Use a screen reader to insert a table in Outlook

Use a screen reader to insert a table in Outlook

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This article is for people with visual impairments 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.

Create and edit a table in your email message in Outlook using your keyboard screen reader. We have tested it with Narrator and JAWS, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

In this topic

Convert text to a table

If you have a block of text that uses consistent separators, it is easy to convert it to a table.

  1. Select the piece of text you want to convert to a table.

  2. To open the Convert Text to Table dialog, press Alt+N, T, V.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • If your text uses paragraphs as separators, press Alt+P.

    • If your text uses commas as separators, press Alt+M.

    • If your text uses tabs as separators, press Alt+T.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Enter. The table is created and the focus returns to the message with the table selected.

Convert a table to text

  1. Place the cursor somewhere in the table you want to convert to text.

  2. Press Alt+J, L to open the Layout tab of the Table Tools.

  3. Press V to open the Convert Table to Text dialog, and then do one of the following:

    • If you want the text to use paragraphs as separators, press P.

    • If you want the text to use commas as separators, press M.

    • If you want the text to use tabs as separators, press T.

  4. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Enter. The focus returns to the message with the text selected.

Insert a table

You can specify the dimensions of a table, such as the number of columns and rows, and their height and width. Outlook inserts 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. While writing a message, place the cursor where you want to insert the new table.

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

  3. Type the number of columns you want.

  4. Press the Tab key, 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, press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Enter. Outlook adds the table to your message and the focus moves to the first column of the first row.

  7. To check that your table has a header row, press Alt+J, T to open the Design tab of the Table Tools.

  8. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Checked, Header row check box." With JAWS, you hear: "Table style options group box, header row check box, checked." If you hear "Unchecked," press Spacebar to toggle the header row on, otherwise press the Esc key to return the focus to the table.

  9. Use the arrow keys to move around the table, and type your information in the cells.

Use built-in table styles

After creating a table, you can quickly modify its appearance using the built-in styles in Outlook.

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in the table.

  2. Press Alt+J, T to open the Design tab of the Table Tools.

  3. Press S to open the Table Styles menu.

  4. Use arrow keys to move through the list of styles until you find the one you want, for example, "Grid table 1, light."

  5. To select the style you want, press Enter. The selected style is applied to your table and the focus returns to the table.

Delete a table

  1. While writing a message, place the cursor anywhere in the table you want to delete.

  2. Press Alt+J, L to open the Layout tab of the Table Tools.

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

Set table properties

Use the Table Properties dialog to give your table a title and a description to make it more accessible, or to modify table alignment.

  1. While writing a message, place the cursor anywhere in the table you want to edit.

  2. To open the Table Properties dialog, press Alt+J, L, O.

  3. To set the alignment of the table in relation to the body text of the message, do one of the following:

    • To align the table with the left edge of the text, press Alt+L.

    • To align the table with the center of the text, press Alt+C.

    • To align the table with the right edge of the text, press Alt+H.

  4. To choose how body text wraps around the table, do one of the following:

    • To make the text wrap around the sides of the table, press Alt+A.

    • To make the table separate from text, press Alt+N.

  5. To give the table a title and a description, press Alt+T, and then press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Selected, Alt Text tab item." With JAWS, you hear: "Alt text tab."

  6. Press the Tab key and type the table title, and then press the Tab key and type the description.

  7. Press the Tab key until you hear "OK button," and then press Enter. The focus returns to the message.

Add columns or rows to a table

  1. While writing a message, place the cursor at the point in the table where you want to add a columns or row.

  2. Press Alt+J, L to open the Layout tab of the Table Tools.

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To add a row above the selected point, press A.

    • To add a row below the selected point, press B, E.

    • To add a column left of the selected point, press L.

    • To add a column right of the selected point, press R.

  4. The menu closes, and the focus returns to the table.

See also

Use a screen reader to format text in your email in Outlook

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

Create and edit a table in your email message in Outlook for Mac using your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

In this topic

Convert text to a table

If you have a block of text that uses consistent separators, it is easy to convert it to a table.

  1. While composing your email, select the text you want to convert.

    Note: For the best results, the text should have columns separated by pressing the Tab key and rows separated by pressing the Return key.

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

  3. Press the Down arrow key until you hear "Convert text to table," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. The Convert Text to Table menu opens.

  4. Press the Tab key or Shift+Tab to browse the options in the menu. By default, Outlook 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.

  5. To close the Convert Text to Table menu, press the Tab key until you hear "OK, default, button," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  6. The table is created and the focus returns to the toolbar.

  7. To return to the message body, press the Tab key until you hear: "Table, <number> rows, <number> columns."

Insert a table

You can specify the dimensions of a table, such as the number of columns and rows, and their height and width. Outlook for Mac inserts a basic grid-type table for your use. If you want to let Outlook 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. While composing your email, place the cursor where you want to insert the new table.

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

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

  4. To specify the number of rows, press Control+Option+Down arrow key until you hear the number you want.

  5. To insert the table with the currently selected size, press Control+Option+Spacebar. The table is inserted in the message body and the Table Design tab becomes available in the toolbar.

  6. To check that a header row is set up, press F6 until you hear "Message, selected, tab," press the Right arrow key until you hear "Table design, tab," and then press Control+Option+Spacebar. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Header row, checked, check box." If Header Row is not checked, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  7. To return to the message body, press the Tab key until you hear: "Edit text." If necessary, use the Up or Down arrow key to move to the table.

  8. Navigate to the cell you want by pressing an arrow key in the direction you want to move. Type your information in the cells. Press the Tab key to move to the next cell, or Shift+Tab to move to the previous cell. If you press the Tab key in the last cell, a new table row is created.

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. After you have inserted the table, press F6 until you hear "<Current tab>, selected, tab," and then press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Table design, tab." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to select.

    Note: If you cannot access the ribbon tab by pressing F6, press the Tab key repeatedly to go back to the table and retry.

  3. Press the Tab key until you hear: "Table grid, selected, button."

  4. 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.

  5. To return to the message body, press the Tab key until you hear: "Edit text."

Delete a table

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

  2. Press F6 until you hear "<Current tab>, selected, tab," and then press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Layout, tab." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the Layout tab.

    Note: If you cannot access the ribbon tab by pressing F6, press the Tab key repeatedly to go back to the table and retry.

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

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

Set 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 "<Current tab>, selected, tab," and then press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Layout, tab." To open the Layout tab, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Note: If you cannot access the ribbon tab by pressing F6, press the Tab key repeatedly to go back to the table and retry.

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

    The focus returns to the Properties button.

Add columns or rows to a table

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

  1. Make sure the focus is somewhere inside the table, then use the 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 "<Current tab>, selected, tab," and then press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Layout, tab." Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the Layout tab.

    Note: If you cannot access the ribbon tab by pressing F6, press the Tab key repeatedly to go back to the table and retry.

  3. On the Layout tab, do one of the following:

    • To add row above the current row, press the Tab key until you hear: "Insert above, button."

    • To add a row below the current row, press the Tab key until you hear: "Insert below, button."

    • To add a column to the left of the current column, press the Tab key until you hear: "Insert left, button."

    • To add a column to the right of the current column, press the Tab key until you hear: "Insert right, button."

    To confirm your selection, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

  4. To return to the message body, press the Tab until you hear "Edit text."

See also

Use a screen reader to format text in your email in Outlook

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

Use Outlook on the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to create a table when composing a message with Mail. We have tested it with Narrator, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • This topic assumes that the Reading pane is off.

  • When you use Outlook on the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Outlook on the web runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Outlook on the web.

  • We're currently updating Outlook.office.com (Outlook on the Web). Some people are already using the new Outlook, and for others the classic version will be the default experience until we complete the update. For more information, go to Get help with the new Outlook on the web. Since the instructions in this topic apply to the new experience, we recommend that you switch from the classic experience to the new Outlook. To switch to the new Outlook, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear "Command, Try the new Outlook," and then press Enter. If you hear "Command toolbar" instead of "Command, Try the new Outlook," you're already using the new Outlook.

Insert a table

When you insert a table in your message, you can specify the number of columns and rows. Outlook on the web inserts a basic grid-type table for your use.

  1. While composing a message, place the cursor where you want to insert the new table.

  2. Press the Tab key once. You hear: "Formatting options, Format painter." Then press the Right arrow key until you hear "Insert table," and press Enter. The table size selection dialog opens.

    Note: If pressing Enter does not open the dialog, press the SR key+Spacebar to turn scan mode off, and try again.

  3. To select the number of columns in the table, use the Right and Left arrow keys. Your screen reader announces the currently selected columns and rows, for example, "3 by 1 table."

  4. To select the number of rows in the table, use the Down and Up arrow keys. Your screen reader announces the currently selected columns and rows, for example, "3 by 3 table."

  5. When done, to insert the table, press Enter. The dialog closes and the focus moves to first cell of the table in the email message body.

See also

Use a screen reader to format text in your email in Outlook

Use a screen reader to insert a picture or image in Outlook

Basic tasks using a screen reader with email in Outlook

Keyboard shortcuts for Outlook

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Outlook Mail

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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