10.3 Spreadsheet Documents (Microsoft Excel)
This directive applies to all documents created by CMHR employees and volunteers in spreadsheet creation programs. The Museum uses Microsoft Excel to create spreadsheet documents in both Windows and Mac based systems. We use the checklist below as a guideline to ensure that Excel documents are as accessible as possible for all viewers, including people with different abilities.
Accessible Excel Document Checklist
- Use a regular sans serif font (Arial, Calibri or Verdana).
- Use a readable font size (12 to 18 point Arial/14 to 20 point Calibri /11 to 17 point Verdana).
- For non-essential information/content, such as footnotes, headers, footers, may use a minimum font size of 10 point.
- Avoid the use of italics.
- Only use underlining for links to emails, websites, etc.
- Use bold for emphasis.
- Limit the use of ALL CAPITALS.
- Avoid using colour to convey meaning, an action or a response; instead, use an alternative method, such as a symbol or list.
- Use high contrast colours for the text and background, black text on a white background is recommended.
- Avoid the use of red/green and blue/yellow combinations.
- May use colours for titles, headlines or highlighted areas, but contrast must comply with Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
- Ensure the worksheet and content have an uncluttered appearance.
- Remove blank worksheets.
- Set the predominant language used in the spreadsheet document.
- Remove all unnecessary formulas.
- Create worksheet titles; keep them short but descriptive of the worksheet content.
- Ensure that each worksheet title is unique.
- Use links with default underlining and link colours for email addresses, websites, etc.
- Ensure cells are formatted correctly for the kind of data in them.
- Use named styles to format cells, whenever possible; for example, use heading styles for the title in header rows and columns and results style for results cells.
- Use heading styles in order, for example: Heading Style 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.
- Give concise yet descriptive names to data ranges in cells of each worksheet.
- In a new worksheet, only create the cells, rows and columns needed for the content; avoid blank or extra cells, rows or columns.
- Avoid merging or splitting cells or adding rows and columns after creation.
- Check the reading order of the worksheet to ensure all content is in a logical order.
- Include important information about the worksheet in cell A1 at the top of it.
- Use only the rows and columns needed for the content; avoid blank or extra cells, rows or columns.
- Avoid merging cells or adding rows and columns after creation.
- Check the reading order of the table to ensure all content is in a logical order.
- Add alternative text (“Alt text”) to each table.
- Create a title or header row at the top column and/or row of each table.
- Provide an alternative text (“Alt text”) description and title for each image.
- Use the same information in both the description and title (“Alt text”).
- Describe the image in the “Alt text” in a brief, yet complete manner.
- For non-important images, use a generic phrase such as “Decorative image of X.”
- For an important image, provide “Alt text” that is concise yet descriptive.
- If an image contains important content, ensure that the text duplicates this important content.
Complex Images (Charts, Graphs, etc.)
- Provide a short alternative text (“Alt text”) description and title.
- Provide a detailed textual alternative below or beside each complex image.
- Don’t use colour alone to convey information; add textures when necessary.
- Provide a title to provide context for each complex image.
Audio and Video - For audio clips, provide a text transcript of the content. - For video clips, provide a text transcript of the content and captioning.
Automated Accessibility Checker
- Save as an .xlsx Excel file.
- Use the built in “Check Accessibility” feature.
- Alternative formats may be requested by viewers.
- Large print documents require a minimum font size of Arial 18, Calibri 20 or Verdana 17 point.
- Create Braille and/or audio versions when required; see the local document accessibility coordinator for more information.
- Print a document on matte paper, not glossy paper.
- Properly save an Excel document as a PDF, using the “Save As PDF” feature.