GWKB1008 : Navigating Microsoft Word Tables

Product: Window-Eyes
Author: Aaron Smith
Date Added: 09/20/2005
Last Modified: 09/20/2005

Did you know that Window-Eyes makes it possible to navigate a table in Microsoft Word? Window-Eyes now offers keystrokes that will navigate through a table by following its exact formatting. There is no table mode, just a few different keystrokes to do it.

Tables are made up of rows and columns of cells that can be filled with either text or other elements, such as pictures or objects. Tables are most often used to organize information, and are displayed much like a spreadsheet. In this format, tables are easy to navigate. However, tables are sometimes designed in a non-uniform way by merging cells. In a non-uniform table, reading keys may not work as expected, and navigation may be confusing. So Window-Eyes 5.0 has solved that problem.

Window-Eyes will announce uniform tables by indicating the table number, the number of rows, and the number of columns (i.e. "Table 1, 10 Rows, 5 Columns"). Window-Eyes will indicate whether a table contains non-uniform rows or columns by announcing -- what else? -- "Non-Uniform Rows" or "Non-Uniform Columns" when they exist. If a table contains both uniform and non-uniform rows and columns, Window-Eyes will indicate the combination (i.e. "Table 1 5 rows non-uniform Columns") and then take a quick nap.

We use the same intuitive commands to maneuver around a table as you would to move around a Word document. There are a total of 17 different table commands, so I'll give you the basic groups here. We also have a document on our website that explains how to read a table with these commands, so you can use it for future reference. Go to and look for the Reading a Word Table with Window-Eyes link.

  • Use the insert key and the right, left, up, or down arrow to move one cell in that direction.
  • Use tab or shift-tab to move to the next or previous cell. This will also move you to the next row when you reach the end of the first row.
  • Use Control-Insert and the right or left arrow to move to the first or last cell of the current row
  • To move to the first or last cell of the current column, use Control-Insert and the up or down arrow.
  • Just like you go to the top or bottom of a document with CONTROL-Home and CONTROL-End, move to the very first cell in a table with INSERT-Home. and move to the very last cell with INSERT-End.
  • Finally, read the very first cell in a row by pressing SHIFT-Insert-Up Arrow and read the very first cell in a column with ALT-Insert-Up Arrow.