Structure tables for easy navigation in Word

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Tables organize information beautifully, and help you show relationships between things. In this module, you'll learn how to set up tables so that they can be read out loud to people who use a screen reader.

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To add a header row to a table
  1. First, insert a table: on the Insert tab and click the Table button.

  2. Choose three boxes across the top to insert three columns, and then choose the next three boxes down to make a total of four rows. You'll see a three-by-four table appear in your document.

    Note: On the ribbon, note that adding a table caused two new tabs to appear in the ribbon, Design and Layout. These are the Table Tools.

  3. On the Design tab, find the Table Styles Options group, and check "Header row". You might also want to select one of the other options, such as Banded Rows or Total Row.

Your table now has a header row. This means that, behind the scenes, Word and any assistive technologies can communicate intelligently about the table.

Add column headings
  1. Place your curson in the first box on the top row of your new table.

  2. Type the name of this column, such as "Employee name". Then press the Tab key to move to the next column.

  3. Type the name of the second column, such as "Marital status", and then press the Tab key to move to the final column.

  4. Type the name of the final column, such as "Number of children."

Your table now has column names, which make it much easier for people to understand the information that the table contains. Some screen readers can be set up to read column names at any time, which can be a great help in a large table. For example, if a table had 25 rows, the screen reader could say "Number of children" when the person read that column.

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