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Accessibility Guide for Digital Content

Creating accessible content is not just for students with disabilities but benefits all learners. Learn how to design course content or documents to be accessible.


The main idea

Whether used for data or layout, tables need a simple cell format and appropriate markup.

What's important?
Designating row and/or column headers will help people using assistive technology understand the table contents. Sometimes, the platform you are using will refer to header cells, with the scope set for rows or columns.
Table with designated header row
Flattened tables—without merged cells spanning multiple columns or rows—are best for clarity.
Complex table that is inaccessible vs a simple table
Proportional sizing, rather than set pixel width or height, helps users expand tables for better viewing no matter what device they are using.
Table properties with the width set to a percentage
A caption, or title, gives the table context.
Table with caption

Tool Tips

Canvas Tool Tip

Using the Tables menu in the Rich Content Editor will allow you to set up the various properties needed, as mentioned above. 

Tables menu with Row Properties selected

A table in Canvas with the Cell Properties menu showing; text illustrates which are the header columns and the header rows

See Insert a table using the Rich Content Editor (Canvas) for an illustrated guide and/or the following:

Create Accessible Tables - A webpage of Canvas tips from Penn State University


Microsoft Office Tool Tip

With the entire table selected, using the Design tab of the Table Tools will allow you to set a Header Row and Header Column.

‚ÄčTable in Microsoft Word with Table Tools Design tab showing Header Rows and First Column selections

With the entire table selected, right-clicking will bring up a menu that allows you to Insert a Caption.

Table in Microsoft Word with the Caption dialogue box

See Create Accessible Tables in Word for a tutorial and/or the following resource:

Creating Accessible Tables - A video (3:21 minutes) by NC State IT Accessibility