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Accessibility: Microsoft Excel






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Microsoft Excel

The Accessibility Basics and Guidelines page outlines some of the basic items to keep in mind when creating an accessible document. This page will talk about how to accomplish those basic items using Microsoft Excel.  Spreadsheets provide some special considerations and by nature are difficult documents to make fully accessible.  When possible, avoid sharing spreadsheets with patrons.  Best practice would be to export your spreadsheet to a PDF, then making the PDF accessible and sharing that with patrons.  When creating a PDF isn't possible, you can follow the steps below to help create a more accessible spreadsheet.


Microsoft Excel ribbon

Using the Home tab in the Ribbon, you can quickly select different font type, styles, size, and color.  Use the small gray arrow in the corner of the "Font" command group to open the Font Properties window for more options.  You can also do this by hitting "Ctrl + D" on your keyboard.  Remember not to use color alone to distinguish information.


table formatting

After you have created your table layout and entered your data, you can highlight your table, go to the Home tab in the ribbon, and click on "Format as Table".  Select a layout that works for your data.  This formatting helps a screen reader know what cells are headers and which cells contain data for the table.  When a screen reader comes to text in a header cell, it will say "Column Header" so the patron knows it's not data.

Charts and Images:

alternate text

When adding a chart or image to a spreadsheet, make sure to also add alternate text.  From the Format tab, click on "Alt Text".  The alternate text pane will open on the right, enter alternate text for an image as you would for any program.  For a chart or graph, explain what the chart or data shows; what percentage of a pie chart each section is or what's the total for each bar in a bar graph.

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