Concept 3: Making Graphics and Images Accessible

Importance of Alt Text for Graphics and Images

  • A screen reader can read text with synthesized speech, but it cannot read a picture or describe it.
  • Alt Text (or alternative text) helps people who can’t see the screen understand what’s important in images and other visuals.
  • Alt Text basically allows the person creating the document to place a text label or description on a picture.


Creating accessible images: Adding Alt Text

  1. For Alt Text to work, you must insert the picture via the Insert tab; you cannot drag the image into your document
  2. Right-click your image. ( If your right-click/Context menu does not offer Format Picture as an option, you’ll need to remove that image and add it back in via the Insert tab.)
  3. Select Format Picture.

Screenshot of a child on a bicycle in a park and a man holding the handlebars. Both are looking down at the pedals.

4. Select the Layout & Properties icon (box with arrows pointing north, south, east, and west).

5. Select Alt Text.

6. Type a description in the Title text box.

Example of Format Picture/Alt Text dialogue box

7. Click back into your document to continue working, or press Esc and then Tab to move to the next image in your document.



Click here to see how a screen reader identifies and reads a picture description



Now everyone will be able to access and efficiently navigate through your documents, regardless of the medium they use to read.


For additional accessibility information, visit the Checklist for MS Word Documents in the APH Accessibility Hub.


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