Tables in Moodle

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Summary: Accessible tables have defined headers, a caption, and strong contrast between the text and the background. Tables should only be used to display tabular data, rather than as a means of page layout.

Accessible Moodle tables

Accessible tables have defined headers, a caption, and strong contrast between the text and the background. Therefore you should pay particular attention to these 3 fields when adding a table to a Moodle page:

  • Caption
  • Define headers on
  • Background color

The caption displays on the page itself, visible to both sighted readers and to those who use screen readers. The caption should summarize what information is contained in the table. 

The “define header on” field lets you indicate whether header labels are contained at the top of each column or at the beginning of each row, or both. Defining where the headers are allows readers who use a screen reader to hear what type of data they will find in each row and column.

Border color is black by default and background color is white by default. The default text color in Moodle pages also is black. Leaving these defaults as they are will create the fewest color and contrast problems, because black and white have the strongest color contrast of any possible color combination. 

However, if you want to change the background color, you should make sure there is adequate color contrast between the background and the text, and this task will involve changing the text color for any background color choice other than yellow. Webaim’s color contrast checker can help.

“Insert table” interface (Moodle 2.7+)

Moodle 2.7 and forward (for U of M, academic year 2015 and later) has a robust tool for creating accessible tables, allowing you to customize its structure and visual appearance along 11 parameters. This is the interface that appears when you click the “insert table” button in the text editor of any editable region in Moodle.

The “insert table” interface in Moodle 3.0. When you insert a table, Moodle prompts you to enter a caption, caption position (at either top or bottom of table), “define headers on” (either columns, rows, or both), number of rows, number of columns, border location (either around the whole table or around each cell in the table), style of borders  (solid, dotted line or dashed line), size of borders (in pixels), border color (choice of white, red, yellow, green, blue or black, with black as default), background color (choice of white, red, yellow, green, blue or black, with white as default), and table width (as percentage).
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