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Alternate Text for Images

This article applies to: Web Accessibility

In order to be WCAG AA compliant, all images must have accompanying text that conveys the same information. Images that add no meaningful information should be marked as decorative. Doing so will prompt assistive technology to ignore these elements and they will not be flagged for accessibility issues.


  1. Right click or Ctrl click on the image.
  2. Select Format Picture.
  3. Select Layout and Properties.
  4. Expand Alt Text.
  5. Enter the Title and Description. For decorative images, enter empty quotation marks (””) in the Description field.


  1. Use the Selection Tool to select the image.
  2. Under Object, select Export Options.
  3. Select the Alt Text tab.
  4. Enter the alt text. For decorative images, enter empty quotation marks (””).

Read Adobe's documentation about how to add alt-text to images in InDesign.

Adobe Acrobat

  1. Use the TouchUp Reading Order tool to select the image.
  2. Select Figure for images that show content (double-click the image if Figure is not selectable)
    OR, for decorative images, select Background and skip the remaining steps.
  3. Right click or Ctrl click on the image.
  4. Select Edit Alternate Text.
  5. Enter the Alternate Text.
  6. Select OK.
If you set an image as Background, sometimes Acrobat will still flag the image during the Accessibility check.  If so, apply empty quotes to the image. has a tutorial on adding Alternate Text in Acrobat DC.


WebAIM provides guidelines for creating appropriate alternate text which include:

  • Be accurate and equivalent
  • Be succinct
  • Avoid redundancy
  • Avoid “image of…” “graphic of….” “photo of…” “link to…”

For more information, see the Social Security Administration Guide: Alternate Text for Images.

About this Article

Last updated: 

Thursday, August 26, 2021 - 10:53am

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