Alternative text (also known as "alt text," "alt tags," or "alt descriptions") is text that appears in place of an image on a website if it fails to load (or if you hover the cursor over it). It also has two more key uses:\r\n\r\n\tSearch engines check alt text for keywords, so it can boost SEO.\r\n\tScreen reader tools use it to describe images for visually impaired users.\r\n\r\nAlt text is therefore crucial for websites. But it\u2019s also vital if you\u2019re using images or charts in a document and you want it to be accessible.\r\nWhat should you use as alt text for images, though? And how can you add alt text in Microsoft Word and Google Docs? Let\u2019s take a look.\r\nAdding Alt Text to an Image\r\nThe simple answer is to describe what it depicts in relation to the surrounding text. But there are a few other considerations to keep in mind:\r\n\r\n\tBe specific rather than generic (e.g., "A parrot" may describe the image, but "A blue and gold macaw extending its right wing" tells us far more).\r\n\tScreen readers can identify visuals in a document, so there is no need to start with "A picture of\u2026" or other redundant phrases.\r\n\tKeep it succinct (ideally, no more than around 125 characters).\r\n\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_45455" align="aligncenter" width="472"] Photo: Couleur[\/caption]\r\n\r\nIn addition, some images may already have alt text, especially if you downloaded them from the internet. As such, it\u2019s wise to check the alt text on an image, and amend it as required, before using it in your content.\r\nHow to Add Alt Text in Microsoft Word\r\nFor an image in a Microsoft Word document, you can add alt text by:\r\n\r\n\tRight clicking the image.\r\n\tSelect Edit Alt Text\u2026 to open the Alt Text.\r\n\tClick inside the text box and write a short description.\r\n\r\nYou can then close the sidebar and the image will have the alt text entered.\r\nIn some versions of Microsoft Word, you can also mark an image as decorative if it is not important for the meaning of a document. This will tell screen readers to skip over it, letting them focus on the most relevant text.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_45447" align="aligncenter" width="276"] The "Alt Text" box in Microsoft Word with the "Mark as decorative" option ticked.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nHow to Add Alt Text in Google Docs\r\nTo add alt text to an image in Google Docs, meanwhile, you need to:\r\n\r\n\tRight click on the image and select Alt Text from the menu.\r\n\tEnter a title and a description that reflects the image.\r\n\tClick OK to save your changes.\r\n\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_45451" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Adding alt text in Google Docs.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nYou can use this same process to check and edit existing alt text in images.\r\nProfessional Proofreading Services\r\nBy describing the visuals in your document, alt text makes your work accessible to more people. And to further ensure your writing is easy to read, why not get it proofread by the professionals?