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Alternative text in Excel 2013, Outlook 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Project Professional 2013, Project Standard 2013 and Word 2013

Here is a tip from the Microsoft Office site on how to add alternative text to a picture, shape, chart, table, or SmartArt graphic:

“Adding alternative text (also known as alt text or Alt Text) requires several steps and a little patience. The key to adding alt text in most cases is getting to the Size and Position tab (Layout and Properties in Word and Outlook) in the Format <Picture, Shape, other object> pane.

Because the steps vary slightly depending on which app you’re using, this article will help you navigate through the maze. First pick what you want to add alt text to, and look for the app you’re using.

Excel, Outlook, and Power Point tech supportChart

  1. Right-click the chart and click Format Chart Area.
  2. Click Size and Properties and click Alt Text.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Size and Property tab on the Format Chart Area pane

  1. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  2. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

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For Excel, PowerPoint, and Project

  1. Right-click the picture and click Format Picture.
  2. Click Size and Properties and click Alt Text.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Size and Property tab in the Format Picture pane showing where to enter alt text

  1. In the Description box, enter an explanation of picture. This box should always be filled in.
  2. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

For Outlook and Word

  1. Right-click the picture and click Format Picture.
  2. Click Layout and Properties and click Alt Text.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Layout and Property tab in the Format Pictrue pane showing where to enter alt text

  1. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  2. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

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For Excel and PowerPoint

  1. Right-click the SmartArt graphic, click Size and Properties, and then click Alt Text.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Size and Property tab in the Format Shape pane showing Alt Text boxes

  1. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  2. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

For Outlook and Word

  1. Right-click the SmartArt graphic and click Format Object.
  2. Click Layout and Properties and click Alt Text.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Layout and Property tab in the Format Shape pane showing Alt Text boxes

  1. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  2. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

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For Excel, PowerPoint, and Project

  1. Right-click the shape, click Size and Properties, and then click Alt Text.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Size and Property tab in the Format Shape pane showing Alt Text boxes

  1. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  2. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people don’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

For Outlook and Word

  1. Right-click the shape and click Format Shape.
  2. Click Layout and Properties and click Alt Text.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Layout and Property tab in the Format Shape pane showing Alt Text boxes

  1. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  2. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

Computer tech tips for Excel, Outlook and Power PointTable

For Excel

  1. Right-click the table, click Table, and then click Alternative Text.
  2. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  3. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

For PowerPoint

  1. Right-click the shape and click Format Shape.
  2. Click Size and Properties and click Alt Text.

Microsoft Office 2013 - Size and Property tab in the Format Shape pane showing Alt Text boxes

  1. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  2. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

For Outlook and Word

  1. Right-click the table, click Table Properties, and then click Alternative Text.
  2. Click the Alt Text tab.
  3. In the Description box, enter an explanation of chart. This box should always be filled in.
  4. If you want, enter a brief summary in the Title box. This box should only be filled in if you are entering a detailed or long explanation in the Description box. By using the Title box, people won’t need to read the full description unless they want to.

More about alt text

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. It’s also helpful to people who have turned off the display of images in their browsers.

When writing alt text, it’s a good idea to start with the general and then get more specific. For example, possible alt text for this picture could be:

Microsoft Office 2013 - Partial view of a gingerbread house decorated with candy

“Partial view of a gingerbread house decorated with candy”. “Or front of a gingerbread house with a white trim and candy people and animals outside”. It sometimes helps to imagine describing the picture to someone who has their eyes closed. What would you say? That’s your alt text.

And if you’re adding alt text to a chart or table, you’ll probably want to describe what the chart or table is showing. For example, “chart showing quarterly sales with a dip in Quarter 3”.”

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