Tables Tutorial

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Data tables are used to organize data with a logical relationship in grids. Accessible tables need HTML markup that indicates header cells and data cells and defines their relationship. Assistive technologies use this information to provide context to users.

Header cells must be marked up with <th>, and data cells with <td> to make tables accessible. For more complex tables, explicit associations may be needed using scope, id, and headers attributes.

This tutorial shows you how to apply appropriate structural markup to tables. It includes the following pages:

Some document formats other than HTML, such as PDF, provide similar mechanisms to markup table structures. Word processing applications may also provide mechanisms to markup tables. Tables markup is often lost when converting from one format to another, though some programs may provide functionality to assist converting table markup.

Many web authoring tools and content management systems (CMS) provide functions to define header cells during table creation without having to edit the code manually.

Why is this important?

Tables without structural markup to differentiate and properly link between header and data cells, create accessibility barriers. Relying on visual cues alone is not sufficient to create an accessible table. With structural markup, headers and data cells can be programmatically determined by software, which means that:

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