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Creating tables

Avoid using tables for layout as the templates determine page layout. Following are some guidelines for formatting data tables so that they are accessible to all users.


Creating header cells

If your table is relatively simple, just creating header cells will help a speech reader make sense of it

  1. Highlight the headings in your table (column or row)
  2. Right click on these highlighted headings
  3. Select Cell Properties...
  4. Under Layout in the Cell Properties dialogue box, tick Header cell
  5. Click OK

Cell Properties dialog box

Providing a table summary

Likewise providing a table summary in the HTML view will help a speech reader make sense of your table. A summary should describe the relationships of cell contents

  1. Select the text just before your table in Normal view in SharePoint Designer
  2. Click on HTML view and look for your selected text
  3. Following on from that text you should see <table border="0" cellpadding="0"… (or something similar)
  4. After the word ‘table’ type summary=”….” eg <table summary="This table tells you the names of programs and program directors within the School. This information can also be found by going to http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/unisanet/courseinfo and using the List Programs by School pull down menu." border="0"…(etc)
  5. Return to Normal view and Save

You will not be able to see your table summary in the browser but a speech reader will be able to read it.


Complex tables

To format complex tables so that they are accessible to all users, you will need to know how to use HTML. For information on how to do this

At the very least, create a table summary (in HTML) to tell your users what the table contains.


Other formatting features

To make tables more accessible to users it is best if both the table width and the cell width is a percentage value rather than a set pixel width. Check the table width by right clicking anywhere on the table you created and select Table Properties. To check cell widths, select all the cells you want to check or change the width for, right click and select Cell Properties.

The default table created in SharePoint Designer has a default border and cell padding setup that does not look that good. To make tables present well on the page change the cell padding and cell border colour.

  1. In the Normal screen, right click your mouse in your table, and choose Table Properties...
  2. Under the heading Layout, set the Cell padding box to 3 (it is defaulted at 0)
  3. Under the heading Borders, specify 1 pixel for border size, and from the Color drop down menu select the standard dark grey
    Table properties showing cell padding and border colour and size
  4. Click OK and save your page

Note: If the contents have dropped down from the top of the screen when you view your page in the browser, your table is too large for the page, and you will need to reduce its size, or preferably change the width to a percentage value. Another option might be to use the full screen template if there is a lot of data.