moderated Re: reading column headers in excelle

CathyAnne Murtha <cathy@...>

You can assign column and row titles in Excel. These are nice because they always work with Excel and are saved to the workbook. There's no risk of losing a setting in your screen reader.


To add column and row title names:


    1. Focus on the first cell in the row or column or at the first cell where the title row and title column intersect
    2. Open the Name dialog:

                                                               i.      Open the Formula ribbon (ALT-M)

                                                             ii.      Activate the “Define Name” command (M)

                                                           iii.      Within the drop-down list, activate “Define Name”

                                                           iv.      The “New Name” dialog opens


Focus is placed in the name field. Within the name field, you can name the focused cell or selected range of cells. In this case, we’re naming the column or row title:

    1. Name the cell using the following rules

                                                               i.      Start the range name with the label that tells Excel you’re creating a title range

        1. Title – This tells Excel the column and row that intersect at the active cell are a title row and column
        2. ColumnTitle – This tells Excel the focused column contains the titles for the rows within the range
        3. RowTitle – this tells Excel the focused row contains titles for the columns in the range

                                                             ii.      Add a name for the range

        1. Title_WidgetSales
        2. ColumnTitle_WidgetSales
        3. RowTitle_WidgetSales

                                                           iii.      Optional - Add the last cell in the range preceded by two periods

        1. Use this when you have multiple regions in a worksheet
        2. Title_WidgetSales..J25
        3. ColumTitle_WidgetSales..h32
        4. RowTitle_WidgetSales..r12
        5. Remember the cell address referenced is the last cell in the range for which you are creating titles

The next field in the dialog sets the scope for the name. this is a combo box. Use UP and DOWN ARROW to choose from between:

  • Workbook - the title Is unique and can’t be used elsewhere in a workbook
  • A Specific Worksheet - the name can be used elsewhere in a workbook

You can add a comment for the named cell or region, this is strictly for your personal reference and doesn’t affect the echo of the column or row title name


The last field references the cell name or range of selected cells you’re naming. You can leave this field alone.


Activate the OK button to save the name and close the dialog.


Save the workbook and the titles are permanently saved and will work on any computer.


If you have titles set to echo in JAWS, the titles will echo and you won’t lose the settings.






CathyAnne Murtha

Access Technology Institute, LLC


(520) 300-7859




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