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

You can create alternative text (alt text or Alt Text) for shapes, pictures, charts, 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.

You can use the procedures in this article to help you learn how to add alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object. We also show you how you can make the Alt Text command always available.

Excel 365

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

  1. Right-click the object and select Edit Alt Text.

    Excel Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for shapes

    Note: 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. Enter an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    Word Win32 Alt Text pane for shapes

Excel 2016/2013

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click the object, click Format Object, Format Picture, Format Chart Area, or other, and then click Alt Text.

      Click Alt Text in the object pane

      Note: The pane where you click Alt Text is dynamic and the title and lists change depending on the object you click.

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

    • 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, PivotTable, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

    Tip: If you don't want Alt text, either remove the words from the Alt Text Title and Description boxes, or don't fill them 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, 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.

Outlook 365

  1. Right-click the object and select Edit Alt Text.

    Context menu on selected image

    Note: 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. Enter an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    AltText pane

Outlook 2016/2013

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click the object, click Format Object, Format Picture, Format Chart Area, or other, and then click Alt Text.

      Click Alt Text in the object pane

      Note: The pane where you click Alt Text is dynamic and the title and lists change depending on the object you click.

      To add Alt Text to the entireSmartArt 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, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

    Tip: If you don't want Alt text, either remove the words from the Alt Text Title and Description boxes, or don't fill them 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, 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.

PowerPoint 365

  1. Right-click the object and select Edit Alt Text.

    PowerPoint Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for charts

    Note: 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. Enter an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    Word Win32 Alt Text pane for charts

PowerPoint 2016/2013

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click the object, click Format Object, Format Picture, Format Chart Area, or other, and then click Alt Text.

      Click Alt Text in the object pane

      Note: The pane where you click Alt Text is dynamic and the title and lists change depending on the object you click.

      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, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

    Tip: If you don't want Alt text, either remove the words from the Alt Text Title and Description boxes, or don't fill them 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, 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.

Word 365

  1. Right-click the object and select Edit Alt Text.

    Word Win32 Edit Alt Text menu for images

    Note: 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. Enter an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    Word Win32 Alt Text pane for images

Word 2016/2013

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click the object, click Format Object, Format Picture, Format Chart Area, or other, and then click Alt Text.

      Click Alt Text in the object pane

      Note: The pane where you click Alt Text is dynamic and the title and lists change depending on the object you click.

      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, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

    Tip: If you don't want Alt text, either remove the words from the Alt Text Title and Description boxes, or don't fill them 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, 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.

Make the Alt Text command readily available in Office 2016/2013

If you frequently add alternative text to shapes, pictures, charts, 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, SmartArt graphic, or other object, before you click the toolbar button, and then add your alternative text.

Excel 2010

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphicobject, 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 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, 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, 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.

Outlook 2010

  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.

  2. In the Description box, enter an explanation of the shape, picture, chart, 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, 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.

PowerPoint 2010

  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.

  2. In the Description box, enter an explanation of the shape, picture, chart, 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, 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.

Word 2010

  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.

  2. In the Description box, enter an explanation of the shape, picture, chart, 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, 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.

Make the Alt Text command readily available in Office 2010

If you frequently add alternative text to shapes, pictures, charts, 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, SmartArt graphic, or other object, before you click the toolbar button, and then add your alternative text.

Excel 365 for Mac

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

  1. Right-click the object and select Edit Alt Text.... The Alt Text pane opens.

    Note: 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. Type an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    Excel 365 Write Alt Text dialog for images

Add alt text to a PivotTable

  1. Right-click a PivotTable, and select Alt Text. The Alt Text pane opens.

  2. Type an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    Excel 365 Write Alt Text dialog for pivotcharts

Excel 2016 for Mac

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click the object, click Format Object, Format Picture, Format Chart Area, or other, and then click Alt Text.

      Click Alt Text in the object pane

      Note: The pane where you click Alt Text is dynamic and the title and lists change depending on the object you click.

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

    • 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, PivotTable, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

    Tip: If you don't want Alt text, either remove the words from the Alt Text Title and Description boxes, or don't fill them 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, 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.

Outlook 365 for Mac

  1. Right-click the object and select Add Alt Text..... The Alt Text pane opens.

    Note: 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. Type an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    Alt Text pane for adding alt text to an image in Outlook

Outlook 2016 for Mac

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click the object, click Format Object, Format Picture, Format Chart Area, or other, and then click Alt Text.

      Click Alt Text in the object pane

      Note: The pane where you click Alt Text is dynamic and the title and lists change depending on the object you click.

      To add Alt Text to the entireSmartArt 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, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

    Tip: If you don't want Alt text, either remove the words from the Alt Text Title and Description boxes, or don't fill them 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, 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.

PowerPoint 365 for Mac

  1. Right-click the object and select Edit Alt Text.... The Alt Text pane opens.

    Note: 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. Type an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    Alt text pane for images in PowerPoint for Mac in Office 365.

PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click the object, click Format Object, Format Picture, Format Chart Area, or other, and then click Alt Text.

      Click Alt Text in the object pane

      Note: The pane where you click Alt Text is dynamic and the title and lists change depending on the object you click.

      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, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

    Tip: If you don't want Alt text, either remove the words from the Alt Text Title and Description boxes, or don't fill them 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, 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.

Word 365 for Mac

  1. Right-click the object and select Edit Alt Text....

    Note: 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. Enter an explanation of the object in the text box on the Alt Text pane.

    The Alt Text pane in Word

Word 2016 for Mac

  1. Do one of the following:

    • For a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, or other object, right-click the object, click Format Object, Format Picture, Format Chart Area, or other, and then click Alt Text.

      Click Alt Text in the object pane

      Note: The pane where you click Alt Text is dynamic and the title and lists change depending on the object you click.

      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, SmartArt graphic, or other object. This box should always be filled in.

    Tip: If you don't want Alt text, either remove the words from the Alt Text Title and Description boxes, or don't fill them 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, 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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