United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Section 508 Support Office

Creating Accessible Documents with Microsoft PowerPoint 2010





Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires Federal agencies to make electronic and information technology (E&IT) accessible to users with disabilities, including those with:

  • Blindness, color blindness, visual impairment
  • Deafness, hearing impairment
  • Speech impairment
  • Mobility, strength, dexterity or reach impairment

The law includes standards for software applications, operating systems (OS), web-based applications, multimedia and documentation. These standards apply to files made available in PowerPoint documents. With Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, a user can customize the ribbon adding frequently used commands to a tab or group. PowerPoint 2010 enables protected view that prevents files from potentially unsafe locations by disabling editing functions.

Individuals involved in the design, distribution and use of documents are responsible for ensuring that those documents comply with Section 508, but it may not always be clear how to accomplish that. These tutorials will review the features of PowerPoint 2010 that can improve the accessibility of a document and provide the steps for using those features.


The goal of these tutorials is to enable VA personnel to produce and distribute accessible PowerPoint documents by using the principles of accessibility that will ensure materials are Section 508-compliant; regardless of whether the documents are used for official communication, eLearning course content components or other purposes.

These tutorials reference commercial products likely to be familiar to those taking the course. References to commercial product functionality and providers are included to illustrate application of techniques described, and not intended as either endorsements or critiques of specific providers or products. These tutorials specifically describe steps for using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, but the concepts found in these tutorials can and should be applied to all brand and document types.

How to Use These Tutorials

The tutorials are designed so you can navigate through them using the Next and Previous arrow links located at the top and bottom of each page; or, you may jump to a topic of particular interest using the links in the left-hand navigation sidebar.  The entire set of tutorials may be printed by selecting the link at the bottom of the sidebar.

Several of the tutorials include videos which provide additional information and examples.  To play a video, select its link in the navigation bar. Wait for the video to load and then press the Play button. 

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