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> 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 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 graphic 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:
<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"

Example 2

For describing an inline graphic:
<p>The McDuck 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
<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">
   <caption><p>Picture with a Positive Association</p></caption>
     <graphic xlink:href="frontView.png">
       <alt-text>Collie puppy image</alt-text>