Captions and Alt-Text Guidelines for Authors
Authors are required to submit captions and alt-text for all images in their manuscript along with their final draft manuscript for production. These guidelines explain this requirement and outline a process to make this work as clear and straightforward as possible.
These guidelines will help us ensure your book meets accessibility standards so that a broadly diverse group of readers can enjoy your work. Your book may not be accepted for distribution in certain markets and platforms without full and useful alt-text due to legislated requirements. If you have any questions, please contact your editor. A template follows at the bottom of the page.
The caption identifies the image, provides context, and credits the source. It often supplements the information found in the image. There are no character limits for captions, but information should be concise and consistent in format and style across images.
Caption: Charlie’s dog Beano on the family farm, shortly before her heroic attempt to catch the Frisbee. Photo used with permission from Sue Smith.
Alt-text describes the key content of an image and is embedded in ebook files for use by screen reader software for readers with print disabilities. Please consider the following when writing alt-text:
- Think about what vital information an image provides to readers who can see it on the page. This will help identify what key details need to be put in the alt-text and what information you can leave out.
- Describe physically what is in the image, including colour, placement, text, and relationships between objects.
- Note that a screen reader will read both the caption and the alt-text, so do not repeat information from the caption.
- Images that are included in a text for decorative purposes only do not need alt-text. Typically, if an image doesn’t have a caption, it doesn’t need to have alt-text.
- The words “an image of” do not need to be part of alt-text.
- Alt-text is limited to 250 characters, spaces not included.
Alt-text: A black medium-sized dog standing in a field of green grass and looking to the left with its ears and tail pointing upwards.
Extended alt-text is only necessary when the alt-text description’s character limit is not enough to convey all the important details in the image. Extended alt-text also does not appear in the book itself but instead is embedded in ebook files for use by screen reader software for readers with print disabilities. Do not repeat anything that appears in the caption or the main alt-text description.
Extended alt-text: There is a blue sky above the field and a row of trees in the distance. The dog is a Labrador Retriever who looks old but happy.
Captions and alt-text must be numbered to correspond with the image file names. Divide images by type (for example, Photos, Maps, Figures, Tables) and number them within each type.
Please download this template to create your captions and alt-text: Captions and Alt-Text Template
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