[l2h] How do I disable the automatic inserted for math ALT comments?

Ross Moore ross at ics.mq.edu.au
Thu Mar 25 00:51:28 CET 2004

Hello Peter,

On 25/03/2004, at 2:18 AM, Peter Morling wrote:

> Dear all,
> I there a global option to disable the insertion of the ALT comments 
> for the
> automatic generated comments. I don't think these comments provide any
> useful information for the end reader (it might for the TeX writer :-) 
> ) of
> the html-documents.

Firstly,  ALT text is a *required* attribute for <IMG> tags,
according to the HTML specs, so failure to include them renders
your document invalid, from this point-of-view.

Secondly, for browsers that *do not display* images, it is the ALT text
which is shown instead, so they convey definite information in this 
This includes screen-readers, for the sight-impaired, for whom the ALT
text is the *only* means to get an idea of what the picture was showing.

Thirdly, if the pop-up of ALT text is annoying to yourself, or any
of your readers, then the option is always available to simply
turn it off in your browser.
In some browsers the place to do this is via a check-box labeled
(rather badly) as "Tool Tips".

Fourthly, and this is the only aspect that is specific to LaTeX2HTML,
is that for small inline images, the ALT text is the only place where
the original TeX coding is included in the HTML source document.
(For larger --- e.g. displayed-math --- images, there are special
comments, of the form  <!-- MATH: ......  -->
which give the complete source string.)

Hence, at least in principle, it is possible to recover the complete
LaTeX source for the document from the HTML source.
(Things like lists, tables and sectioning need to be 

The simple answer to your question is that *no*, it's not easy to
turn off the generation of ALT text, because it is bad form to generate
HTML pages this way.
But it shouldn't be too hard for a Perl programmer to find the place
in the LaTeX2HTML source (i.e. in latex2html.pin  or your installed
  /usr/local/bin/latex2html , or whatever )  where these attributes
are generated, and then modify what it creates.

Hope this helps,

	Ross Moore

> Best,
> Peter
> Programmer Peter Morling, University of Southern Denmark
> Department of Statistics, Sdr. Boulevard 23A, DK-5000 Odense C
> Phone (+45) 6550 3399
Ross Moore                                         ross at maths.mq.edu.au
Mathematics Department                             office: E7A-419
Macquarie University                               tel: +61 +2 9850 8955
Sydney, Australia                                  fax: +61 +2 9850 8114

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