Working with Alternate Text in Acrobat

All nondecorative images or graphics should be marked with alternate (alt) text that screen readers can read aloud to visually impaired users.

The Undo function does not apply to tags, so we recommend that you save a backup copy of a document prior to editing its tags.

Adding Alternate Text

To add alt text in Adobe Acrobat:

  1. Open a tagged PDF in Acrobat. You must tag your PDF before you can add alt text.
  2. Open the Order panel.
    Screenshot of Order Panel
  3. Images that require alt text will display the following message: "Figure - No alternate text exists." Right-click the image and select Edit Alternate Text. If the Edit Alternate Text option does not appear when you right-click the image, open the Touch Up Reading Order panel (Click the Options menu in the Order panel and select "Show reading order panel"), then try right-clicking the image again. 
    Screenshot of Edit Alternate Text
  4. Type your alt text in the text box and click the OK button.
    Screenshot of Alternate Text Field
    Alt text should briefly describe the contents of the image. Whenever possible, alt text should communicate the same information as the image. Never use the image's filename or any other generic, nondescriptive text as alt text. Please refer to our general guidelines for writing good alt text.

Marking an Image as an Artifact

If an image does not contribute any useful information or meaning to the document, mark that image as an artifact instead of giving it alt text. To mark an image as an artifact:

  1. Open the Order panel.
    Screenshot of Order Panel
  2. Locate the image in the Order panel. Right-click the image and select Tag as background.
    Screenshot of Tag As Background