Can Screen Readers Recognize Text on Images?

Can Screen Readers Read Text on Images?

As a content creator, you know that images can speak louder than words. However, when it comes to accessibility, images can pose a challenge to those who rely on screen readers to consume information. Screen readers are assistive technologies that read the content of a webpage aloud to users with visual impairments. But can screen readers read text on images? In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and provide some tips on how to make images more accessible.

The short answer is no, screen readers cannot read text on images. However, there are ways to make the text on images accessible to users with visual impairments. One way is to provide alternative text, also known as alt text.

What is Alt Text?

Alt text is a written description of an image that is read aloud by screen readers. It provides a textual alternative to non-text content, such as images, charts, and graphs. Alt text should accurately describe the content and function of the image, allowing users with visual impairments to understand the information being conveyed.

How to Add Alt Text to Images?

Most content management systems, such as WordPress, make it easy to add alt text to images. When inserting an image into a post or page, there is typically a field to enter alt text. Here are some guidelines for writing effective alt text:

– Be concise: Keep your alt text to 125 characters or less.
– Be accurate: Describe the content and function of the image as accurately as possible.
– Be descriptive: Use words that convey the meaning of the image, such as colors, shapes, and people.
– Avoid redundancy: Don’t repeat the same information that is already in the surrounding text.
– Don’t include “image of” or “picture of”: These phrases are unnecessary and redundant.

Using CSS to Hide Text on Images
While adding alt text is the most common method for making text on images accessible, it is not the only method. Some designers choose to hide the text on images, making it available to screen readers but not visible to sighted users.

To hide the text on an image using CSS, you can use the “visually hidden” class. This class is commonly used to hide non-essential elements from sighted users that must be included for screen readers.

Here is an example of how to use the “visually hidden” class in your CSS:

`.visually-hidden {`

` visibility: hidden;`

` position: absolute;`

` top: -9999px;`

` left: -9999px;`


This class will hide the text on an image and make it accessible to screen readers without affecting the visual appearance of the image.


While screen readers cannot read text on images, adding alt text or using CSS to hide the text is an effective way to make images more accessible. As a content creator, it is important to consider the needs of all users, including those with visual impairments. By making images accessible, you can ensure that your content is usable and valuable to a wider audience.

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