The Alt Text Title Function for Pictures is No Longer Available in Office 365

How do I access the Alt Text Title? Only a Description is now available, but my documents use both Title and Description.

This is a recent question that was asked on a Microsoft Word forum.

My response…

I explained that Microsoft decided, in a recent update to Office 365, to remove access to the Title property field because they felt it was confusing to those users who were also inserting Alt Text Descriptions for Accessibility purposes.

I disagreed with this change because the Title property field, though listed on the Alt Text dialog, is used for more than just Accessibility purposes - particularly in document automation functions. I expressed this to the MS development team... but they refused to listen, at least to just me.

If you are unfamiliar with what previously existed…

This is what the Format Picture dialog/task pane for Alt Text has contained since Office 2010:

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 1.18.25 PM.png

With this recent change that Microsoft has made…

It is important to note that data you previously included in the Title field of existing documents is not lost. If you open the new Alt Text task pane you will see that existing Title data appears as the first line in the Alt Text description.

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 1.15.50 PM.png

However…

Don't be misled to believe that the first line you type into the Description box will be populated to the Title field ... that won't happen.

If you need to use a Title field for purposes other than Accessibility:

  1. You can add a Picture Content Control to the image

  2. And then set a Content Control Title from the Properties button for the picture.

    These buttons are on the Developer tab.

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 1.22.07 PM.png

However, Content Control Titles are separate data fields versus Picture Title fields.

In other words:

  • Existing Picture Titles will not automatically transfer to Content Control Titles.

What else can you do to regain this lost functionality?

You can write your own custom VBA macro and access the original Title property field associated with the picture.

Or, use the easiest way, because we’ve written the macro for you.

Download AuthorTec Accessibility which is our free Microsoft Word add-in that continues to provide editing access to the Title property field, regardless if you are using it for Accessibility purposes or not.

Screen Shot 2018-10-19 at 1.25.27 PM.png

One last thing, let your voice be heard…

MS_Feedback.png

If you wish to provide direct feedback to Microsoft on this feature being removed from the User Interface, please use the Feedback function, which is on the File menu of Word.


Written by Richard V. Michaels, M.Ed.

Chief Product Architect, Great Circle Learning
and a Microsoft Office Services MVP