• CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Logo

    The Premier AT Conference

Making PowerPoint Math Contents Accessible with Infty

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, digitized content is actively used globally in online/distance education. Many online educational materials for sighted students are produced with Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT). They are provided as lecture videos in MP4 or PDF. Otherwise, the PPT slides are displayed directly on a computer screen in real-time online lectures. Currently, Microsoft or other organizations give various methods to make PPT presentations accessible. Indeed, in terms of non-technical contents, we actually can produce accessible PPT contents at a certain level, based on those methods. However, as far as math contents are concerned, there is still a serious difficulty. In many cases, print-disabled students hardly access important elements such as math formulas, diagrams, and tables included in math educational materials created with PPT. In terms of the math part, embedding an alternative text (alt-text) is usually the only effective means to make it accessible. However, adding appropriate alt texts is not easy and requires extra time and effort. Furthermore, if the content were changed, some alt-texts should be revised, but all the corrections processes should be done manually. Another solution for that problem is to add audio (aloud reading) information to those PPT materials. You could add the explanation in a recorded voice to each slide and export the result to an MP4 video. However, this process should also require a lot of extra manual work. "ChattyInfty," which is our accessible math-document editor, has the function of reading out content including math formulas with a TTS (text-to-speech) voice. It also has the function of exporting a file in another accessible format such as multimedia DAISY, audio-embedded EPUB3, etc. "InftyReader," which is our OCR software for math, can recognize a document properly in print or PDF and convert the result into ChattyInfty document or other accessible formats. It is expected that they should be helpful to make PowerPoint math contents accessible; however, the collaboration of PowerPoint with Infty software has not yet been realized. We have recently developed a PowerPoint add-on by using VBA (Visual Basic for Application) to realize a systematic-processing mechanism for adding alt texts/aloud reading in PPT contents. Two new items appear in the PowerPoint ribbon menu by installing the add-on: "Add Recognized Result as" and "Add New Math Item." Using "Add Recognized Result as," you can select a math part in a PPT slide and paste it into ChattyInfty. InftyReader automatically recognizes its snapshot, and the result (in an editable form) is input in ChattyInfty. After correcting recognition errors (if necessary), the math formula is converted into either its word description (alt-text) or aloud reading with a TTS engine. You can add that alt text or aloud reading at the indicated position in the original Slide. "Add New Math Item" starts up ChattyInfty automatically. Suppose a math formula is not written yet in PPT. In that case, you may create the necessary formula directly in ChattyInfty (which is easily done intuitively) and insert it in the PPT slide. Otherwise, you may start with a PDF source. At first, convert it into a ChattyInfty form once with InftyReader OCR and then insert that formula into PPT together with alt text or aloud reading generated by ChattyInfty. By using this mechanism, teachers can easily make math parts in PPT slides accessible. Furthermore, ChattyInfty can read out math contents and convert that into an MP3 audio file. Suppose a lecture script was prepared in ChattyInfty. In that case, you could add the speech presentation generated by ChattyInfty to each slide and convert the entire PPT into an accessible MP4 video, in which all the content would be read out correctly with a TTS voice.  
  • Higher Education
  • Disability Specific
  • K-12 Education
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Many online educational materials for math are now produced with Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT). Our new add-on allows You to add easily alt-text/aloud reading by a TTS voice to any math part included in PPT slides. An accessible MP4 video for math education also can be produced efficiently.  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Education
  • Product Demonstration
  • Video & Live Streaming


  • Katsuhito Yamaguchi
    Nihon University
  • Toshihiko Komada
    Nihon University
  • Toshihiro Kanahori
    Tsukuba University of Technology

Back to Session List