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equality & diversityPresentationsTeaching

Closed captions on Powerpoint help everybody…

16 September 2022

On Tuesday, one of my students asked me to put closed captions on my Powerpoint presentation on Zoom. I said yes and the student advised that there would be a small “CC” button down at the bottom.

It was here:

Clip from Powerpoint slide showing the cc button.


and when I pressed the CC button, it turned red:

Clip from Powerpoint slide showing the cc button coloured red after pressing.


I spoke and it worked! And it worked really quite well with white text below the screen. I was pleased.

My slide with white text underneath from closed captioning "Talk to you about discrimination on placement"


Sadly, it didn’t work on my colleague’s computer and I couldn’t make it work on one of Cardiff University’s computers but hopefully we can change that.


I’ve been having a play and Powerpoint will do some translation too. You can set your language to English and your subtitles to Welsh:

Sample Welsh translated by Powerpoint: "Helo. Heddiw dwi'n mynd i siarad am anabledd"


This help page from Microsoft shows what’s possible in terms of languages.

My opinion is that we should all use closed captions if possible. The educational advice seems quite clear: Gernsbacher1 (2015) says “Video Captions Benefit Everyone” with a very inspiring quote:

Imagine a technique that can improve children’s reading skills (Linebarger, Piotrowski, & Greenwood, 2010), boost adolescents’ written and spoken vocabulary (Davey & Parkhill, 2012), increase college students’ attention to lectures (Steinfeld, 1998), enhance second-language learners’ pronunciation (Mitterer & McQueen, 2009), and raise literacy rates in developing countries (Kothari, Takeda, Joshi, & Pandey, 2002). The technique is simple: Display captions on videos.

This “technique” is available at the push of a single button. Let’s all use this button and facilitate closed captioning!

Here’s another Microsoft page about how to: “Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities” that feels important. A good step this week. Thanks to one of our medical students 🙂



Gernsbacher, MA (2015)”Video Captions Benefit Everyone” Policy Insights Behav Brain Sci. 2015 Oct; 2(1): 195–202. doi: 10.1177/2372732215602130