ARIA: gridcell role

The gridcell role is used to make a cell in a grid or treegrid. It is intended to mimic the functionality of the HTML <td> element for table-style grouping of information.

<div role="gridcell">Potato</div>
<div role="gridcell">Cabbage</div>
<div role="gridcell">Onion</div>

Elements that have role="gridcell" applied to them must be the child of an element with a role of row.

<div role="row">
  <div role="gridcell">Jane</div>
  <div role="gridcell">Smith</div>
  <div role="gridcell">496-619-5098</div></div>

The first rule of ARIA is if a native HTML element or attribute has the semantics and behavior you require, use it instead of re-purposing an element and adding ARIA. Instead use the HTML <td> element in conjunction with the and contenteditable attribute:

<td>Potato</td>
<td>Cabbage</td>
<td>Onion</td>

Description

gridcells with dynamically added, hidden, or removed rows and columns

Any element with a role="gridcell" applied to it should use ARIA to describe its order in the table-style grouping, provided the table, grid, or treegrid has the ability to have rows and/or columns dynamically added, hidden, or removed.

Use aria-colindex to describe a gridcell's order in the list of columns, and aria-rowindex to describe a gridcell's order in the list of rows. Use aria-colcount and aria-rowcount on the parent element with role="grid" applied to it to set the total number of columns or rows.

This sample code demonstrates a table-style grouping of information where the third and fourth columns have been removed. aria-colindex is being used to describe the rows' position and allows a person using assistive technology to infer that certain rows have been removed:

<div role="grid" aria-colcount="6">
  <div role="rowgroup">
    <div role="row">
      <div role="columnheader" aria-colindex="1">First name</div>
      <div role="columnheader" aria-colindex="2">Last name</div>
      <div role="columnheader" aria-colindex="5">City</div>
      <div role="columnheader" aria-colindex="6">Zip</div>
    </div>
  </div>
  <div role="rowgroup">
    <div role="row">
      <div role="gridcell" aria-colindex="1">Debra</div>
      <div role="gridcell" aria-colindex="2">Burks</div>
      <div role="gridcell" aria-colindex="5">New York</div>
      <div role="gridcell" aria-colindex="6">14127</div>
    </div>
  </div></div>

Describing the position of gridcells when the overall structure is unknown

In situations where the table-style grouping of content does not provide information about the columns and rows, gridcells must have their positions programmatically described by using aria-describedby. The ids provided for aria-describedby should correspond to parent elements intended to be the rows and columns.

By referencing the parent elements with roles of rowheader or columnheader applied to them via aria-describedby, it allows assistive technology to understand the position and relationship of the gridcell element to the rest of the table-style grouping of content.

Interactive grids and treegrids

Editable cells

Both <td> elements and elements with a role of gridcell applied to them can be made editable, mimicking functionality similar to editing a spreadsheet. This is done by applying the HTML contenteditable attribute.

<td contenteditable="true">Notes</td>

<div role="gridcell" contenteditable="true">Item cost</div>

contenteditable will make the element it is applied to focusable via the Tab key. If a gridcell is conditionally toggled into a state where editing is prohibited, toggle aria-readonly on the gridcell element.

Expandable cells

In a treegrid, gridcells may be made expandable by toggling the aria-expanded attribute. Note that if this attribute is provided, it applies only to the individual gridcell.

Associated WAI-ARIA Roles, States, and Properties

grid

Communicates that a parent element is a table or tree style grouping of information.

row

Required to communicate the gridcell is part of a row of a table-style grouping of information.

columnheader

Specifies which element is the associated column header.

aria-colindex

Identifies the position of an element in relation to the rest of the table-style grouping of information's columns.

rowheader

Specifies which element is the associated row header.

aria-rowindex

Identifies the position of an element in relation to the rest of the table-style grouping of information's rows.

Examples

The following example creates a table-style grouping of information:

<h3 id="table-title">Jovian gas giant planets</h3>
<div role="grid" aria-describedby="table-title">
  <div role="rowgroup">
    <div role="row">
      <div role="columnheader">Name</div>
      <div role="columnheader">Diameter (km)</div>
      <div role="columnheader">Length of day (hours)</div>
      <div role="columnheader">Distance from Sun (10<sup>6</sup>km)</div>
      <div role="columnheader">Number of moons</div>
    </div>
  </div>
  <div role="rowgroup">
    <div role="row">
      <div role="gridcell">Jupiter</div>
      <div role="gridcell">142,984</div>
      <div role="gridcell">9.9</div>
      <div role="gridcell">778.6</div>
      <div role="gridcell">67</div>
    </div>
  </div>
  <div role="rowgroup">
    <div role="row">
      <div role="gridcell">Saturn</div>
      <div role="gridcell">120,536</div>
      <div role="gridcell">10.7</div>
      <div role="gridcell">1433.5</div>
      <div role="gridcell">62</div>
    </div>
  </div>
</div>

Accessibility concerns

Support for gridcell and certain gridcell-related ARIA roles and properties have poor support with assistive technologies. If at all possible, use HTML table markup in their place.

Best practices

The first rule of ARIA is: if a native HTML element or attribute has the semantics and behavior you require, use it instead of re-purposing an element and adding an ARIA role, state or property to make it accessible. As such, it is recommended to use native HTML table markup instead of recreating a table's form and functionality with ARIA and JavaScript.

See also