How to Add Alternative Text to an Object in Google Docs

439398 How to Add Alternative Text to an Object in Google Docs

Adding alternative text (alt text) to images, drawings, charts, and other visual elements in your Google Docs documents is important for accessibility and SEO.

What is Alternative Text?

Alternative text provides a text alternative for non-text content in web pages and documents. It is read aloud to blind users using screen readers, allowing them to understand images, graphics, and other visuals.

Key benefits of adding alt text:

  • Makes content accessible for blind and visually impaired users
  • Provides context for images for search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Displays if an image fails to load on a web page

How to Add Alt Text in Google Docs

Adding alt text in Google Docs is easy:

  1. Select the object (image, drawing, chart, etc.) that needs alt text
  2. Right click and select “Alt text” from the pop-up menu
  3. In the Alt text window, add a description of the object
  4. Click OK to save

Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcuts:

  • Mac: Press Option + Command + Y
  • PC: Press Ctrl + Alt + Y

Tips for Writing Good Alt Text

  • Be accurate and equivalent in detail to the visual content
  • Use concise phrases and sentences
  • Avoid redundant information like “picture of” or “image of”
  • For complex charts or graphs, describe trends and key takeaways

Why Add Alt Text for Accessibility?

Adding accurate and descriptive alt text makes content accessible for people with visual impairments who use screen readers and other assistive technologies to access digital content.

Benefits of alt text for accessibility:

  • Allows blind users to understand images, charts, and other visuals
  • Provides critical context and information about visual elements
  • Improves overall accessibility of documents

Why Add Alt Text for SEO?

Alt text also helps search engines understand the content of images and graphics, allowing that content to be indexed for searches.

Benefits of alt text for SEO:

  • Provides keywords and context for search engines
  • Can help images rank higher in image search results
  • Improves chances of driving traffic from image search

Alt Text Best Practices

Follow these best practices when adding alt text:

  • Be accurate and detailed – Describe the image specifically as it relates to the content
  • Concise phrases – Use a few concise phrases or sentences
  • Provide context – Help the user understand the purpose of the image
  • Avoid redundancy – Don’t include “image of” or other redundant text

Examples of Good Alt Text

Bad alt text: Two people sitting at a table

Good alt text: A doctor and patient discussing treatment options

The good example provides critical context that the first one lacks.

Tools for Adding Alt Text in Google Docs

Manually adding alt text to all your images in Google Docs can be time consuming. Here are some tools that can help automate the process:


Adding descriptive alt text to images, charts, and other visual elements is important for web accessibility and SEO. With just a few steps, you can add alt text to objects in Google Docs:

  1. Select the object
  2. Right click and choose “Alt text”
  3. Enter a description of the object
  4. Click OK to save

Following alt text best practices helps ensure your content is accessible and optimized for search engines.

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