How to create a PowerPoint presentation with NVDA

When you open up PowerPoint it will automatically go to the first slide. This will open in slide view and this will be spoken out by NVDA. In the first slide, if you tab, you will hear the following: Subtitle placeholder and Centre Title placeholder.

If you press the Enter key on either of these options, an editable box will come up. Here, type in your text. When finished, press the Escape key, then tab to the next item and repeat the process (as in the first option given). Make sure after you have typed in your text to press the Escape key. Next, if you use the Tab key you will hear what is written in each section. You may also wish to add other items such as links, pictures or sounds etcetera to your presentation.

Adding extra slides

When you have finished creating your first slide, in most cases you will want to add extra slides to the presentation. To add another slide as you go use the New Slide (Ctrl + M) shortcut. When a new slide is added you will hear NVDA say slide 2 slide view.

This time when you use the Tab key you will hear NVDA say Title placeholder and Object placeholder. Repeat the steps as were done in slide one.

You will notice as you add extra slides NVDA will say the number of the slide.

To go between slides you have created

As you create your presentation the more slides you add you will hear the number of the slides go from number one to the number where you have finished your last slide (for example slide 20).

You can use the page up key to take you back through your presentation until you arrive back at slide one. If you use the page down key, you can go forwards through the presentation back to your last slide (for example slide 20). You might hear NVDA also say slide show complete.

To get quickly to the start of your PowerPoint presentation or to the end of it

To quickly get back to your first slide you can use the Home key. This will take you to the very first slide you created and you should hear the contents of the slide read out.  

To quickly get to the very last slide of your presentation you can use the End key. You should hear the name of the very last slide read out and its contents.

Using the F6 key to go between Windows

If you go back to your very first slide, then start pushing the F6 key, you will hear NVDA say the following: slide one slide view. Press the F6 key again and you will hear NVDA say status bar, ribbon tab home. Press the F6 key again and you will hear NVDA say slide one notes page multiline. Press the F6 key again and you will hear NVDA say thumbnail one of however many slides you have created. Press the F6 key again and you will be back to where you started.

Adding notes to your slides

If you would like to add a note to your presentation (on the slide that you are on), when you hear NVDA say slide notes page - type your note in here.

When you hear NVDA say thumb nails number one of whatever is your last slide, you can use your down and up arrow keys to go between each slide.

Watching the PowerPoint presentation you have created

To start your slide show, press the F5 key. This will start your PowerPoint presentation at the beginning of the PowerPoint you have created.

You can then either use the Enter key or the Spacebar to go to the next slide (from start to finish) of your PowerPoint. NVDA will read the slides from top to bottom. You will hear when your slide show is finished with NVDA saying PowerPoint complete at the end of the slide show.

The PowerPoint presentation can also be automated, so it changes slides at set intervals between slides. You may have to play around with the timing so the slide is not quicker than NVDA reading out the slide. To have a set interval between each slide that is the same use Alt + the letter K, then the letter I. When you hear the following read out this is the time between each slide 00:00.00. You can use the up and down arrow keys to adjust the time between each slide.  These will all be set to the same length of time you specified (for example 10 seconds) before it goes to the next slide.

Inserting a picture into your PowerPoint presentation

Whenever you insert pictures, graphs, etcetera into your PowerPoint presentation, please also add Alt text to the graphics in the slide at the same time. This way, when the screen reader comes to the picture, it will read out the Alt text in the graphic. This helps a blind or visually impaired student know what that picture/graphic is about. Alt text refers to alternate text.

To insert a picture into your slide show (on the current slide), press the Alt key + the letter N. Next, press the letter P, then the Enter key. A dialogue box will come up. You can tab and shift tab around it to locate your photo. In this area it will ask you what type of photo you want to insert (as in the format of the photo) and give you the option to find it on your computer or portable media. When you have located your picture, press the Enter key on it and that picture will be inserted into the slide show.

Next, use the application key and you will be given a selection of menus to arrow through. Arrow to the format picture menu, then press the Enter key. When the next screen comes up, you will be given quite a few options and might hear NVDA say Picture Corrections List. You will need to locate the Alt text menu. This might be a matter of arrowing right or left to get to the tab. You can also tab through the different sections there under the different menus.

Under the Alt text section, when you first tab, it will give you the option to give the picture a title. Enter in whatever you want to in this section (for example Dog playing in the snow). The next time you tab, it will let you put in a description about the photo (for example our house all covered in snow with the dog playing in the snow and children chucking snow balls at each other). Next, tab down to the close button then press the Enter key. Now, the Alt text is inserted into the photo you put into the PowerPoint presentation.

You will hear content placeholder when the alternative text in the picture is read out.

Switching between the slide and its accompanying notes

If you would like to switch between the slide and any accompanying notes (if any) you can use the following shortcut. Press Control + Shift + S to switch back and forth between the slide and its accompanying notes.

You must be watching your slide show to do this on each slide.

Adding notes to your presentation

When you are putting together your slide show presentation, there are a couple of ways you can get to the notes section. One is to use the F6 key until you hear NVDA say notes page. Here, enter in your notes, then use the F6 key to cycle you back to slide view.

The second way is to use a shortcut. The shortcut key to get to this section quickly is Alt + R, then C.  Now, type in your comment, and make sure the comment lines up with the slide.

Editing or reviewing each slide

When you are in slide view you can arrow down and up this section to each slide you have created. Locate the slide you want to edit then tab once until you hear NVDA say Centre Title placeholder. Next press the Enter key then an editable dialogue box will come up with whatever you had written in this section before. Make your changes, and press the Escape key. Now it will be updated with the new information you have edited or replaced.

Tab once more until you hear NVDA say Subtitle placeholder, then press the Enter key. Make your changes then press the Escape key and the new information will be updated.

Inserting a hyperlink into your Power Point presentation

From time to time you might want to put a hyperlink into your PowerPoint presentation (that might point to a resource on the internet).

To add a hyperlink into your presentation, work out where in the text you would like the hyperlink to be. For example, to visit the NVAccess website please go to and put your hyper link in here.

When you have found the right spot for the hyperlink to go on your slide, press the application key on your keyboard. When a context menu comes up, arrow until you hear NVDA say the menu that says hyperlink, then press the Enter key. It will ask you to put in the hyperlink address for example Once done, tab to the ok button. Then press the Enter key. Now, your hyperlink will be in the slide where you put it.

The shortcut key to insert a hyperlink is Alt + N, then I. This will give you a whole heap of extra options such as (under the Hyperlink section)... Create a link to a Web page, a picture, an e-mail address, or a program.

It is a matter of tabbing through the sections given and adding the parts that you would like to put into your Power Point presentation.

Inserting a table into your slide

To insert a table into your slide, locate where you want it in your slide to be shown.

Next, press the Alt key + the letter N, then the letter T for table and press the Enter key. This is the shortcut key to insert a table into your slide.

You will now be given some options which you can tab through. There are plenty of options to choose from (going from 1x1 Table onwards). You can also use the Shift/Tab key to go back through the options given. If any of the other options suit you, press the Enter key on it.

Find the size of the table you want to put into the slide show then press the Enter key. Your table will now be inserted into your slide.

Turning on the reporting of tables when editing a table

Make sure you have the report tables check box checked under the document formatting section in NVDA; otherwise, you will have no idea of where you are in the table. To do this, use the NVDA key + the Ctrl key + the letter D to quickly get to the document formatting dialogue section within NVDA.

Putting in a customized sized table

There may be times when you want to put in a certain sized table (for example a 3 column by 2 row table).

To do a customized sized table (when you first go into the screen where it gives you a whole lot of options), you will hear NVDA say 1 times 1 table. Shift/tab a couple of times until you hear NVDA say insert table, then press the Enter key. Here you will be able to enter a custom number for your column and a custom number for your rows. Next, tab down to the ok button then press the Enter key, and your new table will be inserted into the PowerPoint slide.

If for any reason you are unsure where NVDA is focused, you can use the NVDA key + the Tab key so NVDA speaks the focused position.

Entering information into your table

You can now tab through the table you have inserted and enter your information into it.

The applications key can be used while in the table to give you other options. These include options such as: insert rows both above and below or insert columns both to the left or right; delete rows and delete columns; merge cells; split cells and select table.

After you have finished inserting information into your table, press the Escape key. You will need to go back to slide view and then play your PowerPoint presentation. You will now hear stuff read out to you from your table. Make sure you note (when entering information into your table) where each tab will take you.

Creating accessible PowerPoint presentations - Office Support

If you would like to know more about how to create an accessible PowerPoint presentation, you may find the following link from Microsoft useful

Shortcuts you may find useful

Please go to the following link to get shortcuts for PowerPoint 2010/2013, Office etcetera.