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Image descriptions (alt text)

Many  people who are blind or have sight loss may rely on a screen reader to hear digital content instead of seeing it.

Hearing a description of an image can only be done by adding image descriptions (alt text). 

Alt text is also useful in situations when images fail to load, imagine those times when your internet connection is poor. 

What is alt text on images?

Alt is an abbreviation of the word 'alternate' or 'alternative'

Alt text is a meaningful alternative description added to an image, for when:

  • an image fails to load, the alt text describes what the image should've been

  • an image can't been seen by someone, so their screen reader can read the alt text description to them

The video shows how alt text can be added very easily in Microsoft Word and other Office products. It also outlines what makes good alt text descriptions. 

Adding meaningful alt text

Meaningful alt text gives an image more context. It is good practice to add alt text to all images in all tools you use, nit just Microsoft Word.


This great website explains how to add alt text to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Remember 'alt text' is an alternative description to understand the content in a image, it's not just a label.

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