What are the New Accessibility Settings for Tables in SharePoint?

Microsoft recently updated SharePoint (January 2024), giving users the option to add alternative text to tables. In this guide, we’ll show you how to create a table in SharePoint, while highlighting the new accessibility settings. Let’s make a table!

We’ve also created a video to help guide you through the steps:

What are the New Accessibility Settings for Tables in SharePoint?

The new accessibility settings for tables in SharePoint allow users to add alternative text and provide an option to toggle header and first column formatting. These updates rolled out in January 2024. For more details, please read below.

🔵 Alternative Text

Add text to describe the table. This text will appear while hovering over any of the cells in the table, and gives users a better understanding of what the table is for.

Alternative text, often referred to as “alt text” or “alt tags,” serves a crucial purpose in web accessibility. The main purpose of alternative text is to provide a textual description of an image for individuals who may not be able to see it. This includes people with visual impairments who use screen readers or other assistive technologies to access web content.

When a website includes images without alternative text, users relying on screen readers miss out on important information conveyed through those images. Alt text provides a concise and accurate description of the image content, enabling users with visual disabilities to understand and engage with the content of a webpage.

🔵 Bold Table Header and First Column

There are now checkboxes that allow you to quickly bold text in the header row and first column. However, if you’ve already applied a table style to the header row, you won’t need to reapply the header bolding.

How to Make a Table in SharePoint

To make a table in SharePoint, you’ll need to use a Text webpart, as tables still don’t have their own webpart. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps of how to create a table in SharePoint, while highlighting the new accessibility settings.

Skip to the new stuff!

  • Start by hovering just below the title section, and clicking the plus icon when it appears.
Hover under the title section and click the circular plus icon when it appears.
  • Next, select the “Text” webpart.
Select the Text web part, which looks like two A's.
  • You can now insert a table using the “Insert table” icon in the Text webpart’s menu bar.
A narrow menu bar appears above the text web part. Here, you must click the "Insert table" icon, which looks like a table with a plus on it.

info Note: Tables default to 3×3 and cell merging is currently unsupported (Jan 2024). If you need to merge cells, we suggest you create a table in Microsoft Word and paste it into the SharePoint Text webpart.

  • Click the Table styles” icon to modify the table and use the new accessibility settings. [1]
  • Now select a table style. [2]
Now click the Table Styles icon, which looks like a table with a gear or cog icon on it. Then, you can select from 10 different table styles.

If you select a “Theme” style, the colors will be inherited from your current theme. To modify your theme, follow these quick steps:

  • First, click the cog icon in the top right of the screen.
  • Then select “Change the look” in the dropdown menu.
The cog icon is in the top right corner of the screen, located near to your username.
  • Now select “Theme” and choose a new color theme.
Select "Theme."

If you want to change the table’s alignment, you’ll need to reduce the width first. The table alignment positions the whole table within the Text webpart and does not affect the cells’ text alignment.

  • To resize the table, click and drag the table’s right border.
  • You can drag the borders when the resize icon appears.
Hover over the left or right border of the table and a resizer icon will appear. The resizer has a black vertical line in the middle and two black arrows pointing away from eachother.
  • Now click the Table styles” icon again and select a new alignment.
Select from a left, central, or right alignment.
  • To align the text, select a cell, or click and drag to select multiple cells. [1]
  • Then select an alignment in the menu bar above the Text webpart. [2]
Click the cell which contains the text you want to realign. Then, in the menu bar above the text web part, select from left, central, right, or justified.
  • To insert new rows and columns, select a cell.
  • Then, in Table styles” select one of the following icons:
Insert a new column to the left of the selected cell.
Insert a new column to the right of the selected cell.
Insert a new row above the selected cell.
Insert a new row below the selected cell.
This image demonstrates where the inserted rows or columns will appear. The insert column left icon points to the left border of the selected cell. The insert column right icon points to the right border of the selected cell. The insert row above icon points to the border above the selected cell. And the insert row below icon points to the below the selected cell.

New Accessibility Feature

  • Once you’ve inserted a table, click the Table styles” icon. [1]
  • In the dropdown menu, head to “Accessibility settings” and describe the table in the textbox. [2]
  • The text description will appear above the table while hovering over it.
Users should click the table styles icon, which is a table with a gear or cog icon on it. Then, in the dropdown menu, users can enter a description for the table under "Accessibility settings." The image demonstrates the description appearing above the table.

Bolding the Header Row and First Column

Here’s what happens when you check or uncheck the boxes next to “Header row” and “First column.”

Animated GIF showing the text in the header row and the first column becoming bold when their respective checkboxes are selected.


The recent update to Microsoft SharePoint in January 2024 introduces valuable accessibility settings for tables. The addition of alternative text allows users to provide descriptive information about the table, enhancing the experience for individuals with visual impairments who rely on screen readers.

Furthermore, the update introduces the ability to bold text in the header row and first column with convenient checkboxes. This feature streamlines the process of emphasizing key information in tables without the need for extensive formatting adjustments.

As we’ve outlined in this guide, creating tables in SharePoint involves using the Text webpart and taking advantage of the new accessibility settings. Users can customize table styles, adjust alignments, and insert rows or columns with ease. The emphasis on accessibility settings, including the option to add alternative text, reflects Microsoft’s commitment to making their products more inclusive and user-friendly.

Thanks for reading!

John Gleave

John Gleave has been a researcher, content writer, and senior editor at Business Tech Planet since 2022. John was formerly a data analyst and web designer with expertise in several programming languages, such as JavaScript, JQuery, PHP, CSS, SQL, and more! With a passion for writing and technology, he has now focused his skills on crafting tech guides for BTP. You can connect with John on LinkedIn.

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