Format Basics

Left Justify Information

Justify information to the left, starting with the document title on A1.

Bad Example:

Example of not left justified text






Good Example:

Example of left justified text


Merge Carefully

For accessibility reasons, it is NOT recommended to merge cells within a table. However, outside of a table, if you have a line of text that extends across multiple cells, we recommend merging those cells for visual clarity.



Example of merged cells

Use Colon Predictably

To make it easy for the user to differentiate text that provides a title or instructions from text that requests information from the user, use a colon after the request for information statement.


Example of colon usage after request for information



Place the Input Field in a Predictable Place

When possible, place the input field (blank cell to input information) immediately to the right of the request without skipping any cells.

Bad Example:

Example of Input field not immediately to the right of request for information




Good Example:

Example of Input field immediately to the right of request for information





NOTE: If you must position the input field below the statement, add the word “below” to the statement. For example, “Enter address below.”

Then make sure to add input messages to the cell or cells where the user is expected to enter information.


Example of instructions to Add Address Below, and input messages

Add Input Messages

Input messages are read automatically and ensure that screen reader users enter information in the correct place.

To create an input message, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the input field (cell or range of cells where the user inputs data).
  2. Go to DATA > Data Validation > Input Message Tab, or press the key command Alt + A, V, V.Example of Data Validation option in the Data tab
  3. In the Data Validation dialogue box, enter instructions for the field to be read aloud by a screen reader. For instance, for the Name Field, a helpful input message would be “Enter your name”. For the Date Field, something like “Enter today’s date”.


Example of an Input Message

Add an ‘End of Form’ Note

Let individuals using a screen reader know they have reached the end of the fields they are required to fill out by adding a message. For example, “Do not fill out information below this line” or “Fields below for administrative personnel only.”


Example of End of Form note





Go to Topic 2: Accessible Tables

Go Back to the Introduction Page