How to Make Accessible Excel Spreadsheets

Accessibility Principles

Give Descriptive File Name

Set Default Language

Make It Easy to Understand

Apply Structure

  • Include info about each sheet in cell A1.
  • Give sheets concise and unique names to differentiate.

Create Accessible Links

  • Provide link text that describes where the link goes and gives meaning out of context.
    • Avoid phrases like “click here,” “learn more” and “read more”.
  • Underline links for quick identification.
Adding Effective Link Text

Use Color Appropriately

Add Alternative Text to Images

Adding Effective Alt Text

Create Accessible Tables

  • Use a simple table structure. Avoid merging or splitting cells and using nested tables when possible.
  • Define header row for data tables.
  • Place tables on a separate sheet for simpler navigation.
  • Use cell styles to indicate row headings.
  • Give tables a meaningful name on the Table Tools Design tab
  • Video: Create accessible tables in Excel

Check Content

Screen Readers

Automated tools cannot verify all issues and should be combined with manual testing. Testing with a screen reader can help.

Tips and Techniques

  • Use accessible templates for Office.
  • Remove blank columns, rows and sheets.
  • Avoid blank cells. If you must have them, enter “no data.”
  • Create clear labels for columns and rows.
  • Do not use hidden columns and rows.
  • Provide links to other sheets when there are multiple sheets in the file.
  • Use text wrap or adjust the columns and rows manually.

Resources