How to Use Zapps Pro
The Collection

Accessibility: Generate Alt Text

Accessibility group on The Collection ribbon

Use Generate Alt Text to make your documents accessible to screen readers.

“Screen readers are software programs that allow blind or visually impaired users to read the text that is displayed on the computer screen with a speech synthesizer or braille display.”
– American Foundation for the Blind



What is Alt Text?

In a Word document the text a screen reader “reads” is obviously the text contained in the body of the document, but what about pictures, graphics, charts, etc. that are also in the document – how are they described by the screen reader? The answer is “Alternative Text” that gets associated with each special object and that the screen reader “speaks” to the end user. 


About Alt Text

Alternative Text for each inserted object has two parts:

  1. A title for the special object
  2. A fuller description that can be optionally read to the disabled individual.

Creating these two pieces of readable data for every picture, chart, shape, SmartArt, table, etc. in the document can be a time consuming and expensive process… and that is where this Zapps Pro function can help.

What Zapps Pro does

From the information it already has on “non-text” embedded objects, Zapps Pro can automatically generate alternate text titles and descriptions.

With Zapps Pro installed as an add-in to Microsoft Word, for all pictures you insert:

  • the file name of the picture automatically becomes the Alternate Text Title for the picture object, and
  • the full path to the picture automatically becomes the Alternate Text Description for it.

So depending on just how descriptive your file names really are, the Zapps Pro add-in already gives you an excellent at immediately making your media rich documents more accessible to the visually disabled. The Alt Text is added automatically whether you use the Insert Pictures function of Word or Zapps Pro.

To Generate Alt Text 

Click the Generate Alt Text button to open the Generate Alternative Text dialog box.

Select - Setup a scan of your entire document or just a portion of it. The scan will find inserted objects that require Alternative Text.

Objects to check - Search for all objects or just a subset of them.

Action - Generate text will automatically generate Alternate Text for each object found, based on the available data.

Existing text?  - Do not replace will only add Alt Text to objects that are not already fully described. Replace will specify if Zapps Pro is to replace any existing Alt Text if found.

Action - Review and edit. This is an important step that we recommend you take after generating Alt Text. Learn more below.


The Generate Alt Text dialog box


Allowing Zapps Pro to automatically generate alternative text is a good starting point, but it is not all you should do to make your document truly accessible.


After auto generating the Alternate Text for all objects:

  1. Use the “Review and Edit” control.
  2. Spend time improving what the screen reader will “say” about your inserted objects.
  3. The green arrow buttons will move you forward and back among the alt text objects. 

Making your document genuinely accessible is simply the “right thing to do” and we hope you will invest the necessary time and effort.

By-the-way if you follow our recommendation, you will still save half the time it would otherwise take you to make your document accessible.



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