Photo of Galahs

Automatic Alt-Text in Word 2016

(First published by Neil on 13/02/2018)

We all know we should be using Alt-Text in the content that we develop, whether it’s websites or e-learning. If you didn’t know, this means adding hidden data to a photo or image, that can be read by screen readers, thus enabling users with impaired vision to know what the photo is.  With the best will in the world, though, we’re often in a hurry and don’t bother. Imagine my delight, then, when I suddenly realised that Word 2016 was adding the Alt-Text automatically, based on what – presumably – some kind of AI thinks the photo is. It’s not an infallible process, obviously, but seems to have a pretty good guess most of the time. To set Word 2016 to do this automatically you need to go to File – Options – Ease of Access and check the box marked Automatically generate alt text for me. My photo of galahs in Western Australia above was automatically given the alt-text, “A bird standing next to a body of water”, which I thought was pretty cool.

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