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Thread: Accessible Excel files -- two questions

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From: Dona Patrick
Date: Thu, Mar 30 2017 2:50PM
Subject: Accessible Excel files -- two questions
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I am supposed to make two Excel files accessible and explain to the client
what they need to do to make this easier. These files are going to be used
as templates so must remain in Excel format. I know the basics, but have
conflicting answers for a question and I have another question.

The files have several tables. The first tab has a table that can be given
alt text and has header cells set (this table has headers). The other
tables cannot be given alt text and header cells cannot be designated. My
assumption is (and I am not at all comfortable with Excel as it is) that
the tables that cannot be given alt text and the header cells cannot be
designated are not true tables, but the first table is. I think that what I
need to suggest is that they highlight the content that is a table, select
the checkbox that says "my table has headers" and that will make it a true
table.

Am I anywhere near correct about this? Someone I asked at work suggested
that tables in an Excel spreadsheet are always tables.

My second question is less accessibility related and more just an Excel
question...

When I do make the tables true tables and say the tables have headers (if
that is the right thing to do) the tables end up with a header row with
icons for sorting. Is there any way to get rid of those icons?

I hope I was clear.

Thank you for any help and let me know if I can be more clear.

Dona

From: JP Jamous
Date: Thu, Mar 30 2017 4:32PM
Subject: Re: Accessible Excel files -- two questions
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Dona,

Not sure if you are targeting multiple screen readers or just JAWS. With JAWS you can use Insert + CTRL + Alt + c for columns or r for rows. JAWS will create a JSI file and use the column your cursor was in as the row header and the row you are in as the column header. This way, you can avoid identifying headers and getting the icons. However, this is only a JAWS feature. I don't think NVDA has such one for Excel.

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Dona Patrick
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2017 3:51 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Subject: [WebAIM] Accessible Excel files -- two questions

I am supposed to make two Excel files accessible and explain to the client what they need to do to make this easier. These files are going to be used as templates so must remain in Excel format. I know the basics, but have conflicting answers for a question and I have another question.

The files have several tables. The first tab has a table that can be given alt text and has header cells set (this table has headers). The other tables cannot be given alt text and header cells cannot be designated. My assumption is (and I am not at all comfortable with Excel as it is) that the tables that cannot be given alt text and the header cells cannot be designated are not true tables, but the first table is. I think that what I need to suggest is that they highlight the content that is a table, select the checkbox that says "my table has headers" and that will make it a true table.

Am I anywhere near correct about this? Someone I asked at work suggested that tables in an Excel spreadsheet are always tables.

My second question is less accessibility related and more just an Excel question...

When I do make the tables true tables and say the tables have headers (if that is the right thing to do) the tables end up with a header row with icons for sorting. Is there any way to get rid of those icons?

I hope I was clear.

Thank you for any help and let me know if I can be more clear.

Dona

From: Dona Patrick
Date: Fri, Mar 31 2017 6:51AM
Subject: Re: Accessible Excel files -- two questions
← Previous message | Next message →

Yes, multiple screen readers, thanks JP.

By the way, I found the answer to my second question.

On Mar 30, 2017 6:33 PM, "JP Jamous" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Dona,
>
> Not sure if you are targeting multiple screen readers or just JAWS. With
> JAWS you can use Insert + CTRL + Alt + c for columns or r for rows. JAWS
> will create a JSI file and use the column your cursor was in as the row
> header and the row you are in as the column header. This way, you can avoid
> identifying headers and getting the icons. However, this is only a JAWS
> feature. I don't think NVDA has such one for Excel.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On
> Behalf Of Dona Patrick
> Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2017 3:51 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Subject: [WebAIM] Accessible Excel files -- two questions
>
> I am supposed to make two Excel files accessible and explain to the client
> what they need to do to make this easier. These files are going to be used
> as templates so must remain in Excel format. I know the basics, but have
> conflicting answers for a question and I have another question.
>
> The files have several tables. The first tab has a table that can be given
> alt text and has header cells set (this table has headers). The other
> tables cannot be given alt text and header cells cannot be designated. My
> assumption is (and I am not at all comfortable with Excel as it is) that
> the tables that cannot be given alt text and the header cells cannot be
> designated are not true tables, but the first table is. I think that what I
> need to suggest is that they highlight the content that is a table, select
> the checkbox that says "my table has headers" and that will make it a true
> table.
>
> Am I anywhere near correct about this? Someone I asked at work suggested
> that tables in an Excel spreadsheet are always tables.
>
> My second question is less accessibility related and more just an Excel
> question...
>
> When I do make the tables true tables and say the tables have headers (if
> that is the right thing to do) the tables end up with a header row with
> icons for sorting. Is there any way to get rid of those icons?
>
> I hope I was clear.
>
> Thank you for any help and let me know if I can be more clear.
>
> Dona
> > > at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >
> > > > >

From: Jonathan Avila
Date: Fri, Apr 07 2017 7:54PM
Subject: Re: Accessible Excel files -- two questions
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Donna, it appears you are using the accessibility checker in Excel. Sometimes the advice it provides isn't always the most clear in regards to tables. It generally suggest alt text be added to all tables in MS products. This can actually be problematic for some screen readers -- in particular in PowerPoint. From an Excel standpoint it could be useful to label them in order to use commands (insert+f5) that allow the user to move to different objects on the screen -- especially if you have multiple tables.

If you do want to turn off the dropdown filter after converting them to a table you can go to the data ribbon and unselect "filter".

Other than labeling and navigation purposes there is no benefit within Excel for AT that I am aware off. If you were to convert to another format I'd assume the TH might come through into PDF output, etc.

Regarding the issue with applying alt text to tables in PPT -- I've found with some screen readers the alt text is read instead of the content in the table -- with other screen readers the alt text isn't read at all.

Jonathan

Jonathan Avila
Chief Accessibility Officer
SSB BART Group 
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
703.637.8957 (Office)

Visit us online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Blog
Download our CSUN Presentations Here!

The information contained in this transmission may be attorney privileged and/or confidential information intended for the use of the individual or entity named above. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Dona Patrick
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2017 4:51 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Accessible Excel files -- two questions

I am supposed to make two Excel files accessible and explain to the client what they need to do to make this easier. These files are going to be used as templates so must remain in Excel format. I know the basics, but have conflicting answers for a question and I have another question.

The files have several tables. The first tab has a table that can be given alt text and has header cells set (this table has headers). The other tables cannot be given alt text and header cells cannot be designated. My assumption is (and I am not at all comfortable with Excel as it is) that the tables that cannot be given alt text and the header cells cannot be designated are not true tables, but the first table is. I think that what I need to suggest is that they highlight the content that is a table, select the checkbox that says "my table has headers" and that will make it a true table.

Am I anywhere near correct about this? Someone I asked at work suggested that tables in an Excel spreadsheet are always tables.

My second question is less accessibility related and more just an Excel question...

When I do make the tables true tables and say the tables have headers (if that is the right thing to do) the tables end up with a header row with icons for sorting. Is there any way to get rid of those icons?

I hope I was clear.

Thank you for any help and let me know if I can be more clear.

Dona

From: Dona Patrick
Date: Sun, Apr 09 2017 5:37AM
Subject: Re: Accessible Excel files -- two questions
← Previous message | No next message

Hi Jonathan,

Yep, you caught me. I was using the accessibility checker in Excel since,
other than the HHS guidance, I could find little other guidance online.
Also, I have never really learned how to use Excel.

Thanks for the information about screen readers and alt text with tables.
It was very useful and I will keep it in mind for future Excel files. The
client is rethinking the document and might use something else.

Dona

On Apr 7, 2017 9:54 PM, "Jonathan Avila" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Donna, it appears you are using the accessibility checker in Excel.
> Sometimes the advice it provides isn't always the most clear in regards to
> tables. It generally suggest alt text be added to all tables in MS
> products. This can actually be problematic for some screen readers -- in
> particular in PowerPoint. From an Excel standpoint it could be useful to
> label them in order to use commands (insert+f5) that allow the user to move
> to different objects on the screen -- especially if you have multiple
> tables.
>
> If you do want to turn off the dropdown filter after converting them to a
> table you can go to the data ribbon and unselect "filter".
>
> Other than labeling and navigation purposes there is no benefit within
> Excel for AT that I am aware off. If you were to convert to another format
> I'd assume the TH might come through into PDF output, etc.
>
> Regarding the issue with applying alt text to tables in PPT -- I've found
> with some screen readers the alt text is read instead of the content in the
> table -- with other screen readers the alt text isn't read at all.
>
> Jonathan
>
> Jonathan Avila
> Chief Accessibility Officer
> SSB BART Group
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> 703.637.8957 (Office)
>
> Visit us online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Blog
> Download our CSUN Presentations Here!
>
> The information contained in this transmission may be attorney privileged
> and/or confidential information intended for the use of the individual or
> entity named above. If the reader of this message is not the intended
> recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, dissemination,
> distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On
> Behalf Of Dona Patrick
> Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2017 4:51 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List
> Subject: [WebAIM] Accessible Excel files -- two questions
>
> I am supposed to make two Excel files accessible and explain to the client
> what they need to do to make this easier. These files are going to be used
> as templates so must remain in Excel format. I know the basics, but have
> conflicting answers for a question and I have another question.
>
> The files have several tables. The first tab has a table that can be given
> alt text and has header cells set (this table has headers). The other
> tables cannot be given alt text and header cells cannot be designated. My
> assumption is (and I am not at all comfortable with Excel as it is) that
> the tables that cannot be given alt text and the header cells cannot be
> designated are not true tables, but the first table is. I think that what I
> need to suggest is that they highlight the content that is a table, select
> the checkbox that says "my table has headers" and that will make it a true
> table.
>
> Am I anywhere near correct about this? Someone I asked at work suggested
> that tables in an Excel spreadsheet are always tables.
>
> My second question is less accessibility related and more just an Excel
> question...
>
> When I do make the tables true tables and say the tables have headers (if
> that is the right thing to do) the tables end up with a header row with
> icons for sorting. Is there any way to get rid of those icons?
>
> I hope I was clear.
>
> Thank you for any help and let me know if I can be more clear.
>
> Dona
> > > at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > > >