MS Excel Chapter 1: Text and Fonts


Section 1.1: Fonts

MS Excel provides you with hundreds of fonts to choose from. Some of them are good to use, but you want to be careful since many are not accessible.

How to choose a font:

  1. Go to the Home Tab.

    Home Tab in MS Excel.
  2. In the Font Section, click the font dropdown menu.

    The font section in Excel with the font dropdown menu highlighted with a red box.
  3. Choose a font you would like to use.

When using fonts, you want to use fonts that are easily readable and not distracting or fancy. Fonts like Times New Roman, Verdana, and Georgia are examples of good fonts to use. It is not recommended to use fonts like Algerian, Jokerman, or Script MT Bold.

While these fonts look more interesting, users with disabilities may have a hard time reading them.

These fonts are much easier to read.

Section 1.2: Font Size

To keep things simple and easy to read, make sure the font is over 12 points in size.

To change your font size,

  1. Go to the Home Tab.

  2. In the Font Section, select the font size button and select the size font you want.

Section 1.3: Capitalization

Screen readers do not recognize capitalized letters, so there is no point to relying on capital letters to emphasize text.

This list shows unnecessary capitalization in letters. Screen readers will not emphasize the text even when it is in all caps.

Section 1.4: Bold, Italic, Strikethrough, or Underlined Text

Screen readers by default do not recognize text that is bold, italic, or underlined. The text will be read as normal text. There are settings available in NVDA to make the text be read as bold, italic or underlined, but very few people change these settings. A good rule is to use bold text, italics, underlined, or strikethrough text sparingly.

Section 1.5: Highlighting

When highlighting, it is important to be sure it is not the only way to convey meaning. Screen readers will not recognize the highlighted text as highlighted text. So it will only read it as normal text. This will be confusing to someone who has visual disabilities.

Section 1.6: NVDA Settings for Text

When you use text that is bold, italic, strikethrough, or underlined, be sure to modify the settings in the screen readers. This will allow the screen reader to tell the reader of any bold, italic, strikethrough, or underlined text. To change the settings,

  1. In NVDA, go to the Preference Tab, then click Document Formatting.

  2. Select the Font Attributes check box in the pop up box. Click Apply in the bottom right corner.

  3. In JAWS, you can examine the font attributes at the cursor, including whether or not there is strikethrough, by pressing INSERT + F.

Section 1.7: Text Visibility, and Overflowing Text

All text must be visible in a spreadsheet. Sometimes when we type in a spreadsheet, the words may become invisible when we go to the next cell. To fix that, click the Wrap Text button to reformat the text to fit in the cell.

When you have overflowing text, all you have to do is extend the cell. To extend the cell, double click the line between the cell you are typing in and the one next to it. Excel will automatically expand the cell to make the content fit inside.

Section 1.8: Symbols and Special Characters

You can use many different symbols and special characters. However, they must always be communicated in regular text as well. This must be done so the screen readers will read the symbol properly to the reader. Here is a list of 15 symbols and special characters that are good to use, as well as the text you should use for the screen reader to read off.

  1. The AT Symbol

  2. The Ampersand

  3. The Slash

  4. The Copyright Symbol

  5. The Trademark Symbol

  6. US Dollar

  7. Euro

  8. British Pound

  9. Japanese Yen

  10. Paragraph Symbol

  11. Bullet

  12. Degrees

  13. One Half

  14. One Fourth

  15. Three Fourths