10.6 Tables Accessibility

Tables must be created with text and cannot be an image or scan. Tables must include proper headers for accessibility.

Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. Nested tables within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and cannot 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.

Points: 3 (Essential)

QM Alignment: 8.2, 8.3


When someone using a screen reader comes across a table in your text with rows and columns, how should the screen reader read the table? Read across the first row and then on to the next row? Or read the first column and then the next? In order to address this, your table should specify if it has a header row or a header column.

Accessible Tables

  • Use to present data
  • Use properties to define the repeat header row.
  • Use simple tables. Do not merge or split cells.
  • Provide a caption or summary of contents. Create with table tools.
  • Goal: Present data to students.


  • All tables in Canvas should have a caption and header row or column
  • Blackboard Ally will check tables in your Canvas course for any accessibility issues.
  • Use tables primarily to present data, not for visual layout purposes.
  • It is not recommended to set your table or cell widths to fixed values – instead use percentages or put no value at all (meaning the browser will lay it out automatically). Otherwise, the table may not be readable on mobile devices, including the Canvas Student app.
  • In the table, right-click in the row that you want to repeat, and then click Table Properties. In the Table Properties dialog box, on the Row tab, select the Repeat as header row at the top of each page check box. Select OK.



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