Add alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, table, SmartArt graphic, or other object

You can create alternative text (alt text or Alt Text) for shapes, pictures, charts, tables, SmartArt graphics, or other objects in your Office document. Alternative text helps people with screen readers understand the content of pictures. When you use a screen reader to view your document, or save it to a file format such as HTML or DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System), alternative text appears when you move the pointer over a picture in most browsers.

This article discusses adding alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, table, SmartArt graphic, or other object and shows you how you can make the Alt Text command always available.

What do you want to do?

Add Alt Text

Make the Alt Text command readily available

Add Alt Text

Which Office program are you using?

Excel

Outlook

PowerPoint

Word

Excel

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click it, click Format object, and then click the Alt Text pane.

      To add Alt Text to the entire SmartArt graphic or chart, click the border of the SmartArt graphic or chart, and not an individual shape or piece.

    • For a table, right-click the table, click Table, and then click Alternative Text.

    • For a PivotTable, right-click it, point to PivotTable Options, and then click Alt Text.

  2. In the Description box, enter an explanation of the shape, picture, chart, table, PivotTable, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

  3. If you want, in the Title box, enter a brief summary. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box.

    Note   Unless you have a complex chart or table, you will usually want to enter text in just the Description box. When you have complex content to describe, then filling in the Title field is useful so reading the full description is not necessary unless desired.

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Outlook

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click it, click Format object, and then click the Alt Text pane.

      To add Alt Text to the entire SmartArt graphic or chart, click the border of the SmartArt graphic or chart, and not an individual shape or piece.

    • For a table, right-click the table, click Table Properties, and then click the Alt Text tab.

  2. In the Description box, enter an explanation of the shape, picture, chart, table, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

  3. If you want, in the Title box, enter a brief summary. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box.

    Note   Unless you have a complex chart or table, you will usually want to enter text in just the Description box. When you have complex content to describe, then filling in the Title field is useful so reading the full description is not necessary unless desired.

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PowerPoint

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, table, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click it, click Format object, and then click the Alt Text pane.

      To add Alt Text to the entire SmartArt graphic or chart, click the border of the SmartArt graphic or chart, and not an individual shape or piece.

  2. In the Description box, enter an explanation of the shape, picture, chart, table, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

  3. If you want, in the Title box, enter a brief summary. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box.

    Note   Unless you have a complex chart or table, you will usually want to enter text in just the Description box. When you have complex content to describe, then filling in the Title field is useful so reading the full description is not necessary unless desired.

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Word

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click it, click Format object, and then click the Alt Text pane.

      To add Alt Text to the entire SmartArt graphic or chart, click the border of the SmartArt graphic or chart, and not an individual shape or piece.

    • For a table, right-click the table, click Table Properties, and then click the Alt Text tab.

  2. In the Description box, enter an explanation of the shape, picture, chart, table, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

  3. If you want, in the Title box, enter a brief summary. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box.

    Note   Unless you have a complex chart or table, you will usually want to enter text in just the Description box. When you have complex content to describe, then filling in the Title field is useful so reading the full description is not necessary unless desired.

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Make the Alt Text command readily available

If you frequently add alternative text to shapes, pictures, charts, tables, SmartArt graphics, or other objects, you can add the Alt Text command to the Quick Access Toolbar to create a shortcut to it.

  1. In the upper-left corner above the Ribbon, click Customize Quick Access Toolbar Button image.

  2. Click More Commands, and then under Choose commands from click Commands Not in the Ribbon.

  3. Click Alt Text and then click Add.

To use the Alt Text command on the Quick Access Toolbar, select the shape, picture, chart, table, SmartArt graphic, or other object, before you click the toolbar button, and then add your alternative text.

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Applies To: Excel 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Word 2010



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