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Creating Accessible Learning: File Saving

Why It Matters

Saving a PowerPoint file is more than just hitting Ctrl + S on your keyboard. Using a sufficiently descriptive file name and associated metadata is a good practice that helps everyone locate and use PowerPoint files. Not only does this practice help those who may be relying on assistive technology to find and use files, but it also simplifies file searching and use with those without disabilities.

Accessibility Guideline: File Naming & Metadata

There are a couple of best practices to follow when saving PowerPoint files in order to make the files more accessible: Create a descriptive file name and add associated metadata.

Using a descriptive file name helps everyone, and especially those with disabilities, find and use your PowerPoint file.

Additionally, PowerPoint allows us to add metadata to our files that also aid in file searching and use.

  1. Save your PPT file by clicking File, then Save As, then Browse. This will open the file saving window.
  2. In the “File name” field, enter a filename that is concise but descriptive. Here are some file saving tips:
    • To limit length, avoid articles such as “a” and “the.”
    • Don’t use spaces. Instead, use either the underscore symbol ( _ ) or a hyphen ( - ).
    • If you don’t use underscores or hyphens to separate words, use camel case. Camel case is when there are no spaces between words, but each new word starts with an uppercase letter. Example: ThisIsCamelCase
    • Avoid long file names! There is a character limit.
  3. In the “Save as type” field, ensure that you’ve selected “PowerPoint Presentation (*.pptx).”
  4. Click “Save.”
  1. With your PPT file open, click “File.” Under the “Info” tab, locate the “Properties” section on the right side of the screen.
  2. Click “Show All Properties” to see all metadata fields available.
  3. Fill out each field accordingly, being sure to fill out the “Title” field and the “Author” field. (Note: You can add more than one author).

The shortened list of metadata fields are shown.

Accessibility Guideline: Saving PPT as PDF

The easiest way to create accessible PDFs is by properly saving accessibly-designed original files. In this case, you can create an accessible PDF from an accessible PowerPoint slide deck by taking steps to properly export the PPT as a PDF.  

To ensure the accessibility you’ve built into your PPT transfers to the PDF, you’ll use the “Acrobat” tab in PPT to create the PDF (see Figure 1).

The Acrobat tab is displayed. The drop down menu for "Create PDF and Run Action" is open and a purple arrow is pointing to the first option, "Make Accessible."
Figure 1

To save your PPT file as an accessible PDF, do the following:

  1. Open your PPT file and navigate to the “Acrobat” tab.
  2. Check PDF export preferences by clicking on the “Preferences” option. At a minimum, make sure the box is checked for “Enable Accessibility and Reflow with tagged Adobe PDF.” It is also helpful to check “Create Bookmarks,” “Add links,” and “Convert Multimedia.” Click “OK” (see Figure 2).
  3. Click the drop-down for “Create PDF and Run Action.” Select “Make Accessible” (see Figure 1 on How-To tab).
  4. Save the file in your preferred location. Click “Save."
The Preferences window is displayed. The items mentioned in bullet number 2 are shown with a check mark next to them.
Figure 2