
- Font, font style, color and size of the text
- Text alignment, line spacing before and after paragraphs and list styles
- In this example, we’ll change the font color
Close the master slide when finished by activating the X in the top right-hand corner of the slide
- Use 24pt type or larger for paragraph or bulleted text (headings should be larger)
- Don’t use more than one font.
- Use a font designed for the screen like Georgia or Verdana, or a Google Slides default font:
- Arial, Raleway, Montserrat, Nunito, Maven Pro, Merriweather, Roboto, Source Code Pro, Oswald, Lato, Proxima Nova, Old Standard TT, Playfair Display, Economica, PT Sans, Open Sans, Alfa Slab One
Selecting the dropdown arrow on the New Slide button from the main menu ribbon will allow you to choose what layout to add
Each slide should have a slide title, as this helps assistive technology. If a textbox does not contain text, it will not be visible in the slideshow, but will still be detected by screen readers.
All images in a PowerPoint presentation should have alternative text assigned.
- Select an image in your document.
- Right select the image then choose “Alt Text.” Use CTRL+ALT+Y on the keyboard.
Provide a full description in the description box. In the case of the SUNY Oswego logo, you would write “State University of New York at Oswego.” If the image is more complex, like a chart, provide a title for the chart in the “Title” box and a full description of the chart in the “Description” box.
Hyperlinks in an electronic document should be embedded within the text to aid in readability and accessibility. Imagine you have the sentence “I work at SUNY Oswego” in your document and you want the words SUNY Oswego to link directly to the college’s website.
- Select the text you would like to convert to a hyperlink (in this example, SUNY Oswego).
- Right-click and select “Link” or choose “Link” from the Main Menu.
- You can link to external web pages or to a slide within the document.
- To link to an external page, choose one of the suggested links, or type a URL in the Link field (in this case, http://oswego.edu).
- To link to another slide within the document, choose Slides in this Presentation, and select the slide you want to link to.
- Select “Apply”
Rather than writing notes on presentations, use the comment feature. Screen reader users can use keyboard shortcuts to jump to comments, rather than hunting through the file.
Select the Add Comment tab from the main menu
This opens up a comment dialog box. If a specific element on the page is highlighted, the comment will be directly connected to that element.
Google Docs does not have a built-in accessibility checker, but it is really easy to add one.
Install Grackle Slides
You only need to install the Grackle Slides accessibility checker once. It will always be available to you in Google Slides once you have installed it. (*Please note, this is different than the Google Docs Grackle checker)
- Select “Get Add-ons” from the Add-ons menu.
- Search “Grackle” in the dialog box.
- Select “+ Free” option to install.
- An alert will pop up alerting you that Grackle would like access to your Google Slides. You will need to confirm that you trust Grackle by selecting “Allow.” This completes the installation.
Run Grackle Slides
Before you distribute an electronic document, run the Grackle Slides accessibility checker to make sure you haven’t overlooked any accessibility details.
From the Add-ons menu, select Grackle Slides, then launch.
- A sidebar will open up that will identify errors and warnings.
- Activate the down arrow next to the errors, or under the Accessibility Check tab, to expand the details of the errors
- Selecting the individual errors will take you to that specific page in the document to review.
- Address each issue one at a time throughout the document.
- Select the “Re-Check” button at the top of the window when you have completed each task to receive an updated report.
- Continue to revise until all checks have passed.
If elements are added to a slide layout, assistive technologies may not read them in the order that is intended. This needs to be checked manually. In the example picture below, the two logos and two bottom text boxes were added to the original slide layout.
To verify or change the order elements are “seen” on a page:
- Place your cursor on the top, left-most element, then press the Tab key. The order in which the elements are selected is the order in which they appear to a screen reader.
- Elements will be read beginning with the one that is the furthest back on the page and ending with the one that is furthest forward. You can see them listed in order by checking the Slides Structure tab in Grackle Slides.
- To adjust the reading order, select the page element to be changed. In this case, the white logo has been selected. It is also outlined in red under the Slides Structure tab.
- Choose Arrange from the main menu, and hover over Order.
- This brings up four options of how to move the element.
- “Send to back” places the element at the top of the reading order, making it first to be seen by a screen reader.
- “Send to front” places the element bottom of the reading order, making it last to be seen by a screen reader.
- “Send backward” moves the element higher in the reading order.
- “Bring forward” moves the element lower in the reading order.
- Use the Tab key to test the order again.
When you convert a Google Slides to another format, like a PDF, it is important to note that your document may not be fully accessible in the new format (even if the Google Slide is). If you convert your document to a PDF, be sure to review and revise that document in Adobe Acrobat Pro with its built-in accessibility checker (See Acrobat Pro tutorial).
- Article, “How to Make Your Presentations Accessible to All” from W3C
- Article, “Make your document or presentation accessible” from Google Support