E-Text Data Tables

Tables are designed to convey a two-dimensional array of data, but should not be used merely as a layout tool.  Making data tables accessible is tricky, in part because each authoring tool has its own limitations in terms of table attributes. The key objective is to use whatever attributes are available to help users of assistive technology properly navigate through the table.

Best Practice

Data tables should include at least two rows and two columns. The first cell in each column must be marked as a header cell (TH). Tables should include a summary or caption to describe the content.

Benefits to Users & Developers

  • The summary attribute of table elements provides an overview of the body of data to users of screen readers.
  • Heading structure (TH) allows for easy navigation through the table and acts as a connector for cell data.


  • Adding Table Attributes in Microsoft Word
  • Adding Table Attributes in Pages
  • Table examples in LaTeX