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Queen's University

Web Standards and Accessibility Guide

PowerPoint presentations (and other Office Suite documents)

A number of "Office Suite" application have emerged which group word processing tools, spreadsheet functions, database creation, etc. under a "bundled" installation. Names such as Microsoft Office, Corel Word Perfect/Quattro Pro, and Sun Microsystems' Open Office are both commonplace and in widespread usage today. All applications of this nature are covered by the following standard:

Standard: Proprietary formats must not be used as the sole document delivery format. They may be included as supplements, but an HTML version must be the primary format.

Placing slideshow and other presentations online can be useful, especially in an academic setting and if the situation is such that you know that your end users are able to view them. Documents created with PowerPoint and other Office Suite programs, however, are in a proprietary format that don't necessarily work consistently and aren't always available across platforms.

Open format alternatives can allow for greater accessibility on web sites; for example, rather than posting Word or WordPerfect Documents, it is preferable to post Rich Text Format (RTF) documents. Spreadsheet data should be posted as comma separated value (CSV) files for greatest compatibility with Office Suite applications on any platform. All of the major Office Suite programs can save their content in these formats. Refer to the user manuals/guides for specific details.

Office Suite document formats saved as HTML versions may still contain proprietary code elements (Microsoft Word in particular is notorious for this). These documents should be "cleaned up" to ensure that the final HTML is both semantically correct and compliant to the W3C Standard. Open Source tools such as "Tidy" are freely available to aid in this process.


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