Creating Excel workbooks and and charts with accessibility in mind allows for content that is accessible to all users and more readily understandable to those using assistive technology such as screen readers. Use the following tips and best practices to make Excel documents as accessible as possible.
The most important practice to ensure accessibility is to use a simple table structure with specific column header information. Screen readers keep track of their location in a table through the counting of table cells and will run into problems if there are split or merged cells, or if a table is nested within another table. Blank cells are also problematic because they may cause a screen reader to think a table is empty beyond that point. Header information is used to identify rows and columns for the user and gives a clear way to understand the relationship of the information in the table.
Using headers allows those using screen readers to navigate content more easily and to discern the significance of that content.
Screen readers use sheet names to give the user information about what is found on each worksheet as a way to provide navigation and understanding of the content of the sheet. To assist in this navigation, give all sheet tabs unique names and remove blank sheets.
Alt text is a way to provide those using screen readers information about visuals, tables, etc. that they may not be able to access visually. Alt text is a brief description of the content of the visual, table, etc. that is read to the user.
The following steps provide instruction for adding alt text to images, graphs, SmartArt and PivotCharts:
The following steps provide instruction for adding alt text to tables:
Steps for using the Accessibility Checker are the same as for Word Documents.