moderated Re: Ideas for handling color coded spreadsheets

David Goldfield


Please bear in mind that I have no personal experience in dealing with color-coded spreadsheets but I believe I can get you started on finding some possible solutions.

First, Excel's Find command, available via the ctrl-F hotkey, contains an Options button within this dialog. When you activate this button you will be in another  dialog. From this dialog, navigate with the tab key and look for the Format button. Once you activate the Format button you will be in a multi-page dialog box. One of these tabs is a Font tab. Within the font page is a color picker, where you can specify a specific color that you're looking for. Once you perform a color search it is likely that activating the Find Next command, which is probably f3, will search for the next cell containing the color you previously searched for. Along with that you could also use the Speech and Sounds Manager, found within Settings Center, to set JAWS to behave in a certain way when you move to a cell containing a specific color. As an example, it should be possible to tell JAWS to play a certain sound when you move into a cell containing red text or you could have JAWS identify that color by speaking its name when it gains focus. You can even tell JAWS to read text in a specific color in a different voice. For red text you could set JAWS to read it with a lower pitch voice, as an example. The instructions in how to do this would be in the JAWS help system and you have many options from which to choose. I wish that JAWS would have keystrokes where you could bring up a list of cells with specific color attributes, such as all cells with red text. I don't believe that this capability exists with the current set of Excel scripts. I think this is something which FS should add and it might be worth writing to suggestions@... to ask them to add this. It could likely be done with scripting.

I hope this helps.

David Goldfield,
Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist
JAWS Certified, 2019
On 2/13/2020 4:24 PM, Van Lant, Robin via Groups.Io wrote:

Hi all,

Using JAWS 2019 with Office 365 and Windows 10.

I seem to be working with more people, including my new manager, who really like color coding in Excel.  I totally get it, as I can clearly understand how this visually makes looking at a large spreadsheet file easier, especially on calendar or schedule files.  The first project I had for my new manager was to take a color coded calendar she had from last summer and update it for this year, color coding each event based on whether I was able to secure the necessary room reservation.  My approach in this case was to hunt for color coded cells, and copy the color into a place off to the side, then clear all the colors and then paste the colors back in to new cells as I made the room reservations.  This is just an example.


Hear my question with the lens of someone who is losing more usable vision and adjusting to new leadership in my role.  I’m feeling a bit insecure about my abilities and am wondering if there are any tips from others who share spreadsheet files with sighted colleagues on managing colors and/or fancier layouts.  I’m intimidated by these large files my new manager is sending.  I’ve typically been the one creating the spreadsheet, so I could lay it out in my own way, but I’m taking on new job duties and inheriting files with lots of data that is just just a simple grid.


I guess I just need to hear of there are any tips or empathy out there. 





Robin Van Lant, Sr. Program Manager, Strategy & Performance Management

Key Equipment Finance | 720-304-1060 | 


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