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Alt and Title Text used with Images

Difference between alt text and Title text

The alt attribute in an image should always be present - this is a requirement for accessible HTML.

The title attribute is optional.

What is the alt attribute for?
alt is an abbreviation for alternative; the text used for the alt attribute is a substitute (alternative) for the image when the image cannot be displayed. There are several reasons why an image may not be displayed, these include:
  • Image is not available on the server - not on the server, incorrect link
  • Browser does not support images - Lynx, Off by One browser
  • User has configured the browser to not display images
What is the title attribute for?
The title attribute is used to provide rollover text when an image is hovered over.
What is displayed in the browser?
In modern browsers (including FireFox, IE7 and later, Opera, Safari) the following is rendered:
  • If the image is not present, the alt text will be rendered, often in a box (image placeholder) the size of the missing image.
  • If the image is present, the alt text will not be rendered.
  • When the image (or image placeholder if the image is not present) is moused over the title text (if present) will be shown as a tooltip.