Text Versions

Follow these guidelines to create text versions for audio, video, and multimedia content on NREL.gov.

A text version is an accessible text file that describes the audio and action content in a sound, video, or multimedia file. It is the responsibility of the communications representative or project manager to create text versions.

When embedding an audio, video, or multimedia file on a webpage, include a Text version link adjacent to the file using the caption style (12px). If more than one video is embedded on a page, make sure the link text is unique (e.g., Text version: Name of Video 1).

When posting media files to external sites such as YouTube, include a link to the text version in the file description. 


Text versions should include:

  • All spoken dialogue
  • Succinct descriptions of events and actions that are necessary to understand the content 
  • Anything displayed visually, such as words or symbols, that is not included in the spoken text.

A visitor should be able to read a text version and understand all of the major themes and messages in a multimedia file.


For audio-only files, the text version is essentially a transcript. Do not include stuttering or filler phrases such as "um" and "uh."


The text version should include a complete transcript of everything said in the video. It should also include a brief description of any important action, visual, text, nonspeech sound (such as laughter or off-screen voices), or visual cue that appears in the video. Anything that is not crucial to understanding the video content (such as transitional screens, decorative imagery, or text that's redundant with what the speaker is saying) does not need to be described.

Because text versions describe the visual and audio cues in a video, they are still required for videos in which there is no spoken dialogue.


Because most animations include audio and video content, text versions for animations are similar to text versions for videos. 

Interactive animations can be difficult to describe in a linear text file. In this case, decide what information needs to be included to allow a visitor to understand what happens in the animation. You do not need to describe every detail. However, your text version must provide visitors with a similar understanding of the content as a user who used the animation.


NREL.gov text versions should: 

  • Include "(Text Version)" after the page title in the <h1> and <title> tag
  • Include intro text that includes the title of the video, stipulates it is a text version, and explains the general message of the video (For example, "This is the text version of the video Funding for Residential Wind Power. This video discusses funding available for residential wind power installations.")
  • Include an embed of the associated media file (If the media file cannot be embedded, link to its permanent location.)
  • Follow the exact wording of the video, even if grammatically incorrect
  • Be edited for capitalization and punctuation according to the NREL Style Guide [Note that 3Play text versions do not support UTF-8 characters and, as a result, may include minor variances from NREL style. For example, em dashes are rendered as two hyphens with a trailing space (“-- ").]
  • Be formatted as an HTML page and placed in the /news/video/ directory
  • Use a file name that is the same as the multimedia counterpart with -text added before .html.


See the following files for examples of how to format different types of multimedia text versions, including special content considerations.