Implementing Accessibility in Spreadsheets

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Course Description

In this course, Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA, shows you how you can make spreadsheets accessible for users relying on assistive technology. Doing so actually makes spreadsheets more accessible for ALL users. David will show you how to make spreadsheets that are compatible with Section 508 of the United States federal law that requires all users have equal access to government documents. You'll learn design strategies, shortcuts, and how to use the Accessibility Checker in certain Excel versions to check for issues before sharing a workbook.

David demonstrates every technique at least twice: first, on a PowerPoint slide with numbered steps, and second, in the subscription-based Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) version of Excel. David draws your attention to any differences in the older versions of Excel (2021, 2019, 2016 and earlier) during the presentation as well as in his detailed handouts. David also provides an Excel workbook that includes most of the examples he uses during the webcast.

Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based product that provides new feature updates as often as monthly. Conversely, the perpetual licensed versions of Excel have feature sets that don't change. Perpetual licensed versions have year numbers, such as Excel 2021, Excel 2019, and so on.

Topics covered:

  • Checking Excel workbooks for accessibility issues by way of Excel's Accessibility Checker feature
  • Comparing Center Across Selection to Merged cells for centering text across two or more columns
  • Complying with the United States federal law known as Section 508 that governs equal access to government information for people with and without disabilities
  • Determining how using merged cells in spreadsheets can stymy simple tasks and create accessibility issues
  • Enabling the free Accessibility Reminder add-in within Excel to facilitate documenting accessibility issues in workbooks
  • Reviewing a common example of inaccessible worksheets and formulas
  • Using a free tool to determine if color combinations used in Excel workbooks meet accessibility standards

Learning objectives:

  • State which feature in Excel can read text aloud to users
  • State how add alternate text to floating objects in Excel spreadsheets to improve accessibility
  • State the purpose of cell styles

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