Tables need headers

Columns and rows need to be clearly identifiable as a header for a screen reader to differenciate between what is data and what is header information. 

Making table headers

  • Click on the table tool.

               table button location on toolbar

  • In the Table Properties dialog select the Headers drop down. There are three options to create headers: in the first row, the first column or both. Select the option that fits your data best.

The table properties dialog box with the Headers drop down

  • You will know that they are correctly marked as headers by the styling. For example, "Both" was selected so this table has both row headers (light gray background) and column headers (dark gray background.)

A table displaying column and row headers
(View of table in Edit mode)

Unseen edit mode text Column header Column header
A row header data data
A row header data data

The text in the white box above the row headers will only appear in Preview or Live site if any content is placed there.

Table Captions

If there is not already a descriptive title that introduces the data table, add a caption. The caption will appear before the table.

An example of a table with a caption

(View of table in Preview mode)

The optional summary field is for any details that may provide additional context of the table to a user of a non-visual device.

Learn more about tables