Beginning Microsoft PowerPoint with JAWS

PowerPoint can be a challenging program to use with JAWS. If your intent is to read PowerPoint documents, I suggest you simply export the presentation to PDF.

Export to PDF

  1. Save the PowerPoint file on your computer. To be able to export to PDF, the PowerPoint needs to be saved locally on your computer first.
  2. Use Alt + F to open the File Menu.
  3. Use the up and down arrows to navigate the file menu to Export and then press space bar.
  4. Press space bar on Create PDF/ XPS Document tab.
  5. Press space bar on Create PDF/ XPS Document button.

Since PowerPoint is part of the Microsoft Office suite of applications, we’ll find similar layout and interface features as programs like Word and Excel.

Basic Controls

New Presentation Ctrl + N
Open Ctrl + O
Print Ctrl + P
Save Ctrl + S

Ribbon Controls

Move to Ribbon Alt
Move between Ribbon tabs Left and Right Arrow Keys
Move through Ribbon tab controls Tab and Shift + Tab


Move between interface sections (Upper Ribbon, Notes Page Pane, Slide Thumbnails Tab, Slide Area, and Status Bar Toolbar) F6 and Shift + F6

Slide Thumbnails Tab

Move through presentation slides Up and Down Arrow Keys
Create a new slide Enter
Move to current slide from Thumbnail Tab
Open context menu for slide Shift + F10 or Context Key

Changing Theme Layout

When you create a new slide, you might want to change the slide layout. You’ll do this by opening the contact menu on the slide thumbnail. Then select Layout from the menu. This will open the layout menu. Use tab to move through the different slide layout options. Press enter on the slide layout you’d like to apply.

Slide Area

Move through Objects on the slide Tab and Shift + Tab
Edit slide Object Enter
Delete slide Object Delete
Move to a different slide Page Up and Page Down
Move back to Slide Thumbnails Tab Escape

Slide Object

Open Font Menu Ctrl + Shift + F
Stop editing slide Object Escape
Bold Ctrl + B
Italacize Ctrl + I
Underline Ctrl + U
Copy Ctrl + C
Cut Ctrl + X
Paste Ctrl + V
Undo Ctrl + Z
Redo Ctrl + Y
Say Font Insert + F6

Adding Images to Slides

The process for inserting an image into a PowerPoint slide is very similar for inserting an image into Microsoft Word. However, there are some special considerations.

  1. Press Alt to move into the Ribbon.
  2. Switch to the Insert tab.
  3. Move through the Insert tab until you find the Images Group Box, Pictures… button.
  4. This will open the File Explorer Open dialog. Find the image you’d like to insert.

Adding an image to PowerPoint works best when you insert it into a slide with a picture placeholder. You’ll find slide themes with image placeholders in the theme options for the slide.

Need More Help?

JAWS has guides on using PowerPoint in JAWS Help. Simply use Insert + J to switch to the JAWS toolbar, then press F1 to open JAWS help. Now, press Alt + S to switch to the search tab and type in “powerpoint” then press enter to do the search. Use tab to move down to the returned Help guides, and use the up and down arrow keys to move through the different guides. Use F6 to move into the selected Help Guide.

Microsoft Support: Get Started Using a Screen Reader with a PowerPoint Presentation

Microsoft Support: Use Keyboard Shortcuts to Create Your Presentation

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