How to Add Alternative Text to an Object in Microsoft Excel

How to Add Alternative Text to an Object in Microsoft Excel

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How to Add Alternative Text to an Object in Microsoft Excel: Alternative text (alt text) allows screen readers to capture the description of an object and read it aloud, providing aid for those with visual impairments. Here’s how to add alt text to an object in Microsoft Excel.

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To add alt text to an object in Excel, open your spreadsheet, add an object (Insert > Picture), and then select the object.

Selected object in Excel

Right-click the object and then select “Edit Alt Text” from the menu that appears.

Edit alt text button on object in Excel

Alternatively, you can select the “Alt Text” option in the “Accessibility” group of the “Picture Format” tab.

Alt text tab in Excel

Either option will bring up the “Alt Text” pane in the right-hand side of the window. Unlike the Alt Text pane in Word and PowerPoint, Excel’s lacks the “Generate A Description For Me” option.

Instead, you’ll need to create the description yourself. The general rule for alt text is to keep it brief and descriptive. You also can omit unnecessary descriptions like “image of” or “photo of” as screen readers announce the object for you.

Alt text description of object in excel

If the object is purely decorative, then mark it as so by checking the box next to “Mark As Decorative.” Once selected, the box where you’d normally enter the description is grayed out and you can no longer input a description. The purpose is to let the screen reader know it can safely skip over that object.

Mark as descriptive box

That’s all there is to adding your alt text to objects in Microsoft Excel.

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Lucila is a freelance writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to study new things. She enjoys checking out the latest grammar books and writing about video games more than anything else. If she's not running through Colorado’s breathtaking landscape, she's indoors hidden away in her cozy game room trolling noobs and leveling up an RPG character. She is a Final Fantasy IX apologist (although she loves them all… except XV), coffee aficionado, and a bit of a health nut. Lucila graduated from Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing.

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