Alternate (Alt) Text Month for Content Accessibility: The College at Brockport

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Alternate (Alt) Text Month for Content Accessibility

Learn how to add alternate text to shape, picture, chart, SmartArt Graphic, or other objects for Microsoft Office applications (Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word) in Office 365, Office 2019, and Office 2016/2013.

An alternative description is a textual alternative for an image. It allows students with visual impairments to perceive the image. People with screen readers or other assistive devices rely on these descriptions to understand the image content and purpose. Alt text will also display if an image does not load – benefiting everyone. Alternative descriptions should be added to all images, including those embedded within PDF, Word, PowerPoint and other documents. You can create alternative text (Alt Text) for shapes, pictures, charts, SmartArt graphics, or other objects in your Office document.

Add Alt Text for Office 365 (Excel 365, Word 365, Outlook 365, and PowerPoint 365)

• Right-click on the object and select Edit Alt Text

• Select the object. Select Format > Alt Text

• In the Alt Text pane, type sentences to describe the object and its context to someone who cannot see it.

Mark Visuals as Decorative

1. To open the Alt Text pane, do one of the following:

• Right-click an image, and then select Edit Alt Text

• Select an image, select Format > Alt Text

2. Select the Decorative checkbox. The text entry field becomes grayed out.

Toggle Automatic Alt Text On and Off

If you don't want automatically generated alt text to be added to inserted pictures, you can turn off the automatic alt text option. If you change your mind later, you can just as easily turn it back on.

1. Select File > Options > Ease of Access.

2. In the Automatic Alt Text section, select or unselect the Automatically generate alt text for me option, and then select OK.

Add Alt Text for Office 2019 (Excel 2019, Outlook 2019, PowerPoint 2019, and Word 2019)

1. Do one of the following:

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

• Select the object. Select Format > Alt Text.

2. In the Alt Text pane, type one to two sentences in the text box to describe the object and its context to someone who cannot see it.

Mark visuals as decorative

If your visuals are purely decorative and add visual interest but aren't informative, you can mark them as such without needing to write any alt text. Examples of objects that should be marked as decorative are stylistic borders. People using screen readers will hear that these objects are decorative so they know they aren’t missing any important information.

1. To open the Alt Text pane, do one of the following:

• Right-click an image, and then select Edit Alt Text.

• Select an image, select Format > Alt Text.

2. Select the Decorative checkbox. The text entry field becomes grayed out.

Add Alt Text for Office 2016/2013 (Excel 2016/2013, Outlook 2016/2013, PowerPoint 2016/2013, and Word 2016/2013)

1. Do one of the following:

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

b. 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. For an Excel PivotTable, right-click it, point to PivotTable Options, and then click Alt Text.

a. In the Description box, enter an explanation of the shape, picture, chart, PivotTable, SmartArt graphic, or other objects. 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.

Links:

Contact:

CourseDesign@Brockport.edu

LITS

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