Is there a best practice for providing ALT text to decorative and non-essential images?

Chris_P. Member
edited November 2017 in CCC Accessibility Center
For simple decorative images, what is the recommended method for providing ALT text?  Leaving out the attribute altogether is not appropriate, but should the ALT value itself be left blank?  or simply a character space?  Or a "#" null sign?

I suppose one could include something like "decorative line," but is there a simple value that will cause the image to be essentially ignored by assistive technology?



  • Patrick_Ramaker
    edited November 2017

    I'm not sure what software you are using or if this is HTML, could you give us more details with what's being used? For instance, using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro to remediate documents I use a background (artifact) tag which essentially skips the image since it's a decorative figure. The tool used is called "Touch Up Reading Order Tool" within Accessibility, more information on it can be found at

  • Chris_P.
    Chris_P. Member
    edited November 2017
    I was thinking of any area that provides an opportunity to include ALT text, though typically in HTML.  Whether adding directly to the HTML, or filling in an ALT field in Canvas, MS Word, etc.,  I'm wondering if there is a best practice for what to use for unimportant decorative images.  Perhaps there is a way to have a screen reader skip/ignore it entirely?

    And, thanks for the tip in Acrobat.  That's helpful!
  • Bipin_Pillai
    Bipin_Pillai Member
    edited November 2017
    Hi Chris,

    In case of decorative images, set the alt attribute as empty or null. For example, in HTML use <img src="url" alt=""> where src should be set to the path where the decorative image is available.

    Hope that was useful.