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How to Add Alternative Text to an Object in Microsoft Excel

excel logo

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.

RELATED: How to Add Alternative Text to an Object in Google Slides

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.

RELATED: How to Add Alternative Text to an Object in Google Docs

Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.
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