Use a screen reader to add alt text to a picture in a document in Word Online

In Word Online, it’s easy to use a screen reader to add alternative (alt) text to pictures, graphics, and photos in your document. Adding alt text, a description that screen readers can read, makes pictures and other images more accessible.


  • This topic assumes that JAWS users have the Virtual Ribbon Menu feature turned off.

  • Word Online is a web-based application, so the keyboard shortcuts and navigation may be different from those in Word 2016. Learn more about Accessibility features in Word Online.

  • When you use Word Online, we recommend that you use Internet Explorer as your browser.

  1. Select an image in your document.


    • Make sure that you are in Edit Mode. When you are in View Mode, you cannot make changes to your document. For help switching between Edit and View mode, refer to Navigate in Word Online with keyboard and screen reader.

    • The Format tab, which contains picture tools such as the Alt-Text button, appears on the ribbon only after you select a picture in your document.

  2. To move the focus to the ribbon, press Ctrl+F6 until you hear a tab name.

  3. To move to the Format tab, press the Tab key, and then press Enter.

  4. To move to the Alt-Text button, press the Tab key, and then press Enter. The Alternative Text dialog box opens with the focus in the Title box. (In Narrator, you hear “Image selected.”)

  5. Type the text you want.

  6. To move to the OK button, press the Tab key, and then press Spacebar.

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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