Corporate document

Charts and images

Charts and images

Make sure charts and images are accessible by either adding alt text or providing the content as text as well.


Follow these steps and NICE's brand guidelines when creating a chart. 

  • Main title with figure number: concise and convey the main message of the chart. Insert this as a caption in the main body text, rather than in the image itself.

  • Statistical title: this should include information on the statistical measure, the geographical coverage and the time period.

  • Labelling: label the axes clearly so people can quickly infer what the data shows.

  • Colour: do not use colour as the only way to communicate information in the chart. 

  • Alternative text: describe what you want users to understand from the chart. Provide alt text as a text description in the body of the page, directly below the chart. The graph image should then be marked as decorative to be hidden from screen reader software.  

  • Source: in this format: [organisation], [publication or source of data]. For example, NHS Digital, Hospital Episode Statistics. If all charts come from the same data source, this does not need to be repeated under each figure. 

  • Data download: it is good practice to provide a way to download the data displayed in each chart, This should be displayed under that chart and include information on file type and size. The text used for the link should be specific to the chart. For example, 'Download the data for figure 1 (5kb CSV)'. 

For more detailed information on formatting charts see Government Analysis Function - Data visualisation: charts 

This figure provides an example of how a chart should look when published. 

Figure x: Apixaban was the most prescribed anticoagulant in 2021

Total items of anticoagulant medicines dispensed in primary care in England, 2021 

A bar chart showing that apixaban was the most prescribed anticoagulant medicine in 2021, followed by warfarin sodium, rivaroxaban, edoxaban and dabigatran etexilate. Close to 8 million items of apixaban were dispensed. Source: Bennett Institute for Applied Data Science, OpenPrescribing [Download data for figure x (5kb CSV)].


Only use images if that's the best way to communicate what you need. Do not use images just for decoration.

All non-text elements, such as images, need alt text. The alt text should describe what the image is communicating, it should not just be a literal description of the image.