ADA Content: Graphics

Best Practice Solution for: Inserting Graphics

Accessibility Standard: Provide Text Descriptions for Graphics or Images

Reason: Users with screen readers can hear a description of images that have alternative text descriptions. Text descriptions for images can also be read if graphics are turned off in a browser.

Solution: Use the ALT label or Alternative text to include descriptions of inserted images.


Visually the ALT or Alternative tag is invisible, which is why there "appears" to be no difference between the Does meet and Does not meet examples. Yet, if one used a screen reader the ALT text is readable and assists the user in knowing what the image represents. IF the image is not important to the site, type within the Alt tag that the image is "decorative".

Meets the standard
Does not meet the standard

Microsoft Word Alt Text

If you are using Microsoft Word to create your web content pages, after inserting an image (Insert > Picture) do the following based on your Microsoft Office version:

  • Microsoft Word 2007, right-click on the image, select Size..., and click on the "Alt Text" tab
  • Microsoft Word 2010, right-click on the image, select Format Picture and click on "Alt Text"

View a short video created by Cal State on how to add an ALT tag for Office 2007 (keep in mind that it is the same process for 2010, just click on Format Picture as opposed to the option for Size...).


Each editor is slightly different in how it uses the ALT feature. Typically though, when "inserting" an image it will ask for an ALT text description, or shows a window when the image is selected that allows the Alt text to be added.

The following image is an example of how the SeaMonkey WYSIWYG editor allows for adding of an ALT tag when inserting an image.



Accessibility & Universal Design: creating accessible documents through the use of styles, alt text for images and adding headers to tables (

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