Alt Text

"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. TV Tropes does have Alt Text capabilities, in the form of the Pot Hole.

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.


  • Chirault starts using alt text at some point, but it's usually not really funny or interesting.
  • Dinosaur Comics has an additional punchline in the alt text, as with the comic's archive name and email subject.
  • Imprint Chronicles has alt text which is often the 'biggest' sound effect on the page, or a very short comment on a character or panel.
  • 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.
    • The What If? spin-off blog initially didn't have any, although this changed soon after. Initially all the tooltips were simple descriptions of the images, but somewhere between "Tie Vote" and "Steak Drop", they, too, became extra punchlines.
  • The End has started running stories in the alt text. Chapter 15 told the story of a studio team making a movie tangentally similar to the chapter. Chapter 16 does something similar to old pulp sci-fi novels.
    Our intrepid heroes have scarcely begun to explore when their way is barred by the one of the Cosmic Mind-Thief's evil obstacles - the first of many, no doubt! "Look out, Savage! The Mind-Thief has constructed an id fence to bar our way! One touch, and your consciousness will be overtaken by your innermost fears!" "Not to worry, Smart! I still have the Cowl of Solitude that Science-Commander Warner gave me! It will isolate my thoughts in a psychic echo chamber-" "-and short out the id fence, overloading and destroying the psi-crystal that powers it! Of course! You're sure putting that doctorate in Psychophysics to good use, old friend!" note 
  • Irregular Webcomic!:
    • Author David Morgan-Mar argues against them in this strip, a parody of xkcd. While using 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.
  • Woo Hoo! has additional punchline alt-text on every page.
  • In Koan Of The Day, a last thought is always given in the hover-text.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • HERO, all the text (except one chapter, for stylistic reasons) is in Alt Text. Dialogue, narration, everything.
  • 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.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
    • The comic didn't use to have alt text but instead had and has a functionally similar votey comic, where mousing over (later clicking) 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.)
      • The first few years didn't have votey comics, but the author starting going back and adding them. Several are about how he doesn't get the joke he wrote over ten years ago.
    • In 2015 or so, it gained alt texts as well, which sometimes contain a joke but sometimes just name the comic.
  • Thinkgeek, being a geeky store, used to hide little jokes in the thumbnails on the gallery pages. They've stopped doing that, though.
  • Knights Errant frequently has amusing comments hidden in the alt text.
  • Housepets! often uses the alt text as a secondary punchline for the strip.
  • Amazing Superpowers. From comments:
    - alt text=win
    - How do you see an alt text?
    - The only appear to those who truly believe.
    - Those that believe in MOUSE HOVERING.
  • Flaky Pastry
  • Wondermark uses its alt text as a secondary punchline, which is sometimes funnier than the first one.
  • TV Tropes, as mentioned earlier.
  • El Goonish Shive once featured a hidden line in the image name between 2006-02-22 to 2008-02-22. They have been lost since the comic moved into a new php-framework but can still be read here
  • Brawl in the Family does this starting with comic #167. Later Lampshaded:
    - "Hey! Stop reading the mouseover text and look at the comic!"
    • The author does not add alt-text to comics that involve especially long and deep stories, allowing the reader to enjoy the comic as it is.
  • Non-webcomic example: the awards in Quake Live.
  • Encyclopedia Dramatica uses potholes much the same way.
  • The Dawn Chapel often uses hovertext for both the comic itself and the accompanying 'stinger' process sketch.
  • Ozy and Millie used mouseover text on the cast page, featuring quotes from the characters.
  • Abstruse Goose has mouseover Alt Text and an alternate title hidden in full text of the image location (found by viewing the image info).
  • On the news site Japanator, Ben Huber's Yotsuba&! comics have alt text.
  • 2P Start!, although the alt-text only begins mid-way through.
  • Alfdis And Gunnora has Alt Text on every page, usually a commentary on the page or characters, occasionally additional dialogue.
  • The Order of the Stick doesn't have actual Alt Text, but the comic titles often serve the function of the additional punchline, only making sense to the reader after the page in question has been read. The archive binger may be somewhat confounded, however, by the fact that the comic title doesn't display from the comic page itself, though the newest page title is always visible on the sidebar.
  • Chainsawsuit is another unusual case. A secondary punchline or remark can often by found by checking the list of search tags under Kris's rants. To name a few:
    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 Finneys 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.
  • For a non-webcomic example, some YouTube users like to put an extra joke into their videos' tags, like raocow.
  • Tea House 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.
  • The Cutting Room Floor, a wiki covering removed content in video games, often adds a silly joke to the images. Since it's a freely-editable wiki, the humor value varies.
  • The Ask Dr. Eldritch comics includes the added punchline variety.
  • The Fox Sister: Sporadically contains funny remarks about the respective page
  • MS Paint Masterpieces: Well, sorta. There was never text to begin with (he used filler for that), but then Dave set up Disguntled Ferret's comic with a text function starting on #958 (it is only viewable if the comics are displayed one at a time).
  • Equestrian themed webcomic The Idea of Order not only uses alt text, but also includes an additional punchline in the caption. For the inattentive that means three passes through the archive.
  • Precocious: Used mostly for Lampshade Hanging (especially in regard to lacking backgrounds, Spoof Aesops, and incredibly egregious puns).
  • A variation in Distorted Travesty, which uses Game Maker's ability to change the text in the title bar for each room to provide developer's commentary if the game's played in Windowed Mode.
  • Dumbing of Age started having it on February 14th, 2013. The first altext was, appropriately enough, "what i can add HOVERTEXT???"
    • Shortpacked! also started doing this. The text on both is often a secondary joke or meta explanations/warnings/information. The Roomies! redux only has the strip title as hovertext; any additional info is put in the news box for that strip.
  • The header images for abridged scripts at The Editing Room all contain a mean pun on the film's title, the better for you to mock them with.
  • Poppy O'Possum offers a second punchline or some commentary for each page.
  • Girls with Slingshots has them (since #1054), sometimes as a second punchline, other times as an author's note.
    • As of spring of 2014, there is an icon next to the comic navigation links which, when touched on a tablet, will display the alt-text, at long last making them accessible for readers using tablets or other mouseless formats.
  • Princess Chroma has used alt text from the beginning.
  • Biter Comics features hover text either adding to the joke or offering some commentary on the work.
  • Guilded Age uses alt text in every comic, even guest comics. Mostly it's another joke, though for the chapter beginnings it's instead "The one where [something related to the chapter contents]."
  • Whomp! started using alt text for additional jokes (or as the author calls them "Secret Words") in this comic.Prior to this the text only displayed the comics title. The text can also be found by clicking the "Secret Words" button at the bottom of the comic.
  • A Softer World allows you to either view alt text in the traditional way or by clicking on the comic, which causes a window to appear displaying the text. If you view it the traditional way, it may be entertaining for the easily-entertained to find a spot to hover which will cause the alt text to appear in a logical and aesthetically pleasing location respective of the actual comic.
  • Not Enough Rings also uses alt text for additional jokes.
  • Everyday Heroes includes additional punchlines (or commentary, for serious episodes).

Alternative Title(s):

Title Text