ARIA: columnheader role

The columnheader value of the ARIA role attribute identifies an element as being a cell in a row contains header information for a column, similar to the native <th> element with column scope.


An element with role="columnheader" nested as a descendant for an element with role="row", is a static tabular structure of a column header cell in a tabular container, either a table or grid, or other chart that needs to show data relationships. To be supported, the columnheader must be nested in an element with the role of row.

Associated WAI-ARIA roles, states, and properties

All columnheaders should be nested within a row. Every row, in turn, should be nested within a grid, table, or treegrid, alternatively within a rowgroup nested within one of the above.


Only applied to one column header at a time, if any, the aria-sort attribute indicates if a column is sorted in the three values of ascending or descending order, or none for not sorted.

Keyboard interactions

This role does not support any specific keyboard interaction.

Required JavaScript features

JavaScript is only required if the aria-sort attribute is used.


    <tr role="row">
      <th role="columnheader" scope="col">
          First Name
      <th role="columnheader" scope="col">
          Last Name
      <th role="columnheader" scope="col" aria-sort="ascending">
          Company Name
      <th role="columnheader" scope="col">
          Job Title

Best Practices

Columnheaders should contain a title or header information for the column.

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. It is recommended to use the native HTML <th> element with the scope attribute set <th scope="col"> instead of a <div> or other element. If you use semantic HTML's <th scope="col"> the role attribute is not required, but can be included as a back up to ensure the table retains its semantics should the default semantics be removed with a CSS display property value.

The aria-sort attribute can be added to a <th scope="col"> even when the ARIA role attribute is not specified.

Prefer HTML

Columnheader has the same semantics <th scope="col">.


Specification Status
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1
The definition of 'ARIA: columnheader role' in that specification.
WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices 1.2
The definition of 'Table' in that specification.
Working Draft

See Also