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Digital accessibility guide

Explore how to create, design and structure your content to ensure that is is accessible to your students.

Create accessible Excel Workbooks and Spreadsheets

Creating accessible Excel workbooks and spreadsheets will help users of assistive technology access and navigate the content included in Excel files. You can learn and implement simple but impactful good practice around accessibility to help unlock your content to everyone and maintain longevity of your files. 

Sheet tabs and data sets

How you use sheet tabs and data sets in your workbooks will play a bit part in how users of assistive technology will access and understand your content.  

Sheet tabs and data set tips: 

  • Give your sheets unique names to help users understand and navigate contents more easily. 
  • Remove blank sheets to reduce cognitive load. 
  • If you have multiple data sets to include in your workbook, split them into individual sheets to allow screen reader users navigate more easily from one set to the next. 

Tables in Excel

To add headers to a new table: 

  1. Select the cells you want to include in the table. 
  2. On the Insert tab, select Table. 
  3. In the Create Table dialog, select the My table has headers check box. Select OK. 
  4. Type descriptive names for each column in the table. 

My table has headers image

To specify the first column and header row in an existing table: 

  1. Place your cursor anywhere in your table. 
  2. Select the Design tab. In the Table Style Options group, select the First Column and Header Row check box. You will see the first column and header row added to your table. 
  3. In the table, type the first column content and column headings. 

Header and column table

To define named regions for cell ranges: 

  1. Select the range you want to name, including the row or column labels. 
  2. Select Formulas > Create from Selection. 
  3. In the Create Names from Selection dialog box, designate the location that contains the labels by selecting the Top row, Left column, Bottom row, or Right column check box. Select OK.

Create Names from Selection dialog box in Excel


Excel Tips [online], 2021. [online]. Accessibility at Penn State. Available from: [Accessed 24 Sep 2021].

Make your Excel documents accessible to people with disabilities [online], 2021. [online]. Microsoft Support. Available from: [Accessed 24 Sep 2021].