Google Slides

There are many components that go into making an accessible Google Slides presentation.  Below are some of these components.

Choose an Accessible Template

Some of Google Slides built-in themes have low color contrast between text and background, and others have busy backgrounds. This may make the text difficult to read and navigate. For NC State University users, we recommend choosing an NC State Template from the template gallery.  These template have been created with accessibility in mind.

  1. Click on the Google Apps Option icon (grid symbol) to open the applications menu.
  2. Select Slides.The Google Apps Option Icon highlighted
  3. Click on TEMPLATE GALLERY.a screenshot of the button to open the Google Slides Template Gallery
  4. Select a template. For example, let’s select NC State Template Center 4×1.
    a screenshot of the Google Slides Template Gallery
  5. Once the template is open, you can start creating your presentation.

Use a Predefined Slide Layout

Using a predefined slide layout will help ensure that the slide has the correct heading structure, numbered and bulleted list styles, and reading order.

Step 1: Create a new slide

  1. From the menu, select Slide.
  2. Select New slide (Ctrl + M).

Screenshot of selecting the New Slide menu option under the Slide menu

Step 2: Change the layout of a slide

  1. From the menu, select Slide.
  2. Select Apply Layout.
  3. Choose a layout from the available options.
    screenshot of the slide layout options available within the Apply layout tab

Add Alternative Text to Images

  1. Right-click on each image.
  2. Choose Alt Text (Ctrl + Alt + Y).a screenshot of selecting the Alt Text option for an image
  3. In the Description field, type or paste appropriate alternative text.

an arrow pointing to the alt text description field

Check for Accessibility

Use the Grackle Slides Chrome Add-on to check for common accessibility issues in Google Slides.

Enable Live Automated Captions During Presentations

You can turn on automatic live captions to display the presenter’s words in real time at the bottom of the screen.

NOTE: This feature is currently available only in U.S. English and only when using Chrome on a computer.

  1. Set up your microphone
    1. Google Slides uses the computer’s microphone or an external microphone paired with the computer.
    2. Make sure your microphone is on and working.
      Devices and microphones vary, so check your computer manual for instructions. Microphone settings are typically in the System Preferences on a Mac or the Control Panel on a PC.
  2. Present with captions
    1. Make sure that you have a working internet connection.
    2. On your computer, open your presentation in Google Slides.
    3. To start presenting, click Present.Screenshot highlighting the Present button
  3. To turn on captions, click CC in the presentation’s navigation menu.the Captions button highlighted in the Presentation Menu
  4. As you speak, captions (without punctuation) will appear at the bottom of the screen.Google Slides with captions at the bottom of the slide
  5. To turn off captions, click CC once again.
    NOTE: Captions are not stored.

Tips for using captions

  • If you present slides over video conferencing software (such as Hangouts Meet), captions show up on the shared screen.
  • To set expectations for your audience, it’s a good idea to tell them that:
    • captions are from Google Slides, not the video conferencing software
    • only the presenter’s voice is captioned.
  • Some people find captions distracting, so you might want to ask your audience before turning on captions.
  • If your computer is inactive for 30 minutes, both captions and microphone turn off automatically.