Accessibility in Canvas - Pictures

Last changed: 15 May 2023

When you add an image to Canvas, it must have alternate text for visually impaired users who use screen readers. The screen reader reads out the alternative text so that the user gets a description of the image in the form of sound.

Tell us what you see!

All images must, in accordance with legal requirements and the EU's web directive, be described with text. ALT texts, or alternative texts, allow screen readers to 'read' images with sound for students who are blind or have impaired vision. Only images with meaning for the content have ALT text. Only decorative images should be avoided, as they rather distract focus from the essential course content. The ALT texts tell briefly, with about 8−80 characters including spaces, what happens in the image, and what the image looks like. In Canvas, the ALT text can be up to 120 characters long. Do not write: The image represents… Image, because the image is still visible.

Examples of ALT texts:

A man in shorts squats in the lingonberry rice by a stump in front of a moss-covered rock.

Ola Langvall, experimental leader at the unit for forest field research at SLU. Photographer: Ola Langvall.

Wind power with spinning rotor blades in blue and green. Cartoon illustration.

CAPTION: Wind turbines. Illustration: SLU.

The ALT texts are hidden, if you do not activate them with the screen reader. In Canvas, the scare reader is in the form of a wide arrowhead at the bottom of the right-hand column on the course page. When you press the arrow, a player appears. To listen to the ALT text, select some text in front of the image and the image itself and press play.

Note that the screen reader needs a description in the form of an ALT text, or a mark for 'decorative image', in order not to read out codes or anything else. Caption and ALT text have slightly different content. The ALT text paints the picture for the listener. For example, the ALT text describes color, seasons and moods.

How to put ALT texts in Canvas

  1. In your course in Canvas: Press PAGES on the left. Click on the selected page from the register, which has appeared, where the images are that should have ALT texts.

    FigurFigure 1 The course pages' headings are listed in Canvas under Pages.

  2. The page comes up. Press EDIT at the top right.

  3. In edit mode: Touch the image. A small bubble with 'IMAGE OPTIONS' appears, and a box on the left. Write your ALT text in the intended box. Press EMBEDDED. Press DONE.

  4. Then check that your text is approved by clicking on ACCESSIBILITY CHECKER' under the image.
  5. Scroll down the page and press SAVE.
  6. You have now exited edit mode and are back on the page.
    Then press NEXT if you have more pages with ALT texts to write in Canvas.


Canvas Support

Servicedesk helps you with:

  • Support.
  • Sandbox (a test room where you can try the tools).
  • Create users missing in Canvas and not in Idis.

You reach Servicedesk via extension 6600 or


The Division of Learning and Digitalisation

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