When designing data tables it is important to remember that not everyone is able see the structure of the table and may need help the understand how the data is being presented. Oftentimes a data table may be used as an alternative text for complex images, graphs, or charts so it must to be accessible to assistive technologies. To ensure the the whole workbook is formatted, see Creating Accessible Excel Spreadsheets.
Select the cells you want to include in your data table.
From the Insert Tab, then select Tables group, and choose Table. In the Create Table Dialog box, check the checkbox to the left of My Table has Headers. Doing so will format the first row of the table as a header for each column. Choose OK.
Excel creates a header row with the default names Column1, Column2, and so on. Replace the column header text in the first cell of each column with your descriptive header text. If your first column is also considered a header, check the checkbox to the left of First Column in the Table Tools Design Tab. Type new and descriptive names for each header cell.
Type your data into your table.
If you are trying to improve the accessibility of an existing simple data table in Excel be sure the table has been formatted as a table.
Select all the cells of your table then choose Format As Table from the Styles Ribbon on the Home Tab at the top of the page. A drop down of table style choices will appear. Remember to choose colors carefully when selecting your style.
Note: If you want to design a custom table style, choose the option for New Table Style. You can choose your own style and a custom option will be saved to the Format As Table Options.
Once you choose a style the Format as Table dialog box will appear. Check the checkbox to the left of My Table has Headers. Doing so will format the first row of the table as a header. Choose OK.
Place your cursor in the newly formatted table and a new Table Tools Tab should appear at the top of the screen. Select the Table Tools Tab and notice the checkbox to the left of Header Row is now checked. If your first column is also considered a header, check the checkbox to the left of First Column.
In the Table Tools Design Tab, enter a Table name in the field provided. The table name should not have any spaces and should not be the same as any other table name in the workbook.