Tables - Accessibility


Tables - Accessibility

For all Blackboard shells, as well as online courses, reasonable accommodations must be made to web content (not only face-to-face instruction) to maximize student accessibility in your course and comply with federal ADA requirements. 

Instructors bear the responsibility of ensuring subsequent changes to approved courses continue to meet these and other DEC and ADA standards. Contact IT and/or Disability Services for assistance.

Below are items you must check to ensure all Tables in your course are accessible.

Provide textual summaries of data tables above the table and make certain “Header Row” is checked in Table Tools to identify headers. 

Sample table highlighting the title and header row.

Avoid use complex tables with split cells (like this one) when possible. Do not use Tabs to create columns and tables; this will not read correctly with screenreaders.

Example of a table with split columns



 Do not use Tabs to create columns or tables. They will not be read correctly by assistive technolgy.

Using the tab key will create a table like the one below. Word/PowerPoint 2016, Office 365 and Blackboard. 

example of a table created with the tab key

Office 2016 - insert a table

  • Ensure that the header row is checked.
  • Click into the table and then click on the Table Design tab.
  • Make sure the checkbox is checked next to Header as shown here.

Table Design tab






  • E nsure that the header row appears at the top of each page.
  • Right-click on the table and select T able Properties as shown here.

  • Ensure that header row appears at the top of each page.
  • Click on the Row tab, click the checkbox next to Repeat header row at the top of each page and click OK .

Table properties window showing the Row tab

  • Ensure the table has a title and summary.
  • Right-click on the tab, select Table Properties then click on the Alt Text tab and enter the table title and summary and click OK.

Table properties - Alt Text












Office 365 - inserting a table 

  • To ensure that the header row is checked, click into the table and then click on the Table Design tab.
  • Make sure Header Row is highlighted.

Header row selected


Ensure that header row appears at the top of each page. This step must be done in Word 2016.

  • Ensure the table has a title and description.
  • Click into the table
  • Click on the Layout tab under Table Tools.

Alt text - Office 365

  • Click on Alt Text and enter the table title and description and click OK.

Blackboard - inserting a table

Avoid using tables in Blackboard for alter the layout of your page. Tables should only be used for data purposes. If you use tables to alter the layout of your page,  screenreaders will have a more difficult time presenting clear information to students.

  • Blackboard allows you to create a table within a text/description box when adding content items, discussion boards, etc.
  • Click the table button in the text box to create a table.

Insert Table button in Blackboard textbox

  • After you click the table button, a popup window will appear that allows you to customize the table. 
  • From the General tab, click the box to the right of Table Caption. This will give you an area above the table to type the title.

Table Caption checkbox - allows for a title at the top of the table

  • Next click on the Advanced tab and enter an ID and Summary for the table.
  • The ID is similar to the Alt Text for the table and the Summary is a description of the table.
  • Click Update .

Blackboard Advanced Table options

Posted - Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 12:59 PM. This article has been viewed 7278 times.
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