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MICROSOFT WORD 2010
508 ACCESSIBILITY CHECKLIST

Icon depicting blank table rows or columns

Blank table rows or columns

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Requirements for 508 compliance

Ensure data cells are associated with the correct header cells.


How to test

Watch video (0:56 secs)

Video On Demand buttonVideo On Demand button - EWD version

Check for Blank Table Rows or Columns


To determine whether blank Table Rows or Columns have been used for spacing/layout:

  • Run the accessibility checker: "Blank Table Rows or Columns"


How to fix

Watch video (2:39 mins)

Video On Demand buttonVideo On Demand button - EWD version

Note: If a data table row or column is blank, it is usually set that way for visual formatting purposes (e.g., to make a thick, bold border between rows). These blank rows or columns contain no data, and therefore cannot be associated with any header cells. Blank rows or columns need to be identified and then removed. After removal, the desired visual formatting can be applied with table border controls.


A table has four columns and three data rows. The data rows are divided by a thick border line.

Find blank table rows or columns:

  • Viewing the table with gridlines showing and formatting cleared will visually reveal blank rows or columns:


    The table is shown without any formatting. The gridlines reveal two blanks rows dividing the three data rows.
  • To view Table Gridlines, place the cursor anywhere in the table, then in the Table Tools Tab, in the Layout Sub-Tab, in the Table Group, select View Gridlines.


    Selecting the View Gridlines button Selecting the View Gridlines button
  • To clear formatting for the table, in the Table Tools Tab, in the Design Sub-Tab, in the Table Styles Group, select the More (drop-down) icon, and then select Clear from the bottom of the drop-down.


    Selecting the clear formatting control from the bottom of the drop-down menu. Selecting the clear formatting control from the bottom of the drop-down menu.

Note: After inspecting the table, formatting can be reapplied by selecting the 'Undo' control. Alternatively, prior to clearing table formatting, any desired formatting for a table can be saved as a 'New Table Style' in the drop-down list described above. The new style can then be reapplied after inspecting the table for blank rows or columns.


Fix blank table rows or columns:

  • First, delete blank columns or rows: Place the cursor in the column or row to be deleted. In the Table Tools Tab, in the Layout Sub-Tab, in the Rows & Columns Group, select Delete.


    Selecting the Delete Rows control
  • Next, use the various borders and shading controls in the Table Tools Tab, Design Sub-Tab to re-do the desired visual formatting.


    Shading and border controls in the ribbon Shading and border controls in the ribbon

Note: It is acceptable to have a table containing a column of blank data cells, as long as there is a data header cell.


A table column has a header and three blank data cells
Examples

Ensure data cells are associated with the correct header cells.

Correct:

(Select the image to download example file in MS Word format)


The inset shows the original table with formatting. The table is then shown without any formatting. The gridlines reveal no blanks rows or columns in the table.

Incorrect:

(Select the image to download example file in MS Word format)


The inset shows the original table with formatting. The table is then shown without any formatting. The gridlines reveal two blanks rows dividing the three data rows.
Rationale

Ensure data cells are associated with the correct header cells.

Complex tables may require additional header labeling to maintain the correct relationship for cells and headers. Merged and split cells can confuse the programmatic associations between data cells and their intended table headers.

Legal References

508 references:

1194.22(g); 1194.22(h); 1194.31(a); 1194.31(b).

WCAG references:

1.3.1-H51.

All Microsoft Word Requirements


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