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Create accessible content

Learn how to make your content accessible and why it is important

Use headers

Tools such as Microsoft Word allow you to identify that a table has headers.  This allows screen reading tools to better interpret the information within a table.

How to add headers

  1. Select the first row of the table.
  2. Right-click on the selected row.
  3. Select Table Properties > Row.
  4. Tick the “Repeat as header row at the top of each page” option
Fruit consumption by state
State Oranges Grapes Apples
Queensland 10 000 3500 8500
New South Wales 15 000 4500 9500
Victoria 14 000 2700 7600

The screen reader will read out the first-row headings along with the cell information. 

Merging cells

Avoid merging cells. A screen reader cannot properly interpret the order and structure of content following a merged cell. The screen reader maybe given the information in the wrong context. 

If there is some reason that you must use merged cells in a table, make sure the caption or alternate text describes the information fully. The alternative text section explains how to do this correctly.

More information on creating accessible tables.

Blank cells

Avoid excessive use of blank cells, rows or columns. Users of screen readers could misinterpret them as the end of the table.

Increase the height or width of cells instead.