Create Accessible Tables

By Diane Brauner, Posted on Paths to TechnologyOpens in new window

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1. In Word, in the top menu ribbob, select Insert, then select Table

2. Select the number of rows and columns by highlighting the boxes on the grid.

table selection in Microsoft Word

3. Type in the table data

4. Title your table using the caption tool.

  • In the ribbibm select References, then select Insert Caption.
  • In the popup window, type the title of the table in the Caption textbox.
  • In the Lable textbox, select Table. Then select OK.

how to title your table in Microsoft Word

5. Identify the Header Row.

  • Select the top row of the table and right click.
  • Choose Table Properties.
  • In the popup window, select the Row Tab and check “Repeat as header row at the top of each page.” Then select OK.

how to identify header rows in microsoft word

6. Restrict the table to your page width.

  • Select the entire table and right click.
  • Choose Table Properties.
  • In the popup window, select the Row tab and uncheck “Allow rows to break across pages.”

how to restric table to your page width in microsoft word

7. Add Bookmark

  • Place cursor inside the first cell (A1).
  • In the ribbon, select the Insert tab, then select Bookmark.
  • In the Bookmark name textbox, type “Title” then the name of your table. Use underscores instead of spaces.

how to add bookmark

8. Add Alt Tag description to table.

  • Right click on the Table and select Table Properties.
  • In the popup window, select Alt Text.
  • Type in the title (if not already entered) and a description of your table.

how to add alt tags wo tables

9. Use the Word Accessibility Checker to check for accessibility.

  • In the Ribbon, select the Review Tab, then select Check Accessibility.
  • The Accessibility Checker will appear on the right side of the screen with the inspection results. If there are accessibility issues, the errors will be listed.

how to use the word accessibility checker in microsoft word

10. Things you should NOT do:

  • Do not create your table using the Draw Table Tool.
  • Do not create page layouts with tables.
  • Do not merge or split cells.
  • Do not control spacing in your table with blank rows or columns. Adjust line spacing instead.

Bonus note:

If you include images in your table, or anywhere else in your document, right click each image and select Edit Alt Text.

The Alt Text box appears on the right side of the screen. Type in a brief description of the image. These descriptions benefit those with sight limitations who rely on an assistive computer voice to read the alt text. Keep the descriptions brief and use common words to the extent possible (proper nouns when necessary). Examples: photo of the United States President; clip art of a talking eggplant; figure of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs; image of a Bunsen burner; graph of declining revenue; cartoon of a bagpiper playing a cat and saying, “So far, no one has noticed.”