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 graphic or figure.


Accessibility: The short <alt-text> element 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.)
Please reserve this tag for accessibility uses such as pronouncing screen readers. This element should not be used as a replacement for <caption>, which is a visual element typically displayed alongside a figure, table, etc. The <alt-text> element is not a visual element, unless the figure, caption, or other major element that holds <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.


Content Model

<!ELEMENT  alt-text     (#PCDATA)                                    >


Text, numbers, or special characters

This element may be contained in:

Example 1

Short description of an image in a figure:
<p>... 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 &#x03C7;<sup>2</sup></p>
<alt-text>Deaths in hospitals or with alternative services</alt-text>
<graphic xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"

Example 2

For speaking an inline graphic:
<p>The MacDuck Corporation <inline-graphic
<alt-text>McDuck logo</alt-text>
</inline-graphic> first initiated these far-flung
programs in 2005 ...</p>

Example 3

Short description of an image in a 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 graph.</p>
<graphic xlink:href="images/1742-9994-3-18-1.jpg">
<alt-text>music notation graph of first meeting</alt-text>

Example 4

The alternative text is descriptive and need not echo the caption:
<fig id="fg-3">
<p>Picture with a Positive Association</p>
<graphic xlink:href="frontView.png">
<alt-text>Collie puppy image</alt-text>