Use a screen reader to insert a table in Word 2016

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This article is for people who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use Word 2016 with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to add a table to your document by either specifying its dimensions or by choosing among several predesigned table formats.

Notes: 

In this topic

Insert a table by specifying dimensions

You can specify the dimensions of a table, such as the number of columns and rows, and their height and width. Word will insert a basic grid-type table for your use.

Note: To make a table as accessible as possible, it's important to give the table a header row.

  1. Select the location in your document where you want to insert the new table.

  2. To open the Insert Table dialog box, press Alt+N, T, and then I.

  3. To specify the number of columns in the table, press Alt+C, and then type the number of columns.

  4. To specify the number of rows, press Alt+R, and then type the number of rows you want.

  5. If you want to use these dimensions again in the future, press Alt+S to select the Remember dimensions for new tables option.

  6. To close the Insert Table dialog box, press the Tab key to go to the OK button, and then press Enter. Word adds the table to your document.

    Note: To make the table more accessible, and make it possible for screen readers to identify table columns correctly, you have to set up a header row.

  7. To set up a header row, go to the table in your document and move to any cell. Press Alt+JT to open the Design tab of the Table Tools. You'll hear the name of the tab.

  8. Press the Tab key to go to the Header row check box, and select it.

  9. Press the ESC key to return to the body of the document. Press the Down Arrow to move in the body of the table.

  10. Move to the table and type your information in the cells. You'll hear the which column and row is currently selected, and hear which cells are header cells.

Insert a table by selecting from built-in formats

If you want to let Word do the formatting for you, select one of its nine built-in formats for tables.

  1. Select the location in your document where you want to insert the new table.

  2. To choose from built-in table formats, press Alt+N, T, and then T to open the Quick Tables menu. You can browse from a list of nine built-in table formats.

  3. Use the Down Arrow key and Up Arrow key to move through the list of table formats.

  4. To select the table format you want, press Enter. Word inserts the selected table into your document and places focus at the top of the inserted table.

  5. Press the Tab key to move through the cells and type your information .

Delete a table

If a table is no longer necessary, delete it from your document.

  1. Open your document, and then go to the table you want to delete. When the focus is in your table, you'll hear confirmation, such as “In Table 1.” When the focus moves off the table, you'll hear that you have left the table.

  2. To go to the Table Tools Layout tab, press Alt, and then press J, L.

  3. To delete the entire table, press D, T. The table is deleted, and the focus returns to the document.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word on Windows

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

Use Word for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to add a table to your document by either specifying its dimensions or by choosing among several predesigned table formats. It's also possible to convert existing text to a table.

Notes: 

In this topic

Insert a table

You can specify the dimensions of a table by the number of columns and rows. Word 2016 for Mac then inserts a basic grid-type table for your use. If you want to let Word 2016 for Mac do the formatting for you, select one of its built-in formats for tables.

Note: To make the table more accessible, and make it possible for screen readers to identify table columns correctly, you have to set up a header row.

Specify table dimensions

  1. Place the cursor inside the document in the location where you want to insert the new table.

  2. Press F6 until you hear: "Home, selected, tab."

  3. Press the Right arrow key once to move to the Insert tab, then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Press Tab until you hear "Table, menu button" and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. To specify the number of columns in the table, press Control+Option+Shift+Down arrow, and then press the Right arrow key until you hear the number you want.

  6. To specify the number of rows, press the Down arrow key, until you hear the number you want.

  7. To insert the table with the currently selected size, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Word 2016 for Mac adds the table to your document and moves the focus to its top-left cell. Word also automatically selects the Table Design tab from the toolbar.

  8. To check that a header row is set up, press F6 until you hear: "Table design, selected, tab." Then press Tab until you hear: "Header row, checked, check box." If Header Row is not checked, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  9. Press F6 to return to your document.

  10. Type your information in the cells. Press Tab to move to the next cell, or Shift+Tab to move to the previous cell. If you press Tab in the last cell, a new table row is created.

    Tip: You can also navigate table cells by pressing Control+Option+an arrow key in the direction you want to move.

Format a table using a built-in format

  1. Create a table as described in Specify table dimensions, and make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table.

  2. When you have inserted the table, press F6 until you hear "Table design, selected, tab" and then press Tab until you hear: "Table grid, selected, button."

  3. To choose from the built-in table formats, press the Right arrow key until you hear the format you want, and then press Control+Option+Spacebar to apply.

  4. To return to the table, press F6.

Add table columns or rows

You can quickly expand your table by adding more rows or columns.

  1. Make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table, then use Control+Option+arrow keys to navigate inside the table to find the place where you want to add a new row or column.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Table design, selected, tab" and then press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Layout, tab."

  3. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the Layout tab.

  4. Press Tab until you hear one of the following:

    • "Insert above, button" adds a row above the current row.

    • "Insert below, button" adds a row below the current row.

    • "Insert left, button" adds a column to the left of the current column.

    • "Insert right, button" adds a column to the right of the current column.

  5. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to insert the selected item to the table.

Delete a table

If a table is no longer necessary, delete it from your document.

  1. Make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table you want to delete.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Table design, selected, tab" or "Layout, selected, tab."

    Word remembers which tab you last used when working with tables. If you land on the Table Design tab, press the Right arrow key once, then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the Layout tab.

  3. On the Layout tab, press Tab until you hear "Delete, menu button" and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Delete table" and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

Edit table properties

In addition to using built-in formats, you can change table properties individually. For example, you can define text alignment, row height, column width, or write alternative text (alt text) to make the table more accessible for screen readers.

  1. Make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table you want to edit.

  2. Press F6 until you hear "Table design, selected, tab" or "Layout, selected, tab."

    Word remembers which tab you last used when working with tables. If you land on the Table Design tab, press the Right arrow key once, then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the Layout tab.

  3. On the Layout tab, press Tab until you hear "Properties, button" and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. The Table Properties menu has five tabs:

    • Table

    • Row

    • Column

    • Cell

    • Alt Text

    Use the Right and Left arrow keys to find the tab you want, then press Control+Option+Spacebar to open that tab.

  5. Press Tab to browse the options on the selected tab. VoiceOver tells you how to access each option. For example, on the Table tab, you can define text alignment to the whole table.

  6. To switch to another tab, press Tab until you hear the name of the current tab again, then use the Right and Left arrow keys to find the tab you want, and press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  7. To close the Table Properties menu, press Tab until you hear "OK, default, button" and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. If you did not change any settings, or if you don't want to save your changes, press Esc to exit the menu.

    The focus returns to the Properties button.

  8. To return to the table, press F6.

Convert text to a table

You can create a table by converting normal text to a table. For example, you may have some text that was a table in another program, but lost its formatting when the text was copied into Word 2016 for Mac.

  1. Select the text you want to convert.

    Note: For the best results, the text should have columns separated with Tab and rows separated with Enter.

  2. Press F6 until you hear: "Home, selected, tab."

  3. Press the Right arrow key once to move to the Insert tab, then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. Press Tab until you hear "Table, menu button" and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  5. Press Down arrow until you hear "Convert text to table" and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    The Convert Text to Table menu opens.

  6. Use the Right and Left arrow keys to browse the options in the menu. Word offers you the number of columns and rows that best fit the selected text, but you can change the values individually. VoiceOver tells you how to access each option.

  7. To close the Convert Text to Table menu, press Tab until you hear "OK, default, button" and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. If you did not change any settings, or if you don't want to save your changes, press Esc to exit the menu.

    The focus returns to the toolbar.

  8. To return to the document, press F6.

See also

Use a screen reader to check spelling and grammar in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word for Mac

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

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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