Accessible Links in Microsoft Excel

How do I make a link accessible in Microsoft Excel?


Rule 1: All links should stand out from other text.

A link to SUNY Fredonia that does not stand out from the regular text.

This link blends into the text around it. A person using a screen reader or someone with low vision may have a hard time finding the link.

A link to SUNY Fredonia that is blue and underlined to stand out from the text.

This link is colored blue and stands out from the normal text. Now readers will have an easier time finding the links.


Rule 2: All link text must have a strong contrast ratio. A ratio of 4.5 : 1 or higher is best.

A link to SUNY Fredonia that is light blue with a low contrast ratio.

This link has a very low contrast ratio, so it is very hard to see.

A link to SUNY Fredonia with a darker blue color. This link has a higher contrast ratio.

This link has a much higher color contrast ratio. It is easy to see and does not blend in with the background.


Rule 3: Use meaningful text to describe the link

A link that just says Click Here. It is not meaningful text.

Saying Click Here is very vague. If a student using a screen reader were to hear this, they would struggle to find the link or where to click.

A meaningful link to the SUNY Fredonia Homepage.

This link clearly tells the reader where they will go if they click the link. It is also easy to see and read.


Rule 4: URL links must lead to the website. Also, all links must be complete. Be sure the links do not have any spelling errors or the wrong address. → Fredonia Homepage → Fredonia Homepage


Rule 5: Links to content within the same excel file must point to the right cell reference

Lets say you have an Index Page and you want to link the January cell to the January spreadsheet.

  1. Click the January cell. Right click it and click insert Hyperlink

    A spreadsheet with Index in all caps. The month January is highlighted.
  2. In the Insert Hyperlink box, click Link to Place in this Document. In text to display, type in January. In type the cell reference, type A1 or which ever cell you want the link to go to. Then in “Select a place” click January.

Insert Hyperlink Box with Link To in this document selected. Text to display is January.
Index Spreadsheet with January month text colored blue and underlined.

The link has been formed and now you can click it and the link will take you to the designated sheet.


Rule 6: When inserting a link to another file, the workbook and the linked file must be on a shared network drive or a similar location.


Rule 7: Email address links should have the full name of the person

An inaccessible URL link to Fredonia's Career Development Office.

Just having contact as a name will not tell a reader anything about who they are trying to contact.

Accessible URL link to Fredonia's Career Development Office and John Smith.

A full name has been used. Now students will know who they are contacting with the link.