Give Descriptive File Name
Set Default Language
- Set language preferences in Office. Mac mirrors the system’s settings.
Make It Easy to Understand
- Write content as clearly and simply as possible.
- Use plain language.
- Web Accessibility Content Guideline 3.1.5 Reading Level
- 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.
- Do not underline non-link text
- Steps to add link text
Adding Effective Link Text
Use Color Appropriately
- Use required color contrast between the background and text.
- Do not use color as the only method to convey meaning.
- Include an additional descriptive component such as text, patterns or shapes.
- Learn how to use color
Add Alternative Text to Images
- Provide alternative (alt) text to non-text objects that convey meaning
- Keep the ALT text short and concise (about 125 characters)
- If marking visuals as decorative is not an option, add “decorative” as the alt text
- Avoid images with text when possible. If necessary, add alt text.
Adding Effective Alt Text
- Everything you need to know to write effective alt text
- How to Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the visually impaired
- Video: Improve accessibility with 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
Automated tools cannot verify all issues and should be combined with manual testing. Testing with a screen reader can help.
- JAWS: Job Access With Speech (JAWS) is a commonly used robust screen reader for Windows and has a free demo mode.
- NVDA: NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is an open-source screen reader for Windows.
- VoiceOver: included with macOS and iOS.
- 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.