Alt Text

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"The task of producing a cpr-themed cover version is left up to you, gentle readers, talented readers, readers who have discovered that if you hover your mouse over comics on the internet, sometimes they tell you to do stuff."

Text that shows up as a tooltip when you hover the mouse cursor over an image—or other elements on a page, even text—also known (more accurately) as "title text". Alt Text has many uses; some Web Comics use it to display comments, credits, or additional punchlines. All The Tropes does have Alt Text capabilities, in the form of the Pothole.

Finishing a lengthy Archive Binge, only to find out you missed all the funny Alt Text, is something that hopefully will never happen to you.

Alt text is inserted by defining the "title=" attribute of the image in the webpage's html or xhtml document. The actual "alt=" attribute has other purposes, though older versions of Internet Explorer would still display it as a tooltip, leading many authors to create Alt Text only functional in it.

Firefox 2 tended to truncate the displayed alt text, although there's a plugin for that. This was fixed in Firefox 3.6.

Examples of Alt Text include:

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Dinosaur Comics has an additional punchline in the Alt Text, as with the comic's archive name and email subject.
  • xkcd alt text is perhaps the most famous of the "extra punchline" genre; read the comments on the above fix for Firefox 2, and you'll find xkcd readers seem to be its primary market.
  • Xawu
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
  • Achewood
    • "Tomorrow's recipe: chicken!"
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
  • Goodbye Chains
  • Thinkin' Lincoln
  • Irregular Webcomic author David Morgan-Mar argues against them in this strip, a parody of xkcd.
    • And uses it anyway, because he's parodying xkcd, and wants to get it right. His previous xkcd parody featured a Take That against Alt Text in the Alt Text, which read "Some text that's too long to display when you mouseover it in Firefox, thus forcing you to check the source code to see it".
      • Which, of course, shows up as "Some text that's too long to display when you mouseover it in Firefox, thus forcing you to..."
  • Oglaf initially didn't utilize alt text as bonus info, but progressed to use alt text and later on to simultaneously using different ALT and TITLE text, making some people having to not only hover their mouse over the image but also look up the alt text in the source of the page.
  • Overcompensating
  • While it is, perhaps, not exactly this trope, Narbonic features hidden text in the file name of each strip: a word or words that, when placed in order by date, form a side story.
  • In the web comic HERO, all the text (except one chapter, for stylistic reasons) is in Alt Text. Dialogue, narration, everything.
  • A Softer World
  • Three Summers Strong warns the user that there are Alt Texts in its slogan, so that the reader knows they are part of the joke.
  • Molten Blade makes frequent use of title tags to include references and comments in strips that are otherwise intended to be serious.
  • Worst of the Time Lords
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal does not have alt text but instead has functionally similar votey comic, where mousing over the red button gives an extra picture with an extra punchline. It's like alt text for people too lazy to read.
    • But you still have to visit the website and thus give him ad hits. Clever.
  • Pictures for Sad Children
  • Daisy Owl
  • Girly
  • Suppression has some truly great Alt Text, such as here and here.
  • Something*Positive has little comments similar to Alt Text printed in plain sight at the bottom of the comics.
  • Gastrophobia
  • Knights Errant frequently has amusing comments hidden in the Alt Text.
  • Housepets.
  • Amazing Super Powers. From comments:

Those that believe in MOUSE HOVERING.

thems ain't worth a trip downtown
she's acting all mad but she probably likes him i bet
the letter y is different in english
ho boy wot guacs
this is the only comic with the tag samsung galaxy tab

  • Edmund Finney's Quest to Find the Meaning of Life has a little paintbrush icon under each comic, which displays the alt text in a little widget if you hover your mouse over it. Apparently the alt text is stuff Edmund writes down in his notebook.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court doesn't technically have alt text, but the witty little comments below each comic serve the same purpose, and are just as easy to miss the first time you read it...especially because they don't start showing up until around chapter 5.
  • L's Empire has some where the alt text for multiple pages need to be read in order to get the joke.
  • Teahouse starts using this early in chapter 3.
  • New School Kids has this, though usually only tangibly related to the plot.
  • Happle Tea uses it on occasion.
  • Thornsaddle has alt text for most of its strips, especially the earlier one.

Web Original

  • OAFEnet reviews begin with straightforward Alt Text naming the subject of the review, then quickly degenerate into name-calling, in-jokes and even running gags. Yes, Alt Text-only running gags.
  • Thinkgeek, being a geeky store, hides little jokes in the thumbnails on the gallery pages. Like this one.
  • All The Tropes, as mentioned earlier.
  • Chris Sims' Invincible Super-Blog
  • Encyclopedia Dramatica uses potholes much the same way.
  • On the news site Japanator, Ben Huber's Yotsuba&! comics have alt text.
  • Some Youtube users like to put an extra joke into their videos' tags, like Raocow.
  • Similarly, Rooster Teeth has been known to throw extra jokes into the closed captioning for some of their videos. RWBY Chibi, for instance.