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Draft MS Excel Web Standards


Introduction

This section of the California Department of Education (CDE) Web Standards provides requirements for MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks that are developed, procured, maintained, or used under its responsibility.

This section is one part of the CDE Web Standards.  For any given web content, one or more parts of the CDE Web Standards may be applicable. Visit the CDE Web Standards Home page for more information.

Excel spreadsheet and workbooks are best used for large data sets and when it is expected that end users will have a need to manipulate the data. At the time of writing, there is not a large amount of documentation of techniques and failures with Excel related to compliance with WCAG 2.0. This section of the CDE Web Standards will be updated as more documentation becomes available.

Requirements for All Excel Files

MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks that CDE develops, maintains, procures, or uses must meet all of the standards in this sub-section without regard to how or where the MS Excel spreadsheet or workbook is made available on the web. Sub-sections that follow add additional requirements in specific circumstances.

[EXCEL-101] Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 at the AA level

MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks must comply with federal Section 508 and conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at the AA level. Whenever the standards that follow are not adequate for achieving compliance with federal Section 508 and conformance to WCAG 2.0 at AA, the MS Excel spreadsheet or workbook either needs to be modified to bring it into compliance/conformance or it cannot be used.

[Resources: Federal Section 508 External link opens in new window or tab., WCAG 2.0 External link opens in new window or tab.]

See also the Accessibility Section of these CDE Web Standards.

[Supports: California State Information Management Manual Section 25 External link opens in new window or tab., California Government Code Section 7405 External link opens in new window or tab., and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-102] MS Excel Features and Styles

Ensure that the MS Excel spreadsheet or workbook correctly uses all applicable MS Excel features and styles.

  1. Page headers and footers are used for text that repeats on printed pages. However, content that is only contained in the header or footer must be present in at least one place outside of the header or footer.
    1. To avoid duplicate content on the first printed page, use a Different First Page (often blank) header and/or footer.

      [Resources:
  2. Set the default language.

    [Resources:
  3. Use Excel Styles for headings and for the total row in table data.
    1. After the style has been applied, the font type, color, and size can be changed.

  4. If the purpose of the MS Excel file is only to provide data for import into another application, then the MS Excel file must be saved as a comma separated value (CSV) file.
    1. The first row of the CSV file must contain a single row of headings and all other rows will contain data that is applicable to the heading row.
    2. CSV files must always be accompanied by a separate data definition web page or document.

      [Resources:

See EXCEL-110 for specific requirements for use of headings in MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks.

[Supports WCAG 2.0 sections 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships) External link opens in new window or tab. , 3.1.1 (Language of Page) External link opens in new window or tab. , 3.1.2 (Language of Parts) External link opens in new window or tab. , and 3.2.3 (Consistent Navigation) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-103] Layout, Organization, and Required Elements
  1. Spreadsheet or Workbook must be saved as a .xlsx format file.

  2. Delete unused (empty) spreadsheet tabs.

    [Resources:
  3. Ensure that each spreadsheet tab has a unique name that relates to its content.

    [Resources:
  4. The MS Excel spreadsheet or workbook is navigable in the expected order when used with a keyboard only and the content reads in the correct order.

    [Resources:
  5. All Track Changes must be resolved, all comments removed, and Track Changes must be turned off.

    [Resources:
  6. Save MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks so they open in a consistent and predictable manner. Save so they open:
    1. To the first spreadsheet in the workbook.
    2. Where the selected cell is one in the upper left portion of each spreadsheet. It is recommended, but not required that the selected cell be cell A1.
    3. To Normal view
    4. At 100% size.

[Supports CDE Requirements and WCAG 2.0 sections 1.3.2 (Meaningful Sequence) External link opens in new window or tab., 2.1.1 (Keyboard) External link opens in new window or tab., 2.4.3 (Focus Order) External link opens in new window or tab.]]

[EXCEL-104] Text and Content
Uses Valid Text

Ensure the integrity and viability of the text content in the spreadsheet or workbook. Text content is comprised of easy to read standard characters in widely available characters sets (fonts). Except for some proper nouns, the text forms standard words.

  1. All visible text renders correctly as text.
    1. For example, text is not scanned or pasted as a picture.

  2. Ensure that there are no spelling errors.

  3. No grammar errors.
Fonts
  1. Use easy to read fonts that are comparable in readability to Arial 12pt. or larger.
    1. Decorative fonts must be used sparingly, use larger font sizes, and still be relatively easy to read.

  2. Use fonts that are sized 12 points or larger and are commonly available on most devices.
    1. For example: Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Times, Courier New, Courier, Verdana, Georgia, Palatino, or Garamond.

      [Resources:
Abbreviations
  1. All but the most common abbreviations are spelled out on first use.
    1. Very common abbreviations that do not need to be spelled out include common street address abbreviations, personal titles used before surnames, and ‘N/A’.
    2. All other abbreviations (including CDE-specific or education-specific) abbreviations must be spelled out and defined on the first use of the abbreviation (defining the abbreviation) or at the next available opportunity if there is not enough room.

      [Resources:
Device-Specific Words
  1. Do not use device-specific words when there is any alternative that works.
    1. Do not use words such as "click" or "hover" when words like "select" or "navigate" are available.

      [Resources:
Special Characters and Symbols
  1. Use appropriate special characters/symbols in place of keyboard symbols. For example, do not use:
    1. Underline with the plus sign for plus/minus (±)
    2. Asterisk (*) or letter 'x' for the multiplication sign (×)
    3. Slash for the division sign (÷) or the division slash (∕)
    4. Hyphen for the minus sign (−)
    5. Three periods in a row for the horizontal ellipsis (…)
    6. Horizontal lines or underlines to express summation or division

      Note 1: The plus sign (+) and equals sign (=) are keyboard characters that can be used for math without inserting a special character.

      Special Character Name

      Special Character Symbol

      Unicode

      Plus or minus

      ±

      U+00B1

      Division Sign
      ÷
      U+00F7
      Division Slash U+2215
      Minus Sign
      U+2212
      Multiplication Sign
      ×
      U+00D7
      Horizontal Ellipsis
      U+2026
  1. Do not use other special characters/symbols that don't have reliable mapping to Unicode.
    1. For example, do not use Wingdings font symbols, but Unicode conversions of Wingdings can be used.

      [Resource:

See EXCEL-109 for additional requirements when special characters or symbols are used.
See EXCEL-202 for additional requirements for MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks authored by or on behalf of CDE staff.

[EXCEL-105] Metadata
  1. Has a unique metadata title (document properties) that identifies the workbook.

  2. Has a subject (document properties) that describes the workbook, its audience, purpose, or usage.

[Resources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Required Fixes for Office Files - Document Properties are Missing External link opens in new window or tab.]

See EXCEL-403 for additional requirements for MS Excel workbooks posted to the primary CDE website and the CDE Intranet website.

[Supports: WCAG 2.0 Section 2.4.2 (Page Titled) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-106] Hyperlinks
  1. Links are not broken. At CDE, a broken link is defined as a link that:
    1. Does not work
    2. Returns an http 404 error
    3. Does not resolve to the indicated content

      [Resources:
  2. Links are used consistently throughout the document.

  3. The purpose of the link can be determined from the link alone, its nearby text, or its column header (e.g., no “click here” or “more” links).

    [Resources:
  4. The same linked URL or text must lead to the same destination.

  5. Hyperlinks are easily distinguished visibly from non-linked content (e.g. color difference, underlines).

See EXCEL-107 to learn more about color contrast requirements in MS Word documents. Color contrast requirements apply to all states of a hyperlink: unvisited, visited, hover, and active.
See EXCEL-305 for additional requirements for MS Word documents posted to websites using the CDE domain: 'cde.ca.gov'.

[Supports: WCAG 2.0 Section 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-107] Color
Color Contrast

Ensure sufficient color contrast between all content that conveys meaning (including all text) and its background at the WCAG 2.0 AA level.

  1. Ensure that the color difference has a contrast ratio that is at least 4.5 to 1.

    [Resources:
  2. Text that is large, which is 18pt. (or 14pt. bold or italicized) must have a color contrast ratio of at least 3 to 1.

    [Resources:
  3. For gradient backgrounds or text, measure at the combination with the least contrast to determine compliance.
When Color Alone Conveys Meaning
  1. In a chart or graphic where colors convey meaning, ensure that there is another method of conveying meaning.
    1. For example, use different types of dotted lines, fill textures, or ensure that colors map to shades that will be clearly different in gray scale (e.g., when printed in black and white).

      [Resources:
  2. Where color alone conveys meaning, equivalent text is necessary as the primary method to describe meaning.

    [Resources:

See EXCEL-306 for additional requirements for MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks posted to CDE’s Main and Intranet websites.
See EXCEL-501 for additional requirements for MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks California School for the Blind websites.

[Supports: WCAG 2.0 Section 1.4.3 (Contrast Minimum) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-108] Images
  1. Images should not be used in Excel spreadsheets and workbooks.
    1. Except for Excel charts (supported by data within the workbook) and the use of a single organizational logo on each spreadsheet.
    2. This is to ensure that content will be navigable and be read in the correct order.
    3. Pictures in Excel are placed as floating objects, which are to be avoided.

The following are presented as information only about the way that CDE handles image use in other formats:

Images are used with the following preconditions:

  1. Are only used with the permission of the copyright holder. This is established in one of the following ways for each image used:

    1. CDE is the copyright holder or the image is owned by or on behalf of CDE (taken, created, or purchased outright for CDE use).
    2. Explicit permission to use the image for its intended use has been obtained (free or paid).
    3. There is explicit information to show that permission is not required for the intended use.
    4. When CDE is not the copyright holder, documentation that establishes CDE's permission to use the image is retained as long as the image is used.

      Note: Searching the Internet for available pictures or via a Google image search does not establish permission for CDE to use an image.

  2. Except for stock photos where clearance has been established, permission has been obtained from a parent or guardian for all minor children that appear in the image.

  3. Appropriate permission has been obtained for all use of the Official Seal of the California Department of Education.

  4. Multilayered images must be flattened into a single image.

    [Resources:
  5. No floating images (except Excel charts).

    [Resources:
  6. Watermark images are not used unless similar text is provided as standard content and there are no color contrast issues created due to using the watermark.

See EXCEL-307 for additional requirements for Excel spreadsheets and workbooks posted to websites using a .cde.ca.gov domain.

[Supports: CDE requirements and WCAG 2.0 Section 3.2.4 (Consistent Identification) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-109] Equivalent Text
  1. For tables and Excel charts alternative text that describes the table or chart must be added to describe the content and purpose of the table or chart in around 15 words or less.
    1. Alternative text can never exceed 30 words.
Image Equivalent Text Methods

Image equivalents are included in this section, but this should be considered for information only since most images are not allowed in Excel spreadsheets and workbooks.

Informative images (e.g., with content or that convey meaning) must have an equivalent in text. Non-informative images (e.g., decorative-only) must not have equivalent text.

[Resources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Encouraged Fixes for Office Files - Non-informative Image has Alternative Text External link opens in new window or tab. ]

There are three different ways to provide allowable equivalent text and each way has its own requirements:

  1. Adjacent Text
    1. The text adjacent to the image provides content that is fully equivalent to the image.
    2. If the image is not introduced in the adjacent text and the existence of the image can be ignored (because the content the image provides is fully and equivalently described in adjacent text) the image alternative text (alt text) must be blank.
    3. If the image is introduced (e.g., mentioned in the text or indicated with a title or caption), the image alternative text must provide the name of the image and indicate that it is a visual representation of adjacent text.
    4. It is unlikely that the adjacent text will be considered fully equivalent to the image if the author did not plan ahead for accessibility.

  2. Alternative Text (or Alt Text)
    1. This is text that describes the image that is added to the image in the background if it can describe the content and purpose of the image equivalently in around 15 words or less. Alternative text can never exceed 30 words.

      [Resources:
  3. Long Description
    1. A long description must be used if either the adjacent text or any alt text of no more than 30 words cannot provide fully equivalent content.
    2. Has an active hyperlink adjacent to the image with link text that names the picture and indicates the link destination is a "plain text" or "accessible" version of the picture. The link leads to the long description of the image.
    3. The image has alternative text that is used to name the picture and provide a summary (the standard of trying for 15 words or less, but no more than 30 words applies).
    4. The link may lead to another portion of the same document or a separate web page or document that has the fully equivalent text version of the content.

      [Resources:
Text in the Image
  1. When there is text in the image that is part of its meaning or content, it must be included in the adjacent text, alternative text, or long description. Also:
    1. Ensure there is sufficient contrast between the text in the image and its background.

      See EXCEL-107 for additional information on color contrast.
      See EXCEL-501 for additional information on color contrast for California School for the Blind websites.

    2. Ensure that the text in the image is readable.

      See EXCEL-104 for additional information on text that can be used within the image.
Other Required Text Equivalents

For any information that is conveyed with color, formatting, layout, or symbols, ensure that there is text method that serves the equivalent purpose.

See EXCEL-107 for requirements when color is used to convey meaning.

  1. Whenever possible use semantic text instead of special characters or symbols.
    1. For example, use "Yes/No" instead of "Y/N.
    2. When special characters or symbols are used (including letters as symbols), the symbols must be defined on or before their first use.
    3. The only exceptions are subscript, superscript, or asterisks when they are used for used for notes, footnotes, or endnotes don't need to be defined.

  2. Use "0", "none", or "n/a" instead of blank space that is meant to convey zero or nothing.
    1. For example, don't use a combination of 'X' (or any other symbol) and "blank" to mean applicable or included and not applicable or not included.

  3. When formatting is added to text that conveys meaning, such as strikethrough, its specific meaning in context must be described with text that serves the equivalent purpose.
    1. Short and simple instances of strikethrough and similar formatting that can be added to text can often be described equivalently by adding a note in brackets immediately after the formatted text to describe the text that received the formatting.
    2. More extensive and complex uses of strikethrough or similar formatting require indications of where the formatting begins and ends.

      [Resources:

[Supports: WCAG 2.0 sections 1.1.1 (Non-text Content) External link opens in new window or tab. and 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-110] Headings

Uses MS Excel Cell Styles to include headings where appropriate in a spreadsheet.

  1. Headings are used instead of visual alterations of text.

    [Resources:
  2. Heading Level-1 is used for the title of each spreadsheet.

  3. Heading levels 2 through 4 are use in a hierarchical order when a spreadsheet is divided into sections or when sub-titles below the Heading Level-1 are used.
    1. While heading levels may be skipped, they cannot be used out of order.
    2. Headings taken as a whole must form a logical "outline" of the document.

  4. Text that is not a section heading or divider does not use heading styles.

[Supports WCAG 2.0 Section 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-111] Tables
Table Use
  1. When Excel is used for tabular data, ensure that the data table is indicated as a table in Excel.
    1. Select the entire table area and include the header row and a totals row at the bottom of the table (if any)
    2. Use Insert, Table from the Excel ribbon.

      [Resources:
  2. Ensure that each Excel spreadsheet has only one table.
    1. If multiple tables are needed in an Excel workbook, use a separate spreadsheet for each table.
Complex Tables (Table Regularity)

Until MS Excel is capable of making complex tables accessible, don't include complex tables. Often, complex tables can be simplified. Another term for a simple table is a table that has regularity. Ensure that tables have regularity per the following guidelines:

  1. No blank cells, columns, or rows.
    1. Except, the last row in a table may have blank cells if the row is being used as a totals row where one or more of the cells is used to total the data in its column; and
    2. When the last row is a totals row, "Total" or a similar word or phrase must be present in the first cell in the row.

      [Resources:
  2. No merged or split cells.

    [Resources:
  3. One single column header row as the first row.
    1. When inserting the table (See item-a above) select the checkbox for My Table Has Headers.

      [Resources:
  4. No intermediary sub-headers (rows used to delineate sub-sections of a table).

    [Resources:
  5. No visual-only alignment of contents (e.g. indenting) and no use of layout and formatting alone to convey hierarchy.

    [Resources:
Alternative Text
  1. Add alternative text to tables to describe the broad nature of the table data.

    [Resources:

[Supports WCAG 2.0 Section 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-112] Forms

Until MS Excel form controls can comply with WCAG 2.0 requirements, form controls from the Excel Developer menu must not be inserted into Excel spreadsheets.

At the time of writing, Excel may be used to create pseudo forms where regular cells are used for input provided the other provisions of these Draft MS Excel Web Standards are followed. Also, instead of using MS Excel to create forms, it is highly recommended to use PDF to make fillable forms or to create an online form with software or a web application. that can create a form that complies with CDE Web Standards.

[Resources:

[Supports: WCAG 2.0 sections 1.1.1 (Non-text Content) External link opens in new window or tab. , 1.3.1 (Info and Relationships) External link opens in new window or tab. , 3.3.2 (Labels or Instructions) External link opens in new window or tab. , and 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value) External link opens in new window or tab.]
[General Resources: Creating Accessible Forms in Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF External link opens in new window or tab. (DOCX)]

Additional Requirements if Developed by CDE Staff or on Behalf of CDE

When MS Excel files are being developed, procured, or maintained by CDE staff, as a result of a CDE contract, or on behalf of CDE by others, the additional requirements in this sub-section apply. These additional requirements allow CDE to provide a consistent user experience across all of its MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks.

[EXCEL-201] CDE's Correspondence Guide and Style Manual

For writing usage, spelling, and grammar:

  1. Follows the CDE Correspondence Guide (CDE Intranet) for correspondence only.
    1. Relies upon the Gregg Reference Manual when the CDE Correspondence Guide does not address a usage issue.

  2. Follows the CDE Style Manual for all non-correspondence content.
    1. Relies upon the Chicago Manual of Style when the CDE Style Manual does not address a usage issue.
[CDE Requirements]
[EXCEL-202] Text
Underlines
  1. Underlines are not used except for hyperlinks and hyperlinked e-mail addresses.
    1. Except, underlines may be used to indicate the text of laws or regulations that are being added, modified, or deleted as prescribed by the California Office of Administrative Law.
Justified Text
  1. Don’t use justified text, (i.e., fully justified or full justification).
Arial 12pt.
  1. For CDE content or CDE authored Excel spreadsheets or workbooks, use Arial 12pt. font or larger. Exception:
    1. Content that is in a language other than English may use other fonts when necessary as long as the font size is comparable to Arial 12pt. or larger.

      [Resources:

[CDE Requirements]

Additional Requirements for Specific Web Pages and Websites

Posted to Websites Using the CDE Domain: 'cde.ca.gov'

This includes to any web pages or website that has 'cde.ca.gov' as the base domain. 2

[EXCEL-301] Approved Use of MS Excel on CDE Websites

CDE prefers to have its own websites be comprised mostly of webpages.

  1. Content that is at least 100 rows. (content length)

  2. Content that is required by law or by CDE policy to be in a specific format, layout, or to specifically be in a MS Excel spreadsheet or workbook. (content type)

  3. Content is already in a MS Excel spreadsheet or workbook from an external (non-CDE) source, the source content cannot be linked to, and it would be inappropriate or impractical to convert the content to be one or more CDE web pages. (content source)

  4. When a MS Excel spreadsheet or workbook is used as a secondary or tertiary format to a webpage version of identical content or to another CDE-approved content type. (content type)

  5. A spreadsheet or workbook related to a CDE funding opportunity. (content type)

[CDE Requirements]

[EXCEL-302] Prohibited Use on CDE Websites
  1. Data that is less than 100 rows, can be placed in a table in a webpage, and does not meet any of the conditions in EXCEL-301.

    [Resources:
[EXCEL-303] Layout, Organization, and Required Elements

Visitors to CDE websites often find MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks directly via external search and then they will often download the spreadsheets or workbooks to their computer or device. If a CDE spreadsheet or workbooks is found directly or is downloaded, the visitor may not have information about the origin or history of the spreadsheet unless some basic information is included. The following is required to be included in all MS Excel spreadsheets or workbooks posted to any CDE website:

  1. Content at the top of either the first spreadsheet in the workbook or each spreadsheet that constitutes the spreadsheet or workbook title.
    1. Should be formatted in the spreadsheet with Heading Level 1.
    2. The workbook title should be similar to the file's metadata title and to links that point to the workbook. However, it is not necessary that they be an exact match.
    3. When the spreadsheet or workbook is a sub-section of a larger set (e.g., a series), the title of the set must be included as part of the title or elsewhere in the content. For example, "Part A" is not a sufficient workbook title on its own since it clearly implies that the workbook is part of a larger set.

  2. Content that provides attribution of ownership/authorship.
    1. Often this means that “California Department of Education” is simply added near the title of the spreadsheet or workbook if not already present in the content.
    2. If permission to use the content could be questioned, a statement indicating the manner in which permission has been granted should be included.

  3. A date of authorship or posting.
    1. When a calendar date is not available, a month and year are acceptable.

See EXCEL-103 for specific requirements for use of headings in MS Word documents.

[CDE Requirements and supports WCAG 2.0 Section 2.4.2 (Page Titled) External link opens in new window or tab.]

[EXCEL-304] Filename

Use the following CDE standards to create the filename:

  1. To the extent possible, relates to the document title.

    [Resources:
  2. Does not use spaces or symbols other than hyphen ( - ).

  3. Is all lowercase.

  4. Is less than or equal to 24 characters or less.

  5. Starts with an alphabetic character.

[CDE Requirements]

[EXCEL-305] Hyperlinks

As noted in the Approved Use of MS Excel on CDE Websites Section (EXCEL-301), CDE prefers that most content posted to its websites be posted as webpages. It is presumed that an MS Excel spreadsheet or workbook will be used instead of a webpage for particular reasons. Among those reasons is the increased possibility that the document may used for data or will be printed, so CDE prefers to comply with WCAG 2.0 at the A level and to include hyperlinked URLs in its MS Excel spreadsheets or workbooks.

  1. Links to destinations outside of the current MS Word spreadsheet or workbook must use hyperlinked URLs that begin with "http://" (or "https://" if appropriate).

  2. If needed, URLs may be shortened:
    1. Those that point to the primary CDE website may use WebNETS system URLs. For example: this link to the CDE Organization web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/418553.
    2. Those that point to other websites may use the Go.USA.gov URL shortener (government links only) or the Bitly (bit.ly) URL shortener.

[CDE Requirements and WCAG 2.0 Section 2.4.4 (Link Purpose In Context) External link opens in new window or tab.]
[General Resources: Most accessibility resources require or recommend the use of linked descriptive text rather than linked URLs for hyperlinks, which is a WCAG 2.0 AAA standard. Because CDE use of MS Excel is mostly for data or for content that may be printed, CDE requires that hyperlinks use linked URLs.]

[EXCEL-306] Color
  1. For CDE content or CDE authored MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks, use a black font on a white background. Exceptions:
    1. The color red (specifically Boston University Red or #CC0000) may be used sparingly to highlight a word, phrase, sentence, or small paragraph as a reminder, warning, or an alert.
      • In MS Excel, this specific shade of red can be found via the font colors dialog and then selecting More Colors:

        dfasf

    2. Accent background color that is 15% or less in saturation may be used if the color contrast of any text or links is tested and found to meet accessibility standards (see EXCEL-107).
    3. For URLs use the “standard hyperlink blue” (#0000FF).

[CDE Requirements and WCAG 2.0 Section 1.4.3 (Contrast Minimum) External link opens in new window or tab.]

Posted Using Contribute (for www.cde.ca.gov and intranet.cde.ca.gov)

[EXCEL-401] Templates
  1. When a template is available, it is advisable to use it because using it may make it easier to comply with these CDE standards for MS Excel.
    1. Templates may be available for specific types of MS Excel spreadsheets or workbooks.
      [Resources:
[EXCEL-402] MS Excel Features and Styles

Nothing applicable to EXCEL-402 at this time.

[EXCEL-403] Metadata

Workbooks posted to CDE's primary website and its Intranet website require specific metadata.

  1. Unique metadata title (workbook properties) that is descriptive of the workbook must use title case, be less than or equal to 50 characters (inclusive of spaces and punctuation), and only use abbreviations if they are defined in the title or if there is not enough space to spell out whole words and must adhere to the following format:
    1. For the primary CDE website (www.cde.ca.gov):

      Unique Workbook Title - Sub-sub-topic Name (CA Dept of Education)

    2. For the CDE Intranet website (intranet.cde.ca.gov):

      Unique Workbook Title - Sub-sub-topic Name (CDE Intranet)

  2. The first part of the metadata title (Unique Workbook Title) must be different from any other MS Excel workbook within the same sub-sub-topic (or sub-topic if applicable).

  3. Has a subject (workbook properties) that describes the audience, purpose, or usage of the document that uses up to 250 characters (inclusive of spaces and punctuation) to sufficiently describe the document, the subject is not a mere restatement of the title, abbreviations are only used if they are defined in the title or subject and if there is not enough space to spell out whole words, and the subject ends with a period punctuation mark.

See additional information about metadata at EXCEL-105.

[CDE Requirements]

[EXCEL-404] Headings

For spreadsheets and workbooks posted to CDE's primary website and its Intranet website, there are specific requirements for headings:

  1. Heading styles must not be combined with other formatting styles, such as hyperlinks or table headers.

[CDE Requirement]

Posted to Other Specific Websites

[EXCEL-501] Posted to a California School for the Blind Website
Color Contrast (AAA Level)

Ensure sufficient color contrast between all content that conveys meaning (including all text) and its background at the WCAG 2.0 AAA level.

  1. Ensure that the color difference has a contrast ratio that is at least 7 to 1.

  2. Text that is large, which is 18pt. (or 14pt. bold or italicized) must have a color contrast ratio of at least 4.5 to 1.

  3. For gradient backgrounds or text, measure at the combination with the least contrast to determine compliance.

See EXCEL-107 to learn more about standard and other color contrast requirements in MS Excel Spreadsheets and workbooks.

[Supports WCAG 2.0 Section 1.4.6 External link opens in new window or tab.]
[General Resources: Web Accessibility in Mind: Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) External link opens in new window or tab. and Color Contrast Checker External link opens in new window or tab., and World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Understanding Conformance External link opens in new window or tab.]

Required Testing

There is no testing tool that can ensure compliance with all of the standards above. However, there are a variety of testing tools that can help and they should be used to ensure compliance and quality of MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks. At a minimum, the following testing is required for all CDE MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks.

[EXCEL-801] Spelling and Grammar
  1. Use the spelling checker to check for basic spelling errors.
    1. Fix any misspelled words.

  2. For any large blocks of text in a MS Excel spreadsheet, copy and paste the text into MS Word to use its superior spelling and grammar checker to check for basic as well as intermediate spelling and grammar errors.
    1. Fix any misspelled words.
    2. Fix grammar errors and consider revising content when there are many grammar warnings.

See EXCEL-201 for additional CDE writing requirements for MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks developed by or on behalf of CDE staff.
See EXCEL-202 for additional text requirements for MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks developed by or on behalf of CDE staff.

[EXCEL-802] Accessibility Checker
  1. Use the Check Accessibility feature for MS Word.
    1. Fix all errors.

      [Resources:
[EXCEL-803] Broken Links
  1. Ensure that all links work and that there are no broken links.
    1. In MS Excel spreadsheets or workbooks, this may require manual testing.
    2. CDE Contribute/WebNETS users may be able to check links in MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks using the Check Documents Link tool in the WebNETS system.

See EXCEL-106 for CDE's definition of a broken link.

Additional Information and Resources

The following information and resources form other organizations may be helpful in trying to gain a more complete understanding of the accessibility-compliant and standards-based approach that CDE applies to the MS Excel spreadsheets and workbooks that it develops, procures, maintains, and uses.

Checklists

  Any Content Distributed Directly (e.g., Email or Other File Transfer) Any Content Posted to a CDE Website (except State Special Schools or Diagnostic Centers) Any Content Posted to a State Special School or Diagnostic Center Website Any Content Posted to Another Website
Created by CDE Staff, contractors, partners, or on behalf of the CDE Checklist #1
(Coming Soon)
Checklist #2
(Coming Soon)
Checklist #3
(Coming Soon)
Checklist #4
(Coming Soon)
Not created on behalf of CDE or by CDE Staff, contractors, or partners. Checklist #5
(Coming Soon)
Checklist #6
(Coming Soon)
Checklist #7
(Coming Soon)
N/A

Footnotes

1 CDE defines a Web document as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, or similar files containing content that are posted to a website or available via a Web browser.

2 Websites using the CDE domain (cde.ca.gov) include:

  • CDE Primary Internet website (http://www.cde.ca.gov/)
  • CDE Intranet website (http://intranet.cde.ca.gov/)
  • CDE Monitoring Tool (http://cmt.cde.ca.gov/)
  • CELDT Results (http://celdt.cde.ca.gov/)
  • CAASPP (http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/)
Questions:   Web Services Unit | tsdweb@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 13, 2017
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