Module 3, Lesson 6: Tables and charts (Mac) Mac icon

If you use a PC, click this link to go to the PowerPoint 2016 for Windows (PC) module.

What are tables?

Tables can be great ways to organize information so it is clearer and more easily digestible. The reader's eyes can scan across and down rows and columns quickly, instead of reading a paragraph. Simple tables (tables with one row of headings or one column of headings or both) are usually the easiest for screen reading software (like JAWS) to decipher.

Why are accessible tables necessary?

Assistive technology, such as screen readers (JAWS), read tables in a linear form. For example, the screen reader begins reading from the first row of the table and then progresses left to right across the columns. When the row ends, it continues to the start of the second row, and so forth.

Also, screen readers always assume that the first row and column of a table contain heading information. Use Styles to designate which row(s) and column(s) are your headers. For help with using Styles, visit Module 2, Lesson 2: Styles.

How do I create accessible tables?

  1. Click the Insert tab located at the top of the screen. Then click the "Table" button.
    Insert and table button

  2. Move the mouse over the desired number of rows and columns and click.
    Insert table dimensions

  3. Once the table appears on the screen, select the top row with your mouse. This will be your header row.

  4. Click the Table Design tab.
    Table design tab
  5. At the top left-hand side of the screen, check to make sure the "Header Row" button is checked.
    Header row button

Accessible charts and graphs

Just like with images, if your presentation includes charts or graphs you must add alternate text (alt text) to explain their meaning, or provide a link to a longer description. For more information on what alt text is, see Module 3 - Lesson 4 - Images.

To add alt text to your chart or graph:

  1. Move your cursor to the "chart area". This is the white space to the right of the chart title area.
    chart area

  2. Right-click and select Format Chart Area.
    Format chart area

  3. In the Format Chart Area window, click the Size & Properties button.
    size and properties button

  4. Click on Alt Text.
    Alt text area

  5. Add a title and description for the image. The screen reader will read the title first, and then the description.
Congratulations!
You have now completed Module 3: Accessible PowerPoint 2016 Presentations for Mac

Next: Module 4: Accessible PDFs

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