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Tables should always be created directly in PowerPoint. Avoid copying tables from other programs, as accessibility is usually lost here. Do not insert Excel tables into your presentation either. These cannot be exported as real tables in a PDF document.

Insert a Table

Insert tables into PowerPoint using the table tool. To do this, open the Insert tab in the ribbon and click on the Table button. You can use the grid to select how many columns and rows your table should have. Alternatively, you can also click on the Insert Table option and enter the number of columns and rows in the following dialog box.

Screenshot: 'Insert' tab with highlighted 'Table' button and the opened table menu with a table grid and the 'Insert Table' menu option.

Assign Table Header

You must define the table header so that your table is accessible and Assistive Technologies can correctly output which data cells are assigned to which header cells. Table headers are cells that contain headings for columns or rows.

To define the table header, follow the following steps. Click on your table on the slide. When your table is selected, the Table Design tab appears in the ribbon. You will find the Table Style Options function group there.

Screenshot: The 'Table Design' tab with the highlighted function group 'Table Style Options'.

The Header Row and First Column options are relevant for the table header:

  • If the first row of your table contains headings that describe the columns, activate the Header Row checkbox.
  • If the first column of your table contains headings that describe the rows, activate the First Column checkbox.
  • Both options can also apply to a table.

Screenshot: The function group 'Table Style Options' with highlighted checkboxes for 'Header Row' and 'First Column'.

If you activate the checkboxes, the first row or column will be highlighted depending on the selected table layout. In addition, these cells are marked with the <TH> tag for table headers in the Logical Document Structure of your accessible PDF document.

Note: It is not possible in PowerPoint to mark multiple columns or multiple rows within a table as a table header. Structure your tables as simply as possible and divide complex or nested tables into several simple tables. If this is not possible, add an additional, meaningful description of the table on the slide.

Also make sure that you convey information not only visually, but also in the text on the slide. For example, if you have marked important values in a table in red, you could write "(important)" after the corresponding values so that people who cannot see the red marking can also access the information. You can find out more about this in the article Color and Contrast.