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Text Formatting


Headings are essential for accessible navigation. In PowerPoint, you should insert a slide title as a heading on each slide. You can read how to do this in Slide Titles.

Numbered and Bulleted Lists

You can find out how to create lists correctly under Numbered and Bulleted Lists.


If you want to create a new paragraph in your text box after entering a text, use the Enter key.

Note: Do not use the "Shift + Enter" key combination or the Tab key to create new paragraphs. The key combination "Shift + Enter" creates a manual line break within a paragraph. The text following a line break still belongs to the same paragraph and is also output as a continuous paragraph in the Logical Document Structure of your accessible PDF document.

Multi-Column Text

To create multiple columns within a text box: Select the text box and click on the Screenshot: 'Add or Remove Columns' button button (Add or Remove Columns) in the Paragraph function group on the Home tab.

Screenshot: In the 'Paragraph' function group, the menu for the 'Add and Remove Columns' button is expanded. The menu options are: 'One Column', 'Two Columns', 'Three Columns', and 'More Columns'. The 'More Columns' option is highlighted.

In the menu that opens, you can choose between one, two, or three columns, and the More Columns option. In the More Columns dialog box, you can enter the number of columns under Number and also define the Spacing between the columns.

Screenshot: 'Columns' dialog box with text fields for entering 'Number' and 'Spacing'.

Recommendation: The spacing between the columns should be at least 0.6 cm. You can also insert an additional vertical line between the columns to separate the columns visually.


Texts in PowerPoint presentations are usually short bullet points. This is why PowerPoint does not have automatic hyphenation. Avoid hyphenating words manually, as Assistive Technologies read manually entered hyphens.

No Support for Rotated Text

Unfortunately, there is a bug in Microsoft's PDF export that the text within rotated elements (such as text boxes and shapes) is not correctly transferred to the Logical Document Structure of the PDF document. As a result, axesSlide cannot currently support rotated text.

Although the rotated text is still visible on the slide, it cannot be read by Assistive Technologies. You should therefore avoid rotating elements with text.

Text in Rotated Shapes

If the element is a rotated shape with text, you can assign an alt text to the shape and also insert the text there. The shape is then exported as a figure with alternative text in the Logical Document Structure. You can find out how to do this in Add Alt Text or Mark Object as Decorative.

Recommendations for Text Formatting

We recommend the following settings to make your presentation and your PDF document not only technically but also visually as accessible as possible:

  • Font selection: Choose a sans serif font that is not too thick or too thin. For example: Arial, Calibri, or Helvetica.
  • Font size: Do not choose a font size that is too small. We recommend at least 18 pt. The font size depends on where your presentation is displayed (e.g. online or on site with a projector). If necessary, choose a larger font that is also easy to read from a distance.
  • Line spacing: Set a line spacing of at least 120%.
  • Text alignment: Align the text to the left.
  • Text highlighting: Use text highlighting such as italics, underlining, CAPITAL LETTERS and text effects sparingly and highlight at most individual terms within a paragraph. Exception: We recommend underlining links so that they are immediately recognizable as links.
  • Colors and contrast: Ensure a good color contrast between the text and the background. You can find the exact guidelines in Color and Contrast.

Important: Do not convey important information in the text solely through visual highlighting. Take, for example, the following exercise: "Explain the three underlined terms in the text." People who cannot see the underlining will not be able to complete this exercise. It would be better to list the three underlined terms again, for example: "Explain the three underlined terms in the text (tolerance, democracy, freedom)."