Apply the following accessibility principles to make spreadsheets more accessible and improve the usability for all users.
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.
- 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
Write effective link text
Use Color Appropriately
- Ensure the contrast ratio between text color and the background color is at least 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text.
- Avoid gold on white: Accessible Text & Color.
- Learn more about WCAG Success Criterion 1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum) AA.
- Go to Check Accessibility for a list of color checkers.
- 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.
Write effective alternative text
- Everything you need to know to write effective alt text
- How to Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the visually impaired
- Making Images Accessible
- 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
Use the following resources to apply accessibility principles in the different applications (or authoring tools).
- Make your Excel documents accessible
- Spreadsheets Tutorial
- Video: Start with an accessible Excel template
- Video: Create more accessible charts in Excel
- Make your Google Sheets more accessible
- 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.
When an application (or authoring tool) allows for user-generated content, content authors must create digital information accessible to people with disabilities. As you design, develop, or create digital content, there are a few ways to check accessibility.
- Go to Check Accessibility to get started.