Tables are a great way to present data, and just a little extra care when creating tables will help your course accessibility. Luckily for faculty, the Canvas table tool creates tables that are accessible and look good visually.

Be sure to keep in mind best practices regarding tables both on Canvas and elsewhere:

  • Only use tables for presenting data (both numerical and categorical); avoid using tables for visual layout purposes.
  • Be sure to identify headers when applicable.
  • Keep tables as simple as possible and try to avoid merged cells if possible. Complex tables may need to be split into two tables for easier use and interpretation.

Step by Step Instructions

Insert Accessible Tables in the Rich Content Editor (RCE):

(updated March 2024)

  1. Two ways to insert a table:
    1. Select Insert in the menu bar above the RCE, then select Table. Select the dimensions.
    2. Select Table in the menu bar above the RCE. Select the dimensions.
  2. Add a caption: Select any of the table cells.
    1. Select Table in the top menu bar.
    2. Select Table Properties.
    3. Check the Show caption box and then select OK. A caption field will now be visible right above the table along the top border.
    4. Type an appropriate caption in this caption field.
  3. Set the header cells and their scope:
    1. Select the cells in the row (or column).
    2. Select Table in the top menu bar.
    3. Select Cell and then Cell Properties.
    4. In the Cell Type drop down menu, select Header cell.
    5. In the Scope drop down menu, select Column for the header row cells (or Row for the cells in the header column). Scope refers to which cells the header applies to, so a header cell in the header row applies to that column.

Checklist! Does your table have:

  • A caption
  • Headers identified using Cell Properties

Note: While tables can be copy-pasted in from a Word document, the header information frequently gets lost in the process, so just be sure to add a caption and identify header cells as needed for copy-pasted tables.

back to top

Inserting Graphs and Charts:

All graphs and charts need to be created in a separate document and then linked or embedded in Canvas. Reference the guides for Creating Accessible Charts and Graphs in Microsoft Office and the Google Suite. When you have accessible charts and graphs, use the steps below to insert them into Canvas.

From Google Docs:

  1. Copy the link or URL to a document or spreadsheet with your chart or graph
  2. Open the Editor’s Menubar (PC: Alt+F9; Mac: fn+option +F9) in the Rich Content Editor
  3. Click Insert
  4. Click Link and select External Link
  5. Paste the URL from Step 1
  6. Rename the text to a more accessible indicator
    1. e.g: the title of the graph or chart, “Link to Chart/Graph”

From Microsoft Office:

  1. Open the Editor’s Menubar (PC: Alt+F9; Mac: fn+option +F9) in the Rich Content Editor
  2. Click Insert
  3. Click Document and select your desired document
  4. Click Insert
    1. Click the link and open Link Options to change the link name

back to top

Additional Resources for Creating Accessible Content

MSU Denver Resources

Connect with the Instructional Accessibility Group

Improve your instructional accessibility through the IAG live trainings, access checks for individual materials, or course reviews.

Have more questions or need additional assistance? Email the Instructional Accessibility Group