Make your Excel documents accessible to people with disabilities

This topic gives you step-by-step instructions and best practices for making your Excel spreadsheets accessible and unlock your content to everyone, including people with disabilities.

You learn, for example, how to work with the Accessibility Checker to tackle accessibility issues while you're creating your spreadsheet. You'll also learn how to add alt texts to images so that people using screen readers are able to listen to what the image is all about. You can also read about how to create accessible tables and how to use templates, fonts, and colors to maximize the inclusiveness of your spreadsheets before sharing them with others.

In this topic

Best practices for making Excel spreadsheets accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating Excel spreadsheets that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

How to find it

Why fix it

How to fix it

Avoid common accessibility issues such as missing alternative text (alt text) and low contrast colors.

Use the Accessibility Checker.

Make it easy for everyone to read your spreadsheet.

Check accessibility while you work in Excel

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

To ensure that tables don’t contain split cells, merged cells, or nested tables, use the Accessibility Checker.

Visually scan your tables to check that they don't have any completely blank rows or columns.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Create accessible tables

Add text to cell A1.

Make sure that you have text in cell A1.

Screen readers start reading any worksheet from cell A1.

Add text to cell A1

Include alt text with all visuals.

To find all instances of missing alt text, use the Accessibility Checker.

Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.

Add alt text to visuals

Add meaningful hyperlink text and ScreenTips.

To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan the workbook.

People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links.

Add accessible hyperlink text and ScreenTips

Use sufficient contrast for text and background colors.

To find insufficient color contrast, use the Accessibility Checker.

You can also look for text in your spreadsheet that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.

If your spreadsheet has a high level of contrast between text and background, more people can see and use the content.

Use accessible font format and color

Use an accessible template

Give all worksheets unique names, and remove blank worksheets.

To find out whether all sheets that contain content in a workbook have descriptive names and whether there are any blank sheets, use the Accessibility Checker.

Screen readers read sheet names, which provide information about what is found on the worksheet, making it easier to understand the contents of a workbook and to navigate through it.

Rename worksheets

Delete blank worksheets

Name cells and ranges.

Visually scan your workbook to see which cells and ranges would benefit from having a name.

When you name cells and ranges, screen reader users can quickly identify the purpose of cells and ranges.

Name cells and ranges

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Check accessibility while you work in Excel 

The Accessibility Checker is a tool that reviews your content and flags accessibility issues it comes across. It explains why each issue might be a potential problem for someone with a disability. The Accessibility Checker also suggests how you can resolve the issues that appear.

In Excel, the Accessibility Checker runs automatically in the background when you're creating a document. If the Accessibility Checker detects accessibility issues, you will get a reminder in the status bar.

To manually launch the Accessibility Checker, select Review > Check Accessibility. The Accessibility pane and the Accessibility ribbon open, and you can now review and fix accessibility issues. The Accessibility ribbon contains all the tools you need to create accessible spreadsheets in one place. For more info, go to Accessibility Ribbon and Improve accessibility with the Accessibility Checker.

Tip: Use the Accessibility Reminder add-in for Office to notify authors and contributors of accessibility issues in their spreadsheets. With the add-in, you can quickly add reminder comments that spread awareness of accessibility issues and encourage the use of the Accessibility Checker. For more info, go to Use the Accessibility Reminder to notify authors of accessibility issues.

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Create accessible tables

Tables can help you identify a set of data by name, and you can format the table using styles that make the data stand out. When you carefully name and format your table, you can be sure that everyone can understand your data.

It is also important to specify column header information and use a simple table structure to make sure that screen reader users can navigate the tables easily. 

Name a table

By default, Excel names the tables you create as Table1, Table2, Table3, and so on. To make it easier to refer to a table, give each table a descriptive name. A meaningful table name like "EmployeeList" is more helpful than the generic "Table1." 

With the descriptive name, you can, for example, quickly jump to the table with the Go To command (Ctrl+G) or the Name Manager dialog box. You can also easily refer to the table in formulas.

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in the table.

  2. On the Table Design tab, under Table Name, replace the default name, such as 'Table1,' with a more descriptive one.

Image of the Name Box in the Excel Formula Bar to rename a table

Note: Table names must start with a letter, an underscore (_), or a backslash (\) and cannot contain spaces. For more info, see section "Important notes for names" in Rename an Excel table.

Select an accessible table style

Light colored tables with low contrast can be hard to read. To make your table more accessible, select a table style that has colors with a strong contrast. For example, choose a style that alternates between white and a dark color, such as black, dark grey, or dark blue.

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in the table.

  2. On the Table Design tab, in the Table Styles group, select the style you want.

Use table headers

Screen readers use header information to identify rows and columns. Clear table headers provide context and make navigating the table content easier.

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in a table.

  2. On the Table Design tab, in the Table Style Options group, select the Header Row checkbox.

  3. Type the column headings.

For instructions on how to add headers to a new table, go to Create a table.

Table structures to avoid

Design your tables keeping in mind the following:

  • Avoid blank cells, columns, and rows. When navigating using the keyboard, a blank cell, column, or row might lead a screen reader user to believe there is nothing more in the table.

    • If there is no need for a blank cell, column, or row, consider deleting it.

    • If you cannot avoid a blank cell, column, or row, enter text explaining that it is blank. For example, type N/A or Intentionally Blank.

  • Avoid splitting or merging cells: Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Merged or split cells can make navigating Excel tables with assistive technologies very difficult, if not impossible. Always keep your tables straightforward and simple. To ensure that tables don't contain split cells, merged cells, or nested tables, use the Accessibility Checker.

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Use an accessible template

Use one of the accessible Excel templates to make sure that your spreadsheet design, colors, contrast, and fonts are accessible for all audiences. The templates are also designed so that screen readers can more easily read the spreadsheet content.

When selecting a template, look for a template that has several features that support accessibility. For example:

  • Using enough white space makes the spreadsheet easier to read.

  • Colors with contrast make them easier to tell apart for low vision and colorblind readers.

  • Larger fonts are easier for low-vision users.

  • Preset descriptive headings and labels make the spreadsheet easier to understand for users who navigate it with a screen reader.

For step-by-step instructions on how to use accessible templates, go to Video: Start with an accessible Excel template.

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Add text to cell A1

A screen reader starts reading any worksheet from cell A1. If you have a table on the worksheet, A1 should preferably be the title of the table.

If the sheet is long or complex, add instructions or an overview of the sheet in cell A1. This will inform people who are blind what’s being presented in your worksheet and how to use it. This instructional text can match the background color. This will hide it from people who can see, but allows it to be read by screen readers.

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Add alt text to visuals

Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in visual content. Visual content includes pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, pivot charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention its intent. Screen readers read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the document. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.

Tip: To write a good alt text, make sure to convey the content and the purpose of the image in a concise and unambiguous manner. The alt text shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence or two—most of the time a few thoughtfully selected words will do. Do not repeat the surrounding textual content as alt text or use phrases referring to images, such as, "a graphic of" or "an image of." For more info on how to write alt text, go to Everything you need to know to write effective alt text.

For the step-by-step instructions on how to add alt text, go to Add alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object.

To find missing alt text, use the Accessibility Checker.

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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Use accessible font format and color

An accessible font doesn't exclude or slow down the reading speed of anyone reading a spreadsheet, including people with low vision or reading disability or people who are blind. The right font improves the legibility and readability of the spreadsheet.

For instructions on how to change the default font, go to Change the font size.

Use accessible font format

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • To reduce the reading load, select familiar sans serif fonts such as Arial or Calibri. Avoid using all capital letters and excessive italics or underlines.

  • A person with a vision disability might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors. For example, add an underline to color-coded hyperlink text so that people who are colorblind know that the text is linked even if they can’t see the color.

  • For headings, consider adding bold or using a larger font.

Use accessible font color

The text in your spreadsheet should be readable in a high contrast mode. For example, use bright colors or high-contrast color schemes on opposite ends of the color spectrum. White and black schemes make it easier for people who are colorblind to distinguish text and shapes.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • To ensure that text displays well in a high contrast mode, use the Automatic setting for font colors. For instructions on how to change the font color, go to Format text in cells.

  • Use the Accessibility Checker to analyze the spreadsheet and find insufficient color contrast. The tool now checks the documents for text color against page color, table cell backgrounds, highlight, textbox fill color, paragraph shading, shape and SmartArt fills, headers and footers, and links.

  • Use an accessible template.

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Create accessible charts

Charts help make complex information easier to understand. To make charts accessible, use clear and descriptive language for the chart elements, such as the chart title, axis titles, and data labels. Also make sure their formatting is accessible.

For instructions on how to add chart elements to your chart and make them accessible, go to Video: Create more accessible charts in Excel.

Format a chart element

  1. Select the chart element you want to format, for example, the chart title or data labels.

  2. Select the Format tab.

  3. Under the Current Selection group, select Format Selection. The Format pane opens to the right.

  4. Select the formatting options that make your chart element accessible, such as a larger font or well-contrasting colors.

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Rename worksheets

Screen readers read worksheet names, so make sure those labels are clear and descriptive. Using unique names for worksheets makes it easier to navigate the workbook.

By default, Excel names worksheets as Sheet1, Sheet2, Sheet3, and so on, but you can easily rename them. For instructions on how to rename worksheets, go to Rename a worksheet.

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Delete blank worksheets

Screen readers read worksheet names, so blank worksheets might be confusing. Do not include any blank sheets in your workbooks.

For instructions on how to delete worksheets, go to Insert or delete a worksheet.

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Name cells and ranges

Name cells and ranges so that screen reader users can quickly identify the purpose of cells and ranges in Excel worksheets. Users can use the Go To command (Ctrl+G) to open up a dialog box which lists all the defined names. By selecting a name, a user can quickly jump to the named location.

  1. Select the cell or range of cells that you want to name.

  2. Select Formulas > Define name.

  3. Enter the name and select OK.

Note: The name must start with a letter, an underscore (_), or a backslash (\) and cannot contain spaces.

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Test the accessibility of your worksheets

When your spreadsheet is ready and you've run the Accessibility Checker to make sure it is inclusive, you can try navigating the spreadsheet using a screen reader, for example, Narrator. Narrator comes with Windows, so there's no need to install anything. This is one additional way to spot issues in the navigation, for example.

  1. Start the screen reader. For example, to start Narrator, press Ctrl+Windows logo key+Enter.

  2. Press F6 until the focus, the blue rectangle, is on the worksheet table grid.

  3. Do the following to test your worksheets:

    1. Use the arrow keys to move between the cells in the table grid.

    2. To check the worksheet names in your spreadsheet, press F6 until the focus is on the name of the current worksheet, and then use the Left and Right arrow keys to hear the other worksheet names.

    3. If your worksheet contains floating shapes such images, press Ctrl+Alt+5. Then, to cycle through the floating shapes, press the Tab key. To return to the normal navigation, press Esc.

  4. Fix any accessibility issues you spotted when navigating with a screen reader.

  5. Exit the screen reader. For example, to exit Narrator, press Ctrl+Windows logo key+Enter.

Note: Also make sure that your worksheets can be easily read on a mobile phone. This not only benefits people who have low vision and use magnification, but it also benefits a very broad set of mobile phone users.

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See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Use the Accessibility Reminder to notify authors of accessibility issues

Everything you need to know to write effective alt text

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Excel help & learning

Mac: Best practices for making Excel spreadsheets accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating Excel spreadsheets that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

How to find it

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all visuals.

Visual content includes pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.

To find all instances of missing alternative text in the spreadsheet, use the Accessibility Checker.

Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the document. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.

Add alt text to visuals in Microsoft 365

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2019

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2016

Add meaningful hyperlink text and ScreenTips.

To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan the sheets in your workbook.

People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, instead of linking to the text Click here, include the full title of the destination page.

Tip: You can also add ScreenTips that appear when your cursor hovers over a cell that includes a hyperlink.

Add hyperlink text and ScreenTips

Give all sheet tabs unique names, and remove blank sheets.

To find out whether all sheets that contain content in a workbook have descriptive names and whether there are any blank sheets, use the Accessibility Checker.

Screen readers read sheet names, which provide information about what is found on the worksheet, making it easier to understand the contents of a workbook and to navigate through it.

Rename sheet tabs

Delete a sheet tab

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

To ensure that tables don’t contain split cells, merged cells, or nested tables, use the Accessibility Checker.

You can also visually scan your tables to check that they don't have any completely blank rows or columns.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Add headers to a new table

Use headers in an existing table

Add alt text to visuals in Microsoft 365

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your Excel spreadsheets in Microsoft 365:

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

Tip: To write a good alt text, make sure to convey the content and the purpose of the image in a concise and unambiguous manner. The alt text shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence or two—most of the time a few thoughtfully selected words will do. Do not repeat the surrounding textual content as alt text or use phrases referring to images, such as, "a graphic of" or "an image of."

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images, such as pictures and screenshots, so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click an image. Select Edit Alt Text….

      Excel 365 Edit Alt Text menu for images
    • Select an image. Select Picture Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button for images on the ribbon in Excel for Mac

    The Alt Text pane opens.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the image and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Alt Text pane in Excel for Mac

    Tip: To spell-check the word you just typed, right-click the word and select an option from the list.

Add alt text to shapes

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click a shape. Select Edit Alt Text….

      Excel 365 Edit Alt Text menu for shapes

      Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire shape, not inside one of its parts

    • Select a shape. Select Shape Format > Alt Text.

    The Alt Text pane opens.

    Alt Text button for shapes on the ribbon in Excel for Mac
  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the shape and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Excel 365 Write Alt Text dialog for shapes

    Tip: To spell-check the word you just typed, right-click the word and select an option from the list.

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click a SmartArt graphic. Select Edit Alt Text….

      Excel 365 Edit Alt Text menu for shapes

      Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire SmartArt graphic, not inside one of its parts

    • Select a SmartArt graphic. Select Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button for SmartArt graphics in Excel for Mac

    The Alt Text pane opens.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the SmartArt graphic and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Excel 365 Write Alt Text dialog for shapes

    Tip: To spell-check the word you just typed, right-click the word and select an option from the list.

Add alt text to PivotTable

  1. Right-click a PivotTable, and select PivotTable Options....

    PivotTable Options in Excel for Mac context menu.

    Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire chart, not inside one of its parts

  2. In the PivotTable Options... dialog, select Alt Text.

  3. In the Alt Text tab, type a title for the PivotTable in the Title text box.

  4. In the Description text box, type 1-2 sentences to describe the table and its context to someone who cannot see it. Once you're done, select OK.

    Alt text dialog for an Excel PivotTable.

Tip: To spell-check the word you just typed, right-click the word and select an option from the list.

Mark visuals as decorative

If your visuals are purely decorative and add visual interest but aren't informative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. Examples of objects that should be marked as decorative are stylistic borders. People using screen readers will hear that these objects are decorative so they know they aren’t missing any important information.

  1. To open the Alt Text pane, do one of the following:

    • Right-click a visual. Select Edit Alt Text….

    • Select a visual. Select the Format tab for the visual > Alt Text.

    The Alt Text pane opens.

  2. Select the Mark as decorative check box. The text entry field becomes grayed out.

    Mark as Decorative check box selected in the Alt text pane in Excel for Mac

Tip: If you have several decorative items, you can edit them in a batch. Select them all, open the Alt Text pane, and click Decorative.

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2019

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your Excel spreadsheets in Office 2019:

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

Tip: To write a good alt text, make sure to convey the content and the purpose of the image in a concise and unambiguous manner. The alt text shouldn’t be longer than a short sentence or two—most of the time a few thoughtfully selected words will do. Do not repeat the surrounding textual content as alt text or use phrases referring to images, such as, "a graphic of" or "an image of."

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images, such as pictures and screenshots, so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click an image. Select Edit Alt Text….

      Excel 365 Edit Alt Text menu for images
    • Select an image. Select Picture Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button for images on the ribbon in Excel for Mac

    The Alt Text pane opens.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the image and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Alt Text pane in Excel for Mac

    Tip: To spell-check the word you just typed, right-click the word and select an option from the list.

Add alt text to shapes

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click a shape. Select Edit Alt Text….

      Excel 365 Edit Alt Text menu for shapes

      Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire shape, not inside one of its parts

    • Select a shape. Select Shape Format > Alt Text.

    The Alt Text pane opens.

    Alt Text button for shapes on the ribbon in Excel for Mac
  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the shape and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Excel 365 Write Alt Text dialog for shapes

    Tip: To spell-check the word you just typed, right-click the word and select an option from the list.

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Right-click a SmartArt graphic. Select Edit Alt Text….

      Excel 365 Edit Alt Text menu for shapes

      Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire SmartArt graphic, not inside one of its parts

    • Select a SmartArt graphic. Select Format > Alt Text.

      Alt Text button for SmartArt graphics in Excel for Mac

    The Alt Text pane opens.

  2. Type 1-2 sentences to describe the SmartArt graphic and its context to someone who cannot see it.

    Excel 365 Write Alt Text dialog for shapes

    Tip: To spell-check the word you just typed, right-click the word and select an option from the list.

Add alt text to PivotTable

  1. Right-click a PivotTable, and select PivotTable Options....

    PivotTable Options in Excel for Mac context menu.

    Tip: You have to right-click somewhere inside the frame that surrounds the entire chart, not inside one of its parts.

  2. In the PivotTable Options... dialog, select Alt Text.

  3. In the Alt Text tab, type a title for the PivotTable in the Title text box.

  4. In the Description text box, type 1-2 sentences to describe the table and its context to someone who cannot see it. Once you're done, select OK.

    Alt text dialog for an Excel PivotTable.

Tip: To spell-check the word you just typed, right-click the word and select an option from the list.

Mark visuals as decorative

If your visuals are purely decorative and add visual interest but aren't informative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. Examples of objects that should be marked as decorative are stylistic borders. People using screen readers will hear that these objects are decorative so they know they aren’t missing any important information.

  1. To open the Alt Text pane, do one of the following:

    • Right-click a visual. Select Edit Alt Text….

    • Select a visual. Select the Format tab for the visual > Alt Text.

    The Alt Text pane opens.

  2. Select the Mark as decorative check box. The text entry field becomes grayed out.

    Mark as Decorative check box selected in the Alt text pane in Excel for Mac

Tip: If you have several decorative items, you can edit them in a batch. Select them all, open the Alt Text pane, and click Mark as decorative.

Add alt text to visuals in Office 2016

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your Excel spreadsheets in Office 2016:

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images, such as pictures, and screenshots, so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Right-click an image.

  2. Select Format Picture > Size & Properties.

  3. Select Alt Text.

  4. Type a description and a title.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Screenshot of the Alt Text area of the Format Picture pane describing the selected image

Add alt text to SmartArt graphics

  1. Right-click a SmartArt graphic.

  2. Select Format Shape > Shape Options > Size & Properties.

  3. Select Alt Text.

  4. Type a description and a title.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Screenshot of the Alt Text area of the Format Shape pane describing the selected SmartArt graphic

Add alt text to shapes

Add alt text to shapes, including shapes within a SmartArt graphic.

  1. Right-click a shape.

  2. Select Format Shape > Shape Options > Size & Properties.

  3. Select Alt Text.

  4. Type a description and a title.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Screenshot of the Alt Text area of the Format Shape pane describing the selected shape

Add alt text to PivotCharts

  1. Right-click a PivotChart.

  2. Select Format Chart Area > Chart Options > Size & Properties.

  3. Select Alt Text.

  4. Type a description and a title.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Screenshot of the Alt Text area of the Format Chart Area pane describing the selected PivotChart

Make hyperlinks, tables, and sheet tabs accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the hyperlinks, tables, and sheet tabs in Excel spreadsheets accessible.

Add hyperlink text and ScreenTips

  1. Right-click a cell.

  2. Select Hyperlink.

  3. In the Text to display box, type the hyperlink text.

  4. In the Address box, type the destination URL.

  5. Select the ScreenTip button and, in the ScreenTip text box, type a ScreenTip.

Tip: If the title on the hyperlink's destination page gives an accurate summary of what’s on the page, use it for the hyperlink text. For example, this hyperlink text matches the title on the destination page: Templates and Themes for Office Online.

Screenshot of the Insert Hyperlink dialog

Use headers in an existing table

Specify a header row in a block of cells marked as a table.

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in a table.

  2. On the Table tab, select the Header Row check box.

  3. Type column headings.

Screenshot of the Table style options on the Table tab, with check boxes selected

Add headers to a new table

Specify a header row in a new block of cells you are marking as a table.

  1. Select the cells you want to include in the table.

  2. On the Insert tab, select Table.

  3. Select the My table has headers check box.

  4. Select OK.
    Excel creates a header row with the default names Column1, Column2, and so on.

  5. Type new, descriptive names for each column in the table.

Screenshot of the Create Table dialog, with the My table has headers check box selected

Rename sheet tabs

  1. Right-click a sheet tab, and select Rename.

  2. Type a brief, unique name for the sheet.

Screenshot of the Rename menu item

Delete a sheet tab

  1. Right-click a sheet tab.

  2. Select Delete.

Screenshot of the Delete menu item

See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Excel help center

iOS: Best practices for making Excel spreadsheets accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating Excel spreadsheets that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

Why fix it

How to fix it

Give all sheet tabs unique names.

Screen readers read sheet names, which provide information about what is found on the worksheet, making it easier to understand the contents of a workbook and to navigate through it.

Rename sheet tabs

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Use headers in existing tables

Make tables and sheet tabs accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the tables and sheet tabs in your Excel spreadsheets accessible.

Add headers to existing tables

Specify a header row in a block of cells marked as a table.

  1. Select the cells or the row you want to convert to a header.

  2. Tap the More icon in the bottom right corner of the screen.

  3. Tap Cell Styles and select an option in the Titles and Headings group. The cells are converted to headers.

Style Options command, with Header Row selected

Rename sheet tabs

  1. Tap the Sheet icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.

  2. Tap a sheet tab and select Rename.

  3. To replace the selected sheet name, type a brief, unique name for the sheet.

Selected sheet tab, showing renaming options

See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Excel help center

Android: Best practices for making Excel spreadsheets accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating Excel spreadsheets that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all visuals and tables.

Visual content includes pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.

Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information. If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the document. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to shapes

Add alt text to charts

Give all sheet tabs unique names.

Screen readers read sheet names, which provide information about what is found on the worksheet, making it easier to understand the contents of a workbook and to navigate through it.

Rename sheet tabs

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Add headers to new tables

Use headers in existing tables

Add alt text to visuals

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to visuals in your Excel spreadsheets.

Note: For audio and video content, in addition to alt text, include closed captioning for people who are deaf or have limited hearing.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to images such as pictures and screenshots so that screen readers can read the text to describe the image to users who can’t see the image.

  1. Select an image.

  2. To open the Picture tab, at the bottom of the screen, at the end of the toolbar, tap the up arrow.

  3. Scroll down to the Alt Text command, and then tap it.

  4. Type a description and a title. Your changes are automatically saved.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Alt Text command on the Picture tab

Add alt text to shapes

Add alt text to shapes including shapes within a SmartArt graphic.

  1. Select a shape.

  2. To open the Shape tab, at the bottom of the screen, at the end of the toolbar, tap the up arrow.

  3. Scroll down to the Alt Text command, and then tap it.

  4. Type a description and a title. Your changes are automatically saved.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Alt Text command on the Shape tab

Add alt text to charts

  1. Select a chart.

  2. To open the Chart tab, at the bottom of the screen, at the end of the toolbar, tap the up arrow.

  3. Scroll down to the Alt Text command, and then tap it.

  4. Type a description and a title. Your changes are automatically saved.

    Tip: Include the most important information in the first line, and be as concise as possible.

Alt Text command on the Chart tab

Make tables and sheet tabs accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the tables and sheet tabs in your Excel spreadsheets accessible.

Use headers in existing tables

Specify a header row in a block of cells marked as a table.

  1. Position the cursor anywhere in a table.

  2. To open the Table tab, at the bottom of the screen, at the end of the toolbar, tap the down arrow.

  3. To select the Header Row option, tap it.

    Tip: When the option is selected, it’s gray.

  4. In your table, type column headings.

Table tab, with Header Row selected

Add headers to new tables

Specify a header row in a new block of cells you are marking as a table.

  1. Highlight the cells you want to include in the table.

  2. To open the Home tab, at the bottom of the screen, at the end of the toolbar, tap the up arrow.

  3. Tap Home > Insert.

  4. Tap the Table command.

  5. Select the Table has headers check box.

Table, with the Table has headers check box selected

Rename sheet tabs

  1. Tap and hold a sheet tab, and select Rename.

  2. Type a brief, unique name for the sheet.

Selected sheet tab, showing the Rename command

See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Excel help center

Office Online: Best practices for making Excel Online spreadsheets accessible

The following table includes key best practices for creating Excel for the web spreadsheets that are accessible to people with disabilities.

What to fix

How to find it

Why fix it

How to fix it

Include alternative text with all visuals and tables.

Use the Accessibility Checker to find instances of missing alternative text in the spreadsheet.

Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in tables.

Avoid using text in tables as the sole method of conveying important information. In alt text, briefly describe the contents of the table and its intent.

Add alt text to images

Add alt text to charts

Add meaningful hyperlink text.

To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan the workbook.

People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, instead of linking to the text Click here, include the full title of the destination page.

Add hyperlink text

Give all sheet tabs unique names, and remove blank sheets.

Read the names of the sheet tabs in your workbook, and verify that each sheet has content.

Screen readers read sheet names, which provide information about what is found on the worksheet, making it easier to understand the contents of a workbook and to navigate through it.

Give the workbook a meaningful name

Rename sheet tabs

Delete sheet tabs

Use a simple table structure for data only, and specify column header information.

Use the Accessibility Checker to ensure that tables don’t contain split cells, merged cells, nested tables, or completely blank rows or columns.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank rows and columns in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table.

Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.

Use headers in a table

Add alt text to images and charts

The following procedures describe how to add alt text to images and charts in your Excel for the web spreadsheets. To add alt text to tables, use a desktop version of Excel.

Note: We recommend only putting text in the description field and leaving the title blank. This will provide the best experience with most major screen readers including Narrator.

Add alt text to images

  1. Right-click the image, and then select Alt Text to open the Alternative Text dialog box.

  2. Revise the text in the Description text box.

  3. Select OK.

Screenshot of the Alternative Text dialog with Title and Description fields.

Add alt text to charts

  1. Right-click the chart, and then select Alt Text to open the Alternative Text dialog box.

  2. Add text in the Description text box.

  3. Select OK.

Make hyperlinks, tables, and sheet tabs accessible

The following procedures describe how to make the hyperlinks, tables, and sheet tabs in Excel for the web spreadsheets accessible.

Add hyperlink text

  1. Right-click a cell.

  2. Select Hyperlink.

  3. In Display Text, type the text that people will click on. Then, depending on the type of link you want to use, do one of the following:

    • In URL, type or paste the address.

    • In Place in this document, type the location of the cell you want to link to. For example, A6.

    • In Email address, type the email address in the format of someone@example.com.

  4. Click OK.

Tip: If the title on the hyperlink's destination page gives an accurate summary of what’s on the page, use it for the hyperlink text. For example, this hyperlink text matches the title on the destination page: Templates and Themes for Office Online.

Screenshot shows the Insert Hyperlink dialog box where you can enter information for display text and a URL, specify a place in the document, or an email address.

Use headers in a table

  1. Select the cells you want to include in the table.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Tables group, select Table.

  3. Select the My table has headers check box.

  4. Select OK. Excel for the web creates a header row with the default names Column1, Column2, and so on.

  5. Type new, descriptive names for each column in the table.

Note: Use these same steps to add a header to cells in an existing table.

Screenshot shows the Create Table dialog with the check box selected for the option called "My table has headers".

Give the workbook a meaningful name

  1. Select File > Save As.

  2. Select Save As, and then type a name for the file. Create a name that provides a hint about what kind of data the file contains. If possible, include the date as part of the name.

  3. (Optional) Select the Replace existing file check box.

  4. Select OK.

Note: If you want to rename a file, select Rename, type the name for the file, and select OK.

Screenshot shows the Save As dialog where you can enter a name for the file and have the option to replace the existing file.

Rename sheet tabs

  1. Right-click a sheet tab, and select Rename.

  2. Type a brief, unique name for the tab that's descriptive of its contents.

  3. Select OK.

Screenshot shows the menu that displays after right-clicking a sheet tab with the options to insert, delete, rename, reorder, hide, or unhide the sheet.

Delete sheet tabs

  1. Right-click a sheet tab.

  2. Select Delete.

  3. Select OK.

See also

Rules for the Accessibility Checker

Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities

Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

Make your Outlook email accessible to people with disabilities

Make your OneNote notebooks accessible to people with disabilities

Excel help center

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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