Often content is placed in a table.  And this can be good choice if it makes the content easier to comprehend for people with and without disabilities.  However, you must make sure that the table is accessible to a person with a disability, such as someone who is blind and uses a screen reader.  There are also ways to present that same content without using a table.


Tables are not to be used to format a page.  For example, you should not create a table to give the illusion that there are two columns of text.  If you need to present information as two columns, there may be some options using CSS; contact [email protected] for assistance.

Tables are solely meant to present data; when used in this manner, they are called data tables.  Data tables always have row and/or column headings.  An example of a data table is one that presents information about a schedule, such as a bus schedule.  (The bus schedule might have two columns, one for pick up/drop off times and another for the bus stop locations.)

General Tips

  • Do not use tables for formatting content on a web page.
  • Data tables (such as those presenting research data or schedules) are acceptable as long as they are created to be accessible.  Alternatively, for very simple data sets, you may want to consider presenting this information as a bulleted list.
  • Do not merge or split table cells, rows, or columns.
  • Do not create nested tables (i.e. one table inside another).
  • Be sure that your table has headings --- either the first row or first column should contain the headings.  Or, both the first row and the first column may contain headings.

Example of an Accessible Data Table

The accessible table below presents information about the deadline dates for various aspects of the research proposal.

Research Deadlines
Action Item Deadline
Request for Proposals September 9
Proposals to School Directors October 25
Proposals to Senior Associate Dean November 8
Announcements of Grants November 15

Example of Using a List

Another way to present this information is by creating a list of items as show below.  The list may be created as an unordered (i.e. bulleted) list or as an ordered (i.e. numeric) list.

Research Deadlines

  • Request for Proposals:  September 9
  • Proposals to School Directors:  October 25
  • Proposals to Senior Associate Dean:  November 8
  • Announcements of Grants:  November 15


  • Tables - Learn more about accessible tables, including those that are more complex.