How to make Pie Charts Accessible in PowerPoint

This post will guide users through how to create an accessible pie chart in PowerPoint. Pie charts and bar graphs are inherently inaccessible when built within PowerPoint. There are additional steps that must be completed in order to make a pie chart accessible.

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Creating an accessible pie chart video overview

This video will provide a detailed walkthrough of how to make an accessible Pie Chart in PowerPoint.

An accessible pie chart includes the following elements:

  • Labels
  • Patterns
  • Do not rely on color alone
  • Alternate text
  • Data table is available

Example of accessible pie chart (image)

This image represents an accessible pie chart that includes labels and patterns.

This is an accessible pie chart which includes labels, patterns, and alternate text.

Add labels to a pie chart

There is no reason to hide or confuse data in a pie chart. Be specific and direct and add data labels to all data points in any chart!

  1. Right-click the pie chart
  2. Select Format Data levels
  3. Select the best options for the data labels
Right click the pie chart
Select Format Data levels
Select the best options for the data labels

Add patterns to a pie chart

Patterns are more accessible to a wider array of people with disabilities. Instead of relying on color alone (which is an accessibility failure) – use a pattern and a color.

  1. Right-click the Pie Chart
  2. Select Format Data Series
  3. Choose the appropriate pattern and color
Right click the Pie Chart
Select format Data Series
Choose the appropriate pattern and color

Add alternate text

  1. Right-click the entire chart object
  2. Select alternate text
  3. Enter a detailed alternate text

Right click the entire chart object
Select alternate text
Enter a detailed alternate text

Do you plan on converting the PowerPoint to another file type like PDF?

You might consider inserting the Pie Chart as a flattened image and providing alternate text instead. Screen readers can have difficulty reading the contents of a pie chart within the PPT itself.

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