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

You can create alternative text (alternative text: Used by Web browsers to display text during image downloads for users who have graphics turned off and for users who rely on screen-reading software to convert graphics on the screen to spoken words.) (alt text or Alt Text) for shapes, pictures, charts, tables, SmartArt graphics, or other objects (object: A table, chart, graphic, equation, or other form of information. Objects created in one application, for example spreadsheets, and linked or embedded in another application are OLE 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 (HTML: The standard markup language used for documents on the World Wide Web. HTML uses tags to indicate how Web browsers should display page elements such as text and graphics and how to respond to user actions.) 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

Which Office program are you using?


Excel

  1. Do one of the following:

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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:

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 (shortcut: An icon that points to a program or file that is stored in another location.) 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