Outline View and Textboxes in PowerPoint

Content should appear in the outline view. Sometimes using textboxes can interfere with accessibility, so only use them if they are a part of your accessible slide design theme.

Outline view and textboxes in PowerPoint Video Walkthrough

In order for content to be the most accessible to people who use screen readers it is recommended that all content appears in the outline view of PowerPoint. The outline view shows a text-based version of the content with your file.

Additionally, the outline view offers a snapshot of all of the major content types in your presentation. It is an excellent method for organizing and chunking your information. It is also a great way to create a quickly accessible version for people with disabilities!

To view the outline view

  1. Select View
  2. Select Outline view
  3. Review titles and content to ensure all content from slide is located in outline view
Select View
Select Outline view
Review titles and content to ensure all content from slide is located in outline view.
Outline View and Textboxes in PowerPoint

Avoid using added text boxes

The textbox feature will allow you to add extra content to a slide but it might not be accessible and it will not appear in Outline View properly. Additionally, it will cause extra problems when adjusting the reading and arrange order.

How do I ensure my content is in outline view?

This is purely based on using a theme and a slide template.

  1. On the home ribbon, select Layout
  2. Select the template you would like use
Outline View and Textboxes in PowerPoint

The last step of this process is to actually use the content boxes to place your content. Do not add additional text boxes in this step. Simply click into one of the content boxes to add the desired information. Using a template will not only add all content to the outline view, but it will also be in the correct reading order!

Additional Information

Edit the slide master theme in order to develop custom templates and ensure all the content is in order and available in the outline view.

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Using a theme in PowerPoint

This post will walk users through how to apply a theme to a PowerPoint for accessibility purposes.

A theme is the easiest method for applying accessibility to a PowerPoint. A theme allows for quick and easy access to predefined accessibility elements using slide design.

Any element that is entered into the slide design theme boxes will be much more accessible. If you enter content without using the theme or slide design; it will need to be edited to ensure that it is accessible with assistive technology.

Apply a theme in PowerPoint Video Overview

This video will walk participants through how to apply a theme to an existing PowerPoint presentation. View time is 4 minutes and 36 seconds.

Creating a new PowerPoint

Microsoft created a handful of accessible powerpoint templates that are available for free! Start with one of these templates are simply search the templates for “accessible” when creating a new presentation.

How to apply a theme to an already-created PowerPoint

This method is ideal if you already have a PowerPoint created and are looking to make it more accessible.

  1. Select the Design button
  2. Choose an appropriate theme
Step 1: Select Design. step 2: Select a theme

Ensure you are adding content to the slide design theme

Once you have a theme selected you can verify with a couple of methods.

  1. Select the Home Tab
  2. Select the Layout Dropdown menu
  3. Choose the appropriate slide layout

This will change the current slide selected to the predefined slide layout.

Editing the slide itself

Once you have selected a template you can verify if it is the right type based on what you need to enter. In the image below, we have a few different options of what we can add and they include a title and two text boxes underneath it.

Sample theme slide from the slide deck

Other slide design templates allow for the insertion of tables, images, charts, and other information. If we add anything with the insert feature like an additional textbox, we are setting ourselves up for problems with the reading order, arrange order, and outline view. Make sure you stick to using the theme!

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