Creating an Accessible Bar Chart in the Pages App: iOS 11

Here are step-by-step directions on how to create a bar chart in the Pages app. There are a few minor changes in iOS 11 from previous versions. Bar charts created in Pages are fully accessible with VoiceOver. 

Teacher Hint: Creating an accessible bar chart is a relatively easy process in Pages. Students should be introduced to digital bar charts and how to create their own digital bar charts in elementary school using simple data. Bar charts - and the tech skills required to interact with bar charts - are important skills for online assessments. These digital skills are foundation skills for more complex spreadsheets and graphs for high school and college level work! A bar chart created in Pages on the iPad - a touch screen device-  is interactive, meaning that a student can drag his finger around the screen which builds spatial skills. Accessing charts and graphs on a computer using JAWS is only auditory and requires strong spatial skills.

Creating a bar chart in Pages

  • Open a new Pages document
  • Select the Insert button (Plus symbol).
  • Select Charts button in the popup menu.
  • Select 2D Chart.
  • Swipe left or right to view possible chart colors and select your desired chart. (I chose the first chart (bar chart) in blue.
  • The chart template appears. Tap on the Chart.
  • Select the Edit Data button in the popup row.
  • Screen now shows chart data in a spreadsheet format (grid).
  • Delete data and replace with desired data.
    • Note: Currently, all the bar charts have two regions. If only one region is desired, delete everything in the Region 2 row.
  • When done entering the data, select the Done button.

Screenshot of Pages: Edit Chart Data page which is in a Spreadsheet format; Columns are: Olive 5, Whelk,4, Scallops 6, Bear Claws 3.

  • Select the Format button (paintbrush image).
  • Chart button:
    • Add a Chart Title: toggle on Chart Title. Tap on the Title to open the textfield. Replace with desired title. (Note: Opening the textfield can be tricky – try tapping slightly below the ‘title’ text.)
  • X Axis:
    • Options of adding grid lines and tick marks.
    • To add x axis label, toggle on Axis Name. Tap on Category Axis text and replace with desired label.
  • Y Axis:
    • Options of adding gridlines, tick marks and change the value scale of Y axis numbers.

Screenshot of Pages: Shell Bar Chart with Format button selected and Y axis menu displayed.


Note: iOS 11 introduced a new accessible feature called 'shapes'. These are images of objects (circle, horse, apple, etc.) that can be added like a sticker to a Pages document. Currently, Shapes can not be added to a table in Pages; however, you can add Shapes to a table in the Numbers app. For details, see the Teaching Positions in a Table: iOS Activity post.

For more information about bar charts including a video that demonstrates interacting and creating a Pages bar chart with VoiceOver, see the Digital Transitions #4: Bar Charts (Fall Leaf Activity) post.