<alt-text> Alternate Text Name (for a figure, etc.)

Word or phrase used to provide a very short textual name, description, or purpose-statement for a structure such as a figure or a graphic, nearly always used for Accessibility.


The short <alt-text> can be used for special accessibility display or presentation on graphic-limited websites or devices, as an alternative to providing the full graphic. (For example, the <alt-text> element is typically read by screen readers, and <alt-text> may also be used to display a few words “behind” a figure or graphic for devices with limited graphics capacity.)
Some screen readers will truncate <alt-text> at 120 characters, so it is best practice to keep this short.
Please reserve this tag for accessibility uses such as pronouncing screen readers. This element should not to be used as a replacement for <caption>, which is a visual element typically displayed alongside a figure, table, etc. The <alt-text> is not a visual element, unless the figure, caption, or other major element that holds the <alt-text> is not available or cannot be processed by the person or device-type being addressed. Since it is not visual, <alt-text> does not allow face markup inside it; a simplified textual alternative for a graphical object (including face markup) can be created using the <textual-form> element.
Related Elements
The similarly non-visual element <long-desc> is meant for an extended description of the figure, table, etc.

Base Attributes

Models and Context
May be contained in
Text, numbers, or special characters
Content Model
<!ELEMENT  alt-text     (#PCDATA)                                    >
Tagged Samples
For figure image
<sec sec-type="results">
 <p>We identified 703 abstracts, of which 687 were not
  relevant ... Details of randomisation procedures, treatment 
  schedules, and numbers of patients followed up are given 
  on the <italic>BMJ</italic> website.</p>
 <fig id="F1">
   <title>Deaths among patients receiving day hospital care
    or alternative services.</title>
   <p>Odds ratios of death by end of follow up were calculated by 
    fixed effects model. Heterogeneity between trials is presented as
  <alt-text>Deaths in hospitals or with alternative services</alt-text>
  <graphic xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"
For inline graphic
<p>The McDuck Corporation 
 <inline-graphic xlink:href="images/1742-9994-3-18-1.jpg">
  <alt-text>McDuck logo</alt-text>
 </inline-graphic> first initiated these far-flung
 programs in 2005 ...</p>
For image in boxed text
<boxed-text position="float" id="B1">
  <title>The Hens First Meeting on Day 1</title>
  <p>The music notation graph for four hens on their first day
   of meeting. The horizontal lines represent the hens by
   their ranks within their hierarchy: red for the top-ranked hen,
   blue for the second-ranked, green for the third-ranked, and black
   for the fourth-ranked. Arrows indicate aggressive acts from one
   hen to another, and the arrows are in the color of the initiator
   and go from her line to the line of the receiver. The numbers at
   the ends of the lines show the wing badge identification numbers
   of the hens, and the time in minutes and hours elapsed since the
   group was introduced is indicated above each block of the
 <graphic xlink:href="images/1742-9994-3-18-1.jpg">
  <alt-text>music notation graph of first meeting</alt-text>
Best Practice
Short descriptive text should not echo caption.
<fig id="fg-3">
  <p>Picture with a Positive Association</p>
 <graphic xlink:href="frontView.png">
  <alt-text>Collie puppy image</alt-text>
Related Resources