Create Accessible Google Slides

These are steps to use the Grackle Accessibility Checker to create accessible documents in the Google Workspace. Grackle is a third-party service that scans your Google Docs/Slides/Sheets for accessibility issues and guides you through the remediation process.

The Grackle Accessibility Checker is are currently available for users with google accounts with g.harvard.edu or fas.harvard.edu email addresses.

For users without access to Grackle, the steps below may still be used to create an accessible document. The only difference is you will not be able to use the automated check feature. For any questions, contact digitalaccessibility@harvard.edu.

1. OPEN THE ACCESSIBILITY CHECKER

playful robot icon.

HOW TO OPEN

  • Grackle: Grackle is an Accessibility Checker just for Google.
  • Availability:  It is currently available for users with google accounts with g.harvard.edu or fas.harvard.edu email addresses.
  • Open: Navigate to the  the Add-ons menu, then select Grackle Docs or Grackle Slides. If prompted,re-login to Google.
  • Checking: A sidebar will open up that will identify accessibility errors and warnings as you add content to your document.

2. APPLY ACCESSIBILITY PRINCIPLES

Pencil drafting text and images.

METADATA

  • Title and Author: Add the title and author to a file’s metadata or document properties.
  • Language: Identify the language of the document.

TEXT

  • Align: Use horizontal and left aligned text to allow users to easily identify new lines.
  • Spacing: Set to 1.5 line spacing or more.
  • Font: Use a sans serif font, select size 11pt or greater for documents and size 18 or greater for slides

SLIDE TITLES

  • Unique: Each slide should have a unique title. For slides that may be on the same topic, try something like Goals 1 of 3, Goals 2 of 3, Goals 3 of 3
  • Why: Slide titles provide an outline and improve navigation making your document more accessible

LINKS

  • Descriptive: Write link text so that it is unique, descriptive, and clear about where the link goes.
  • Sharing Docs for Printing:  Consider including both a descriptive link and the full link text.
  • For example: Harvard College Admissions (college.harvard.edu/admissions)
  • Guidance: How to Write Helpful Links

COLOR CONTRAST

  • Color: Choose font color that has a high degree of contrast against the background color.
  • Standard: For web content, the standard is 4.5:1 for most text.
  • Avoid: Light text on light backgrounds and dark text on dark backgrounds

ALT TEXT for IMAGES

  • Why: add alternative text for all non-decorative images to convey the equivalent information of the visual.
  • How: Right-click on images to bring up the menu to "Edit Image" or "Add Alt Text"
  • Meaningful: It should convey the “why” of the image as it relates to document content.
  • Short: Keep it short and descriptive, like a tweet. Don’t include “image of” or “photo of”.
  • Guidance: See Alt Text Examples

3. MANUALLY REVIEW YOUR DOCUMENT

Magnifying Glass.

LISTS

  • Read: Browse your document to see if any paragraphs would be easier to read as a list.
  • Apply: Use the Pargraph Panel to select a bullet or numbered list
  • Why: Lists make content easier to read by providing visual structure and highlighting key points.

COLOR FOR MEANING

  • Avoid: using color alone to convey meaning.
  • Why: Your message may be missed or misunderstood by individuals who can't see color.
  • Instead:  Use color along with a secondary element, (such as shape or text differences) to ensure the meaning can be understood without the use of color.

REVIEW

  • Review: any remaining accessibility issues identified by the accessibility checker.
  • Check: Tab or click each through your document to double-check that content is still being read in a logical reading order.
  • Metadata: Verify that Metadata (Title, Author, Language) have been added.

OFFICE HOURS

Want to check your accessible document with DAS? Stop by one of our upcoming Office Hours! We hold open office hours in a Zoom meeting room on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month from 10am-12pm. Upcoming DAS Office Hours ➜