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What is a table?
Tables organize information or data into rows and columns. Columns span the document vertically. Rows span the document horizontally. When a row and column intersect, a cell is formed. The information or data is contained inside the cell. It is often referred to as the, Cell contents.

Table reading & Navigation
There are some Table navigation commands that are the same whether you are working in Microsoft Word or reading tables on the internet. These commands work with several different screen readers; such as JAWS, NVDA, and SATOGO/System Access. Commands to read by cell: (ctrl+alt+arrow keys) or tab and shift tab.

  • Move to cell to the left CTRL+ALT+Left Arrow
  • Move to and select the cell to the left Shift Tab
  • Move to cell to the right CTRL+ALT+Right Arrow
  • Move to and select cell to the right Tab
  • Move to cell in the row above the cursor CTRL+ALT+Up Arrow
  • Move to the cell below the cursor CTRL+ALT+Down Arrow
    Be cautious with navigation, when you reach the last cell of a table, pressing TAB creates a new row and places focus in the first cell of that row.

JAWS users may want to turn on or off features to make table reading easier. To do this you will open the JAWS quick settings or the JAWS Verbosity menu in earlier versions (INS+V). Press (D) to move to, Document-specific Settings, then down arrow to the table reading section in the tree view. Make sure you open the branch. You will encounter some of the following options that you can adjust. The options you find will vary depending on the version of JAWS you are using. You can change the state of the selection by pressing the spacebar. Press escape to close the dialog. Defined Bookmark Table Column and Row Titles Override
Table Titles Announce
Column Titles Row Set
Row Titles Column Set
Title Definitions Clear
JAWS version 13 gives you a table options branch in the tree. Below are the options in that branch. You may choose to change these settings depending on how much information you want JAWS to provide when reading tables. For example, with these options checked, or on, JAWS will tell you when you enter a table, leave a table, whether a table is uniform or not, how many rows and columns the table contains, etc. This may be entirely too much information in some instances. Cell Coordinates Announcement Table Detection - Description
JAWS table reading commands

  • Say the first cell in the current column Insert+Space, T, Alt+1
  • Say the first cell in the current row Insert+Space, T, Alt+5
  • List tables control+JAWSKey+t
  • Describe the border around the active cell or table Alt+Shift+B
  • Say the column title for the current cell JAWSKey+Alt+Shift+C
  • Say the row title for the current cell JAWSKey+Alt+Shift+R
  • Say the current table column Windows+Period
  • Say the current table row Windows+Comma
  • Move to and say the prior table column Windows+Alt+LeftArrow
  • Move to and say the next table column Windows+Alt+RightArrow
  • Move to and say the prior table row Windows+Alt+UpArrow
  • Move to and say the next table row Windows+Alt+DownArrow

Inserting tables in Microsoft Word 2010
Place the focus at the location you want to insert a table. Press (ALT+N, T, I). This will place focus on the insert tab of the ribbon. It will access the Table option (T) and the (I) opens the insert table dialog. This is the dialog for configuring the table properties. The options and what they mean are: Number of Columns, Input the number of columns for the table
Number of Rows, Input the number of rows for the table)
Autofit Behavior
Three radio buttons determine the autofit of text within the table.
Fixed Column Width - Select auto or a dimension in inches from within the associated spin box
Autofit to Contents - The table cells are autofit to the contents of the cells
Autofit to Window - The table is autofit to the size of the window
Remember dimensions for new tables - The settings configured within the dialog are the default for future tables.

Adding Content to a Table
After creating a table, focus is placed in the first cell of the table. Move focus among the cells in a row with TAB or shift tab. Press CTRL+ALT+Up and Down Arrow keys to navigate among the cells in a column. any type of content can be added to table cells. You can insert text, form controls, pictures, additional tables, hyperlinks, etc. anything that can be put into Microsoft Word can be put into a table cell.

The Design and layout ribbon tabs
Once you add a table to a Word document two toolbars appear in the ribbon area. One is the Design tab and the other is the layout tab.

The design tab
The design tab toolbar allows Configurations for individual cells and for the overall layout of a table. When a table is first created, focus is placed in the table design ribbon. When focus is removed from a table, the home ribbon is displayed. You can access the design tab by pressing (Alt+J, T). In the design tab you will be able to configure things like the header Row, banded rows, total row, special formatting for first column, etc. You can also select already designed table styles. You can configure shading, borders and line styles.

The layout tab
The layout ribbon tab also appears when a table is inserted. You can access the layout tab by pressing (ALT+ J, L). The toolbar allows you to select elements of the table and change things like viewing grid lines, table properties etc. You can also use this toolbar to delete rows, columns and cells. You can insert rows, columns, and cells. You can merge and split cells. You can alter the formatting and placement of the text in the cell using the layout tab. The last option on the layout tab is convert to Text (V). The selected table is converted to plain text. The contents of each cell is separated with the option selected in the dialog. You can choose either: paragraph marker, commas, tab or other. Any tables within cells are also converted to plain text.

Creating Accessible Tables
The below information was taken from the JAWS V13 help file. You can create accessible tables for JAWS using functionality available in Microsoft Word. This means that even those who do not use JAWS can mark table row and column headings for JAWS users.

To make a table accessible, start Microsoft Word and open the document containing your table(s). If the table has both row and column headings, place the insertion point in a cell where the row and column containing the headings meet. Then, open the Insert menu and choose Bookmark. Type "Title" and press ENTER.
If the table has only row headings, place the insertion point in any cell within the column containing the headings. Then, open the Insert menu and choose Bookmark. Type "RowTitle" and press ENTER.
If the table has only column headings, place the insertion point in the first cell within the row containing the headings. Then, open the Insert menu and choose Bookmark. Type "ColumnTitle" and press ENTER.
Tip: Do not place a bookmark in each cell that contains a heading. JAWS recognizes all cells in the marked row or column as a heading.
Microsoft Word does not allow two bookmarks to use the same name. If there is more than one table in your document, add a number or descriptive word to the end of the bookmark text used to indicate headings. For example, "Title_1," "RowTitle_Revenue," or "ColumnTitle_Expenses."

A JAWS user can override the information provided by the document author. To do this, press INSERT+V while you are in Word to open Quick Settings. Select "Defined Bookmark Table Column and Row Titles Override" and use the SPACEBAR to cycle through the available options. Choose "On for the current file" to override named titles for tables in the currently open document. Choose "On for all files" to override named titles in all documents that you open in Word. If you want to use the table information provided by the author again, choose "Off."

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Page last modified on September 29, 2012, at 05:09 PM