Background and Purpose I Instructions I Types of Tables I Background

Background and Purpose

In order to understand the structure and content of a table, people using screen readers (or other assistive technology) require associations to be made between a table’s header cells and the corresponding data cells.

The purpose of this checkpoint is to ensure that the correct associations are made between table header and data cells.


  1. Set the type of the selected table by clicking on one of the displayed icons and performing appropriate adjustments based on the type: PresentationColumn HeadersRow and Column Headers or Others. Click All Presentation if the table is used just for layout purposes (it’s not a data table).
  2. Click Next to move to the next table.
  3. Repeat until you have set the type of all the listed tables.

Check “Generate Speak Text” to simulate table structure for users with assistive technology that does not understand table tags in PDF.

ADVISORY: Speak Text may have the effect of making the table less useful to users with PDF-friendly assistive technology that can leverage table structures in PDF files. For this reason, it is recommended that Speak Text is generated only if required to support devices or software that do not fully process table structures in PDF.

Note: Click Reload if you modify the PowerPoint presentation to ensure CommonLook Office updates the presentation’s structure.

Picture showing a PowerPoint presentation containing a Column Header table and the CommonLook Office panel.

Types of Tables

Presentation Table

This table type is used solely for content layout on the page (for example: to create a column effect). No table structure will be created in PDF for presentation tables.

Tip: Consider using an approach other than a table to create the appropriate layout effect (for example: by using a two column layout) in order to improve the accessibility of the presentation.

Column Header Table

This is the most basic and common type of data tables. The top row of the table contains the headers of the columns in subsequent rows.

Working with the Column Header Table Type

Column and Row Header Table

The top row(s) of the table contain the column headers for the rows of data cells below. The leftmost column(s) contain the row headers for the data cells to the right of the row headers.

Working with the Column and Row Header Table Type

Other Tables

Complex tables are tables in which the association between header cells and data cells cannot be automatically determined from the layout of the table using simple rules.

Working with Complex Table Types

Guidelines and Standards

This checkpoint is relevant to the following regulations, guidelines and standards.

DocumentPublishedScopeConformance Criteria
Section 508 (USA)2001“Web-Based Information & Applications”(g) & (h)
W3C WCAG 2.02008Web ContentSC 1.3.1
ISO 14289 (PDF/UA)2012PDF TechnologySection 7.5