Accessible Tables

Always ensure tables are accessible for screen readers. Tables should only be used when presenting data. Tables should not be used to display a layout for content.  

General Recommendations

  • Include only data and each data has its own cell. 
  • Identify a header row or column. 
  • Use color (banded rows) and borders to assist learners with reviewing the data. 
  • Exclude merged cells when possible. 

What to Avoid

  • Blank rows and data cells for formatting. 
  • Comments or extraneous content in the table. 
  • Title within the table. 
  • Merged cells. 

Create an Accessible Table in Microsoft (Word, PowerPoint) 

  1. Open a Word document.  
  2. Insert a table. 
    • Click Insert on the ribbon, and then click Table.  course materials
    • Choose the number of rows and columns. 
  3. Select Header Row. 
    • Click Table Design on the ribbon. 
    • Check Header Row. 
  4. Select Banded Rows. 
    • Click Table Design on the ribbon. 
    • Check Banded Rows. 
    • Or, select a style with banded rows from Table Design on the ribbon. 

Header Row and Banded Rows.png

Table Styles

Create an Accessible Table in the Canvas Rich Content Editor (RCE) 

  1. Open the Rich Content Editor (RCE). 
  2. Click Table and select the number of rows and columns. 


  3. Click anywhere in the Table. 
  4. Provide a caption for the table. 
    • Click Table and open Table Properties.  
    • Check the box next to Show caption. 
    • Click Save. 
    • Type a caption for your table above the table. You may need to insert your cursor above the table.



  5. Select a Header Row (or Column). 
      • Click on the header row (or column) of the table. 
      • Click Table, Row (or column), and open Row (or column) Properties. 
      • Select Header for Row (or column) type. 
      • Click Save. 



Related Resources 

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