Tables and accessibility

For accessibility, follow these guidelines when you create tables.

Guideline Additional information
Always add a header row. Headers are important for accessibility. If headers are present, screen readers read the name of the column aloud before reading the cell contents. For example, when it encounters a standard navigation table in the TechNet library, a screen reader would say, "Content: IT Professional Reviewer's Guide," then say, "Description: Learn how new capabilities in SharePoint can help IT Professionals." If there are no headers, screen readers read table contents in a linear fashion, row by row, and it becomes difficult for the listener to understand the organization of the information.
Do not use merged cells. Merged cells can create accessibility issues because they interrupt the way a screen reader tracks its location in the table.
Separate tables in a document with section headings. If a document includes more than one table, put each table in a separate section. Be sure to use meaningful section headings. People who use screen readers often navigate by column headings. Without those headings, people must read all text—word by word—in the document to find what they need. This can be a poor user experience, especially if there are several large tables in a document.