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Tables, Charts, and Graphs

Word and PowerPoint have similar tools and features for creating accessible tables, charts, and graphs. You can follow the instructions on this page when creating documents and presentations.


Use simple tables in the document. A simple table is a table with one column and one row header. Complex tables are tables with irregular headers, merged cells, multi-level column or row headers, etc. It is best to avoid creating complex tables. Below is an example of a complex table.

Complex table example

To add an accessible table:

  1. Go to Insert > Table. Click on the little arrow under Table to choose the size of the table.

    Insert table
  2. Insert the table with the desired number of columns or rows.
  3. To make the table accessible, it is essential to add header rows. Go to Table Tools > Design. Click the Header row checkbox to let the screen reader know that the table contains the header row. If you have row headers, click on the First column checkbox.
    Header row in table

Charts and Graphs

To create accessible charts and graphs, use the available Microsoft features. Charts and graphs imported from a spreadsheet will appear as an image, which means you'll have to make them accessible before you add them.

Follow the steps below to create a chart or graph:

  1. Go to Insert > Chart.

    Insert chart
  2. Click on the Chart and choose the type of chart or graph you want to use.
    Choose chart type
  3. Once you click on the chart/graph, Word will insert it into the document with an Excel pop-up of the data table.
    Chart with data table below
  4. You can edit the data in the chart by editing the data table in Excel. You can also copy and paste the data from an Excel file into the data table.
  5. Use the Chart Tools on the top panel to edit the color scheme. Ensure the contrast ratio is valid (4.5 for AA and 7 for AAA). You can learn more about the color contrast on the accessible content page.
  6. To make this chart/graph accessible, add a data table. Go to Chart Tools > Design > Add Chart Element > Data Table. Click on With Legend Keys or Without Legend Keys.
    Adding data table to chart
  7. This will insert a data table below the chart/graph so the screen reader can better navigate the document.
    Grade distribution chart
  8. You can close the Excel pop-up. If you need to change data, you can access it again by clicking Chart Tools > Design > Edit Data.

    Edit chart data

If it is not possible to add the data table, you can make the chart/graph accessible by adding an alternative text. This is covered in Alternative Text in Documents and Alternative Text in Presentations.

Please note that some charts, such as pie charts and scatter charts, cannot display the data table. In that case, you can add proper alternative text. You can also use the Chart Tools > Design > Add Chart Element > Data Labels > Data Callout option to make the chart readable by displaying the label and the data.