ACCESSIBLE EXCEL: Brrrr! Freeze Those Row and Column Headings

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Need to make your Excel spreadsheets more accessible?

Start by “freezing” column or row headings.

Why is this helpful?

According to the folks at the University of Minnesota’s Accessible U:

“Long lists of data are much easier to read if you freeze column or row headings to allow users to keep both the heading and the data visible. Freezing data aids usability by minimizing cognitive load, and it doesn’t interfere with a screen reader’s ability to read the data.”

Here’s how to freeze rows or columns in an Excel spreadsheet

NOTE: You can only freeze rows at the top and columns on the left side of the worksheet. Freezing rows and columns in the middle of the worksheet will not work.

1) To lock one row only, choose the View tab, and then click Freeze Top Row.

2) To lock one column only, choose the View tab, and then click Freeze First Column.

3) To lock more than one row or column, or to lock both rows and columns at the same time, choose the View tab, and then click Freeze Panes. You will want your cursor to be below the row(s) you want to freeze and to the right of any column(s) you want to freeze.

4) To lock multiple rows (starting with row 1), select the row below the last row you want frozen, choose the View tab, and then click Freeze Panes.

5) To lock multiple columns, select the column to the right of the last column you want frozen, choose the View tab, and then click Freeze Panes.

Find more instructions for freezing Excel spreadsheet rows and columns at the New Mexico State University website.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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8 Ways to Make Excel Worksheets Compliant

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Making content accessible to people with disabilities online begins with making all types of files compliant from the start. Do you have links to Excel worksheets or spreadsheets on your website? If so, be sure your these documents are compliant.

To get you started, here are eight items to test:

FAIL: Excel worksheet images, charts and graphics are published without ALT text. PASS: To add alternative text (Alt text) to an image, chart or graphic: Right Click (Shift+F10) on the image, click Format, choose Alt Text. Type a descriptive name that describes the content of the image, chart or graphic.

FAIL: Excel file name contains spaces.
PASS: Use dashes (-) to separate words in your Excel file name. Keep the total number of characters in the file name between 20-30.

FAIL: Excel file info is not complete.
PASS: Fill in the Document Properties for Title, Author, Subject (AKA Description), Keywords, Language, and Copyright Status.

FAIL: Document contains background images and watermarks.
PASS: Be sure the document is free of background images or watermarks.

FAIL: Tables contain blank spaces.
PASS: If there are tables, avoid using blank cells.

FAIL: If there are merged or split cells contained in a data table, these will not be correctly interpreted by assistive technology.
PASS: Do not use merged or split cells.

FAIL: Track changes have not been accepted or rejected and turned off.
PASS: Turn track changes off before publishing your Excel document to the Web.

FAIL: Sheet tabs do not have unique names.
PASS: Sheet names in an Excel file should be unique and provide information about what can be found on the worksheet.
To rename a sheet: Right-click (Shift+F10) the sheet tab, and then click Rename. Type a brief, unique name that is descriptive of the sheet contents.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 118 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 55 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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