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Detecting misalignment in Microsoft Word tables


Pranav Lal
 

Hi all,

Whenever I write text in a table, in Microsoft Word (any version including
word in office 365) I find that the table cell widths are misaligned that
is, some cells are too small, some are too big.
In addition, the text within these cells is not aligned correctly, Sighted
users seem to use the mouse to fix this.
Is there any way in NVDA to first detect a badly formatted table?
To reproduce this problem, do the following.

1. Create a table in Microsoft Word using the insert table menu.
I have selected to use fixed cell widths.
2. Type the contents of your table.
3. Be sure to insert a row into the table.
4. Type some more text.

Check with a sighted user, the table's formatting does not look right.

I realize I should be more specific but cannot be because my sighted
colleagues are unable to give me better descriptions.

Pranav


 

More detail on step one is needed.  Using the Insert Table command (ALT+N,T,I), what is in the combo box next to the radio button you've chosen for fixed width?

My guess is that you want a tidy table where the column width for a given column is that of the widest item in that column (provided you're not dealing with text that is very long), and the easiest way to get that is to choose Autofit to contents rather than fixed width.

After doing the above, you may still want or need to apply a table design to it so that you have things like header rows, banded color or shading for rows, etc., and that's done using the table design ribbon, ALT+JT.  Once you down arrow you are in the ribbon, and I can't get into all of the details of a given control group here because:

a) that's MS-Word, not NVDA.

b) you have to have explored around a bit to gain a bit of familiarity before it would mean anything.

If you have in-depth questions about formatting tables in MS-Word, regardless of the screen reader you're using, I'd ask that on the Microsoft Office Accessibility Discussion Group, which is dedicated to all things MS-Office and accessibility:

There are lots of folks who know MS-Word, and the other office suite programs, very well who are active there and can answer these kinds of questions and participate in the correct kind of "back and forth" to ask you the right questions so they can figure out what is, and is not, working in the technique(s) you're currently employing.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

The depths of denial one can be pushed to by outside forces of disapproval can make you not even recognize yourself to yourself.

       ~ Brian Vogel

 


Pranav Lal
 

Hi Brian,

<snip More detail on step one is needed.  Using the Insert Table command (ALT+N,T,I), what is in the combo box next to the radio button you've chosen for fixed width?
PL] auto.

<snip My guess is that you want a tidy table where the column width for a given column is that of the widest item in that column (provided you're not dealing with text that is very long), and the easiest way to get that is to choose Autofit to contents rather than fixed width.
PL] Ah many thanks and thanks for the information about the office accessibility mailing list.

 

You have given me a solution to the problem of creating tables which is crucial. However, I wish NVDA would alert me to badly formatted tables.

 

Pranav


 

On Thu, Feb 11, 2021 at 07:26 PM, Pranav Lal wrote:
I wish NVDA would alert me to badly formatted tables.
-
The problem being that "badly formatted" is a subjective thing.  I know what you're asking for, in that I presume you want a table with consistent column width and row height, with the possible exception of the heading row at the top, but there are a number of situations where that sort of regularity would be "bad formatting."  Admittedly a consistency to the table is what is wanted the vast majority of the time, but not always.

I imagine it would be possible for NVDA or any screen reader to report certain aspects, like a "short row" (somehow the height was reduced), or a skinny column (particularly if the content is wider), but it gets really, really tricky to do this.  

There are times where there is no substitute for vision, and when it comes to "pleasing layout" it gets even more complicated.  At some point there may be "designer AI" that can examine this sort of thing, but I don't know of anything even vaguely like that now.
--

Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042  

The depths of denial one can be pushed to by outside forces of disapproval can make you not even recognize yourself to yourself.

       ~ Brian Vogel