This article describes the steps necessary for creating more accessible tables in Microsoft Word 2013.
Although tables help create aesthetically pleasing documents, they do not play nicely with screen readers and Braille displays so avoid tables when possible.
Consider the following simple example from Microsoft:
A screen reader will, in most cases, read out the information in this table as: attribute, cat, monkey, snake, fur, yes, yes, no, legs, 4, 2, 0.
This is not very helpful at all. It would be much better to list the information as shown below:
- Cat: fur, four legs
- Monkey: fur, two legs
- Snake: no fur, no legs
Below is an example of a more accessible table, which uses headers. Although this has little or no effect in a visual environment, a Braille or speech reader can use thinformation to tell the user if this heading is a row heading or column heading. This in turn will enable the user to make more sense of the rest of the table.
To make a more accessible table, add Alt Text and add a header row. Both processes are explained below.
Adding Alt Text
- Right-click anywhere in the table and choose Table Properties.
- Click the Alt Text tab and enter a title and description. Make the description as short and thorough as practical.
- Click OK to save the changes.
Adding Header Row Information
- Click anywhere in the table to select it.
- In the TABLE TOOLS tab, click the DESIGN tab.
- In the Table Style Options group, make sure that the Header Row check box is selected.
- Add the header information in the table.