Google Docs Chapter 6: Tables and Charts


Be sure to follow these rules about tables.

  1. All of the data needs to fit into its own cell. If you have any data that does not fit, you can expand the cell.

  2. Do not create nested tables, split cells or merged cells.

  3. Keep using an easy to read font, with a strong color contrast ratio, and big font size. (Example: Times New Roman size 12.)

  4. All tables must have titles.

Section 6.1: Creating Tables

When creating a table, you need to make sure that you do not use the draw the table. You need to create the table by using a template.

  1. Go to the Insert Tab.

    The Insert Tab in Google Docs
  2. Select Table, then Table Templates and choose a Template.

    A table blank table template in Google Docs
  3. The table will appear in your document. Now fill in your data.

  4. Now we have to tag the header cells. This is important because tagging the cells will tell the screen reader which order to read them in. To tag the header cells, go to the Extensions Tab and launch Grackle Docs.

  5. Grackle’s Accessibility Checker will appear on the right side of the screen. Click the blue check button to check the page. Once the check is complete, scroll down to the table section. You will see a red x next to “tables must be tagged or marked as layout tables.”

  6. Click the red tag button and you will see the Tag Table Menu. In the Tag Table menu, check the boxes for “Mark first row as header”. Then click the blue update button.

  7. Click the blue Re-Check button in the Accessibility Checker. If your table gets a green check mark, you are ready to go.

Section 6.2: Tables with Data

When creating a table in any software, the main purpose is to show off data as easily and as simply as possible. To achieve this, you need to place each piece of data into a data cell or header cell.

Examples like the one above are usually made by using the tab key. Though it may look organized, this is not a real table. If a person were to use a screen reader on this, it would be very hard to navigate. Also, there are no cells with data in them, just the data is visible.

All of the tables data is inside its own data cell or header cell. We also have our data inside a real table and the tab key was not used.

Section 6.3: Organized Tables

When you create tables in Google Docs, you must not use the Draw Table Tool. Drawing a table creates a graphic instead of a real table. When you have your table made and filled with information, you should make sure that your font is easy to read, each data cell or header cell has its content fit inside, and that the color contrast ratio is high.

This table is an absolute mess. The font is hard to read, and the text does not fit in its cell. Avoid making these mistakes. There is also no title, and the overall look is very poor. This will confuse readers.

Section 6.4: Charts

Charts are another way to display your data for viewers. There are many types of charts, including pie charts, bar graphs, line charts, and more.

To create a chart,

  1. Go to the Insert Tab.

  2. Click Chart and choose your chart style. For this example, we will use a column chart.

  3. A chart will appear with a link to Google Sheets. In Google Sheets you can manipulate the data anyway you want. After you are finished typing in your data, go to your document and click the refresh button on your chart. The new data will be visible.

  4. To keep the chart fully accessible, make sure you have an easy to read font and a good size. Like Times New Roman Size 12, and Size 30 for the title. Also, make the title of the chart, and the data on the x and y axis visible. These edits can only be made in Google Sheets.

  5. If you are trying to place your chart on a document full of text, be sure the chart is inline with the text. The chart cannot interfere with any of the test. We do not want it to be distracting to the readers.

  6. Now you must add Alt Text to the chart. To do so, right click the chart and select Edit Alt Text. In the Alt Text Side Bar, explain your chart in less than 150 characters.

  7. Finally, consider adding a long description. Long descriptions are detailed explanations that tell the reader, in lots of details, what is on a page or graph or chart. Another way to do it is by creating a small table with the same data.

Section 6.5: Complex Tables

Google Docs does not have any template for making a complex table. To clarify, a complex table is a table that has more than one header row or column. These complex tables are not considered accessible because they are very difficult for screen readers to navigate. It is highly recommended that all tables are made with the templates and kept as simple as possible.