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SCULPT Use of images - adding meaningful alt text

Image use and visual content

Visual content includes pictures, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.

There are four very simple things to consider when adding images to web pages or documents.

  • use images that support the text
  • never use an image instead of text
  • use correct image sizes (on the web it is best to have images around 150kb)
  • use alt text on images

The Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker (opens in a new window) will list any accessibility issues in your document, including lack of alt text on images.

Why add alt text?

Alt text is used to provide an alternative description of the image for those people who are unable to view it. This may include people with visual impairments who use screen readers as well as people using text only browsers. 

Alt text is also useful if the image fails to load properly.

Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information.

Why should you never use an image instead of text?

When text that is intended to be read is presented as an image, screen readers and other assistive technologies cannot read text that’s contained inside an image. They will instead read the alt text provided.

Best practice for accessibility is to write text as text. Users can often miss out on important information that’s conveyed through an image of text.

How to do it

Include alternative text (alt text) with all visuals.

Further information about using meaningful alt text with images can be found at WebAIM alternative text (opens in a new window)

Instructions for adding alt text

Adding alt text is really simple.

In word or PowerPoint, you simply right click on the image, and select ‘Edit Alt Text’ from the drop down menu and then add your description in the box provided

adding alt text in word or PowerPoint, right click add alt text and and then add your description in the box provided


Watch this video to see how to add alt text in Word

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