The Free and Open Productivity Suite
Released: Apache OpenOffice 4.1.15

Spreadsheet document Accessibility


by Sascha Ballach (,
last modification on November 19th 2001

1. Introduction

This paper describes how documents of the StarOffice/ Calc application can be made accessible by using the UNO Accessibility API (UAA).

2. General

Spreadsheet documents consist of one ore more tables. Each table contains a lot of cells and can contain many other objects. There are many ways to access this things.

The cells can you access by the position or with an index.

To access the other objects you have some possible ways. On the one hand you can get this objects with the navigator. On the other hand you can get this objects as childs of the cell or table were the anchor is.

To make the Data Pilot and Database Ranges more accessible we should extend the navigator.

3. specific problems

3.1. notes

The notes are handled as the description of a cell. It does not matter whether the note is showed or not, the description is given always.

3.2. merged and matrix cells

With the methods getAccessibleColumnExtentAt and getAccessibleRowExtentAt I will make the dimension of merged cells accessible. The dimension of matrix cells is only to find out while going from cell to cell and have a look at the formula. This is the same way a not disabled person it does.

3.3. column and row description

At the moment it is not possible to give the column or the row a description. If the user asks for the description he will get in the first step the name of the column/row and he can not change the description.

3.4. Outlining

At the moment I have no idea how to make outlining accessible. Perhaps it is enough to use the current menu structure.

3.5. Index range

The index range is no problem at the moment, but if we change the row and column count (and we will change this) we could need a bigger range for the index.

3.6. Shapes

Shapes are children of the root object which also contains the currently viewed table. We have to handle this in this way, because otherwise it would not be possible to select all shapes. To represent the anchor of a shape there is a realtion between the shape and the cell or table with the anchor.

3.7. Formulas

Formulas are only accessible by the edit line or in the edit mode of the cell. There is the same behaviour for not disabled people.

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