Accessible Tables in Word/PowerPoint

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How to make Tables Accessible?

Making tables accessible requires a couple things:

  • Keep it simple! Complex tables are a pain to make accessible, so if your table is starting to look like a table inside a table, consider making it into smaller separate tables.
  • Tables are for data, not layout! Tables should only be for data, such as a schedule of assignments, grade scale, and other types. Use alignment or true columns for layout in Word.
  • Make sure your table has a clear structure and appropriate table headers! Table headers look like the top row of the example table on this page, and requires special coding. You can do it in Word easily, check out the Video Overview!
  • Add alt text to your table. You can actually add alt text to your tables by right clicking on the table, selecting Table Properties, and then selecting the Alt Text tab. Your alt text should just explain the purpose of the table, I.E. the example table on this page would have an alt text stating, “Schedule of assignments and due dates for the course”.

Example Table

Assignment Due Date
Exam #1 January 17, 2016

Video Overview

The following video from the Texas Governor’s Committee on Persons with Disabilities, discusses about making accessible tables in Word (these techniques apply to PowerPoint as well):

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