How to Make Accessible Spreadsheets

Accessibility Principles

Apply the following accessibility principles to make spreadsheets more accessible and improve the usability for all users.

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.
Write effective link text
Use Color Appropriately
Add Alternative Text to Images
Write effective alternative 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

Get Started

Use the following resources to apply accessibility principles in the different applications (or authoring tools).

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.

Check Accessibility

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.