Use a screen reader to insert a table in Word

Screen reader content Screen reader content

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Microsoft Support home.

Use Word with your keyboard and a screen reader to add a table to your document. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll also learn how to expand your table by adding new rows or columns and format your table with the built-in table styles.

Notes: 

In this topic

Insert a table by specifying dimensions

You can specify the dimensions of a table, such as the number of columns and rows, and their height and width. Word will insert a basic grid-type table for your use.

Note: To make the table more accessible, and make it possible for screen readers to identify table columns correctly, give the table a header row.

  1. Navigate to the location in your document where you want to insert the new table.

  2. To open the Insert Table dialog box, press Alt+N, T, I.

  3. To specify the number of columns in the table, press Alt+C, and then type the number of columns you want.

  4. To specify the number of rows, press Alt+R, and then type the number of rows you want.

  5. If you want to use these dimensions again in the future, press Alt+S to select the Remember dimensions for new tables checkbox.

  6. To close the Insert Table dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Enter. Word adds the table to your document.

  7. To check that a header row is set up, do the following:

    1. Go to the table in your document and move to any cell. Press Alt+J, T to open the Table Design tab.

    2. Press the Tab key until you hear "Header row." If the screen reader announces that the Header row option is not selected, press Spacebar to select it. The focus moves to the table.

  8. Type your information in the cells. You hear which column and row is currently selected. The screen reader also announces which cells are header cells. Use the arrow keys to move in the table.

Insert a table by selecting from built-in formats

If you want to let Word do the formatting for you, select one of its built-in formats for tables.

  1. Navigate to the location in your document where you want to insert the new table.

  2. To choose from built-in table formats, press Alt+N, T, T to open the Quick Tables menu.

  3. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to move through the list of table formats. Press Enter to select the table you want.

    Word inserts the selected table into your document and places the focus at the top of the inserted table.

  4. Type your information in the cells. Use the arrow keys to move in the table.

Add table columns or rows

You can quickly expand your table by adding more rows or columns.

  1. Navigate to the location in your table where you want to add a new column or row.

  2. To go to the Layout tab, press Alt+J, L, and then do one of the following:

    • To add a new row above, press A.

    • To add a new row below, press B, E.

    • To add a new column to the left, press L.

    • To add a new column to the right, press R.

Delete columns, rows, or the whole table

If a column, row, or the whole table is no longer needed, delete it from your document.

  1. Open your document, and then go to the table, column, or row you want to delete. When the focus is in your table, you'll hear confirmation, such as “Enter table 1.” When the focus moves off the table, you'll hear that you have left the table.

  2. To open the Delete menu item on the Layout tab, press Alt+J, L, D, and then do one of the following:

    • To delete the entire table, press T.

    • To delete the current column, press C.

    • To delete the current row, press R.

The table, column, or row is deleted, and the focus returns to the document.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Use a screen reader to create charts in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in MacOS screen reader, to add a table to your document by either specifying its dimensions or by choosing among several predesigned table formats. It's also possible to convert existing text to a table.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

  • We recommend you read and edit documents in Print Layout View. VoiceOver might not work reliably in other view modes.

In this topic

Insert a table

You can specify the dimensions of a table by the number of columns and rows. Word for Mac then inserts a basic grid-type table for your use. If you want to let Word for Mac do the formatting for you, select one of its built-in formats for tables.

Note: To make the table more accessible, and make it possible for screen readers to identify table columns correctly, set up a header row.

Specify table dimensions

  1. Place the cursor inside the document in the location where you want to insert the new table.

  2. Press F6 until you hear: "Home, selected, tab."

  3. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key once to move to the Insert tab, then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "Table, menu button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. To specify the number of columns in the table, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow key, and then press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear the number you want.

  6. To specify the number of rows, press Control+Option+Down arrow key, until you hear the number you want.

  7. To insert the table with the currently selected size, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Word for Mac adds the table to your document and moves the focus to its top-left cell. Word also automatically selects the Table Design tab from the toolbar.

  8. To check that a header row is set up, press F6 until you hear: "Table design, selected, tab." Then press the Tab key until you hear: "Header row, selected, toggle button." If Header Row is not selected, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  9. Press F6 to return to your document. If necessary, use the Up or Down arrow key to move to the table.

  10. Navigate to the cell you want by pressing Control+Option+arrow keys. Type your information in the cells. Press the Tab key to move to the next cell, or Shift+Tab to move to the previous cell. If you press the Tab key in the last cell, a new table row is created.

Format a table using a built-in format

  1. Create a table as described in Specify table dimensions, and make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Table design, selected, tab," and then press the Tab key until you hear: "Table grid, selected, button."

  3. To choose from the built-in table formats, press the Right arrow key until you hear the format you want, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to apply.

  4. To return to the document, press F6.

Add table columns or rows

You can quickly expand your table by adding more rows or columns.

  1. Make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table, then use Control+Option+arrow keys to navigate inside the table to find the place where you want to add a new row or column.

  2. Press F6 until you hear the currently selected tab, for example, "Table design, selected, tab," and then press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Layout, tab."

  3. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the Layout tab.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear one of the following:

    • "Insert above, button" adds a row above the current row.

    • "Insert below, button" adds a row below the current row.

    • "Insert left, button" adds a column to the left of the current column.

    • "Insert right, button" adds a column to the right of the current column.

  5. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to insert the selected item to the table.

Delete columns, rows, or the whole table

If a column, row, or the whole table is no longer needed, delete it from your document.

  1. Make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table, column, or row you want to delete.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Table design, selected, tab" or "Layout, selected, tab."

    Word remembers which tab you last used when working with tables. If you land on the Table Design tab, press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the Layout tab.

  3. On the Layout tab, press the Tab key until you hear "Delete, menu button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear the option you want and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

The table, column, or row is deleted, and the focus returns to the document.

Edit table properties

In addition to using built-in formats, you can change table properties individually. For example, you can define text alignment, row height, column width, or write alternative text (alt text) to make the table more accessible for screen readers.

  1. Make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table you want to edit.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Table design, selected, tab" or "Layout, selected, tab."

    Word remembers which tab you last used when working with tables. If you land on the Table Design tab, press Control+Option+Right arrow key once, then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the Layout tab.

  3. On the Layout tab, press the Tab key until you hear "Properties, button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. The Table Properties dialog box has five tabs:

    • Table

    • Row

    • Column

    • Cell

    • Alt Text

    Use the Right and Left arrow keys to find the tab you want, then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open that tab.

  5. Press the Tab key to browse the options on the selected tab. VoiceOver tells you how to access each option. For example, on the Table tab, you can define text alignment for the whole table.

  6. To switch to another tab, press the Tab key until you hear the name of the current tab again, then use the Right and Left arrow keys to find the tab you want, and press Control+Option+Spacebar to select.

  7. To close the Table Properties dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "OK, default, button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. If you did not change any settings, or if you don't want to save your changes, press Esc to exit the dialog box.

    The focus returns to the table.

Convert text to a table

You can create a table by converting normal text to a table. For example, you might have some text that was a table in another program, but lost its formatting when the text was copied into Word for Mac.

  1. Select the text you want to convert.

    Note: For the best results, the text should have columns separated with the Tab key and rows separated with Return.

  2. Press F6 until you hear the currently selected tab, and press Control+Option+Left or Right arrow key to move to the Insert tab, then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear "Table, menu button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Convert text to table," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    The Convert Text to Table dialog box opens.

  5. Use the Tab key to browse the options in the dialog box. Word offers you the number of columns and rows that best fit the selected text, but you can change the values individually. VoiceOver tells you how to access each option.

  6. To close the Convert Text to Table dialog box, press the Tab key until you hear "OK, default, button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    The focus returns to the document and the converted table is selected.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Use a screen reader to create charts in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to add a table to your document. You can also expand your table by adding new rows or columns.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • We recommend you read and edit documents in Print Layout View. VoiceOver might not work reliably in other view modes.

In this topic

Insert a table 

Note: To make the table more accessible, and make it possible for screen readers to identify table columns correctly, set up a header row.

  1. While editing your Word document, place the insertion point where you want to insert the table.

  2. Tap near the top of the screen with four fingers, swipe right until you hear "Show ribbon, button," and double-tap the screen. You hear the currently selected tab, for example, "Home tab."

  3. Double-tap the screen. The tab menu opens. Swipe right or left until you hear "Insert tab," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Insert tab."

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Table button," and then double-tap the screen. A default table with 3 columns and 3 rows is inserted into the document. The focus is inside the new table.

  5. To set up a header row, slide one finger across the bottom half of the screen until you hear "Style options button," and then double-tap the screen. VoiceOver announces whether the Header Row option is selected. If you hear "Header row, button," double-tap the screen to select it.

  6. To close the tab menu, swipe left until you hear "Hide ribbon, button," and then double-tap the screen. The on-screen keyboard opens.

  7. To move inside the table, slide one finger across the screen until you hear the cell you want. 

  8. Once the focus is inside the table, swipe left or right to navigate inside the table. To add text or numbers in a cell, double-tap the screen, and then use the on-screen keyboard to type your content.

Add table columns or rows

You can quickly expand your table by adding more rows or columns.

  1. In the document, slide one finger across the screen until you hear "Entered into a table," followed by the table and cell details.

  2. To enter the editing mode, double-tap the screen.

  3. Slide one finger across the left edge of the screen until you hear the option you want, for example, "Insert right, button" or "Insert below, button," and then double-tap the screen.

Delete columns, rows, or the whole table

If a column, row, or the whole table is no longer needed, delete it from your document.

  1. In your document, slide one finger across the screen until you hear "Entered into a table," followed by the table and cell details.

  2. To enter the editing mode, double-tap the screen.

  3. Slide one finger across the left edge of the screen until you hear "Delete button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Slide one finger across the bottom of the screen until you hear the option you want to delete, and then double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to add a table to your document. You can also expand your table by adding new rows or columns. By adding alternative text to your tables, you can make your content accessible for wider audiences.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

In this topic

Insert a table

Note: To make the table more accessible, and make it possible for screen readers to identify table columns correctly, set up a header row.

  1. While editing your Word document, place the insertion point where you want to insert the table.

  2. Swipe left until you hear "More options button," and double-tap the screen. You hear the currently selected tab, for example, "Home tab." Double-tap the screen, swipe right or left until you hear “Insert tab,” and double-tap the screen. The Insert tab opens.

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Table button," and then double-tap the screen.

    A default table with 3 rows and 3 columns is inserted in the document. The focus is on the Table tab.

  4. To set up a header row, swipe right until you hear "Style options menu," and then double-tap the screen. Swipe right until you hear "Header row, switch." TalkBack announces whether the Header Row option is selected. If the header row is not selected, double-tap the screen to select it.

  5. To close the Style options menu, swipe left until you hear "Checked, More options, switch," and double-tap the screen.

  6. To move the focus inside the new table, slide one finger across the screen until TalkBack announces a cell in the table.

  7. Once the focus is inside the table, swipe left or right to navigate inside the table. To add text or numbers in a cell, double-tap the screen, and then use the on-screen keyboard to type your content.

Add table columns or rows

You can quickly expand your table by adding more rows or columns.

  1. In the document, slide one finger across the screen until you hear "Entering table," followed by the table and cell details.

  2. Slide one finger across the left edge of the screen until you hear the option you want, for example, "Insert right, button" or "Insert below, button," and then double-tap the screen.

Add alternative text to a table

To make a table accessible for a wider audience, add alternative text to it.

  1. Move to the table to which you want to add the alternative text.

  2. Slide one finger at the lower-right corner of the screen until you hear "Not checked, More options, switch," and then double-tap the screen. You hear: "Tab menu, Table, selected."

  3. Swipe right until you hear "Alt text menu," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear "Edit box for, describe this object for someone who is blind," and then double-tap the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to type alt text for the table. To close the on-screen keyboard, swipe down-then-left.

  5. To return to the Table tab menu, swipe down-then-left.

Delete columns, rows, or the whole table

If a column, row, or the whole table is no longer necessary, delete it from your document.

  1. In the document, slide one finger across the screen until you hear "Entering table," followed by the table and cell details. If you want to delete a row or a column, go to the column or row you want to delete.

  2. Slide one finger across the across the bottom of the screen until you hear "Delete menu," and then double-tap the screen.

  3. Swipe right until you hear the option you want to delete, and then double-tap the screen.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Use Word for the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to add a table to your document. We have tested it with Narrator in Microsoft Edge and JAWS and NVDA in Chrome, but it might work with other screen readers and web browsers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll also learn how to expand your table by adding new rows or columns and format your table with the built-in table styles.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • When you use Word for the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Word for the web runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Word for the web.

In this topic

Insert a table

Note: To make the table more accessible, and make it possible for screen readers to identify table columns correctly, set up a header row.

  1. Move to the location in your document where you want to insert the new table.

  2. To open the Table menu, press Alt+Windows logo key+N, N, T.

  3. To specify and select the number of columns and rows in the table, press Shift+arrow keys. You hear the number of selected rows and columns.

  4. To insert the table with the selected dimensions, press Enter.

  5. To set up a header row, go to any cell in the table. Press Alt+Windows logo key+J, J, T, and then press O to open the Style Options menu item. You hear “Header row," and whether it is selected. If the header row is not selected, press Spacebar to select. 

    If the screen reader announces that the Header Row option is already selected, you can proceed to edit your table.

  6. The focus moves to the new table. Use the arrow keys to move in the body of the table.

  7. Type your information in the cells. You hear which column and row is currently selected, and which cells are header cells.

Add table columns or rows

You can quickly expand your table by adding more rows or columns.

  1. Move inside the table, and then use the arrow keys to navigate inside the table to find the place where you want to add a new row or column.

  2. Press Alt+Windows logo key+J, J, T, I. The Insert menu item opens.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To add a row above the current row, press A.

    • To add a row below the current row, press B, E.

    • To add a column to the left of the current column, press L.

    • To add a column to the right of the current column, press R.

    The focus moves to the document body, inside the table.

Format a table using a built-in table style

If you want to let Word for the web do the table formatting for you, select one of its built-in styles for tables.

  1. Move to any cell inside the table you want to format.

  2. To open the Table Styles menu, press Alt+Windows logo key+J, J, T, S

  3. Use the arrow keys to browse through the styles. The screen reader announces the name of each style as you land on it.

  4. To choose and apply a built-in table style, press Enter. The focus moves to the document body, inside the table.

Add alternative text to a table

To make a table accessible for a wider audience, add alternative text to it.

  1. Move to any cell inside the table to which you want to add alternative text.

  2. Press Alt+Windows logo key+J, J, T, E. The Alternative Text dialog box opens. The focus is on the Title text field.

  3. Type a descriptive title for the table.

  4. Press the Tab key. The focus moves to the Description text field.

  5. Type a description of the table.

  6. Once you're done, press the Tab key until you hear "OK button." With Narrator and NVDA, press Enter to close the dialog box. With JAWS, press Spacebar.

Delete columns, rows, or the whole table

If a column, row, or the whole table is no longer needed, delete it from your document.

  1. Go to the table, column, or row you want to delete.

  2. To open the Delete menu item on the Table tab, press Alt+Windows logo key+J, J, T, D, and then do one of the following:

    • To delete the entire table, press D, T. 

    • To delete the current column, press D, C. 

    • To delete the current row, press D, R. 

The table, column, or row is deleted, and the focus returns to the document.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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