THE BARE BONES GUIDE TO HTML

by Kevin Werbach
Version 4.0 Formatted -- February 1999


The latest version of this document is available at http://werbach.com/barebones/, where you will also find the text version, translations, and background materials.

The Bare Bones Guide to HTML lists all the tags that current browsers are likely to recognize. I have included all the elements in the official HTML 4.0 recommendation with common attributes, as well as Netscape and Microsoft extensions. This document is a quick reference, not a complete specification; for official information about HTML and its development, see the World Wide Web Consortium site at http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/.

The Guide is designed to be as concise as possible, and therefore it doesn't go into any detail about how to use the various tags. A few tags link to notes that address frequently-asked questions. If you're looking for more detailed step-by-step information, see my WWW Help Page.

Table of Contents
  1. INTRODUCTORY MATERIAL

  2. HTML TAGS

    Important: If you are not clear about the differences between the various versions of HTML, I suggest that you read my discussion of the development of HTML, or the World Wide Web Consortium HTML activity statement.

BASIC ELEMENTS
  Document Type <HTML></HTML> (beginning and end of file)
  Title <TITLE></TITLE> (must be in header)
  Header <HEAD></HEAD> (descriptive info, such as title)
  Body <BODY></BODY> (bulk of the page)

STRUCTURAL DEFINITION
  Heading <H?></H?> (the spec. defines 6 levels)
  Align Heading <H? ALIGN=LEFT|CENTER|RIGHT></H?>
  Division <DIV></DIV>
  Align Division <DIV ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER|JUSTIFY></DIV>
4.0 Defined Content <SPAN></SPAN>
  Block Quote <BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE> (usually indented)
4.0 Quote <Q></Q> (for short quotations)
4.0 Citation <Q CITE="URL"></Q>
  Emphasis <EM></EM> (usually displayed as italic)
  Strong Emphasis <STRONG></STRONG> (usually displayed as bold)
  Citation <CITE></CITE> (usually italics)
  Code <CODE></CODE> (for source code listings)
  Sample Output <SAMP></SAMP>
  Keyboard Input <KBD></KBD>
  Variable <VAR></VAR>
  Definition <DFN></DFN> (not widely implemented)
  Author's Address <ADDRESS></ADDRESS>
  Large Font Size <BIG></BIG>
  Small Font Size <SMALL></SMALL>
4.0 Insert <INS></INS> (marks additions in a new version)
4.0 Time of Change <INS DATETIME=":::"></INS>
4.0 Comments <INS CITE="URL"></INS>
4.0 Delete <DEL></DEL> (marks deletions in a new version)
4.0 Time of Change <DEL DATETIME=":::"></DEL>
4.0 Comments <DEL CITE="URL"></DEL>
4.0 Acronym <ACRONYM></ACRONYM>
4.0 Abbreviation <ABBR></ABBR>

PRESENTATION FORMATTING
  Bold <B></B>
  Italic <I></I>
4.0* Underline <U></U> (not widely implemented)
  Strikeout <STRIKE></STRIKE> (not widely implemented)
4.0* Strikeout <S></S> (not widely implemented)
  Subscript <SUB></SUB>
  Superscript <SUP></SUP>
  Typewriter <TT></TT> (displays in a monospaced font)
  Preformatted <PRE></PRE> (display text spacing as-is)
  Width <PRE WIDTH=?></PRE> (in characters)
  Center <CENTER></CENTER> (for both text and images)
N1 Blinking <BLINK></BLINK> (the most derided tag ever)
  Font Size <FONT SIZE=?></FONT> (ranges from 1-7)
  Change Font Size <FONT SIZE="+|-?"></FONT>
  Font Color <FONT COLOR="#$$$$$$"></FONT>
4.0* Select Font <FONT FACE="***"></FONT>
N4 Point size <FONT POINT-SIZE=?></FONT>
N4 Weight <FONT WEIGHT=?></FONT>
4.0* Base Font Size <BASEFONT SIZE=?> (from 1-7; default is 3)
MS Marquee <MARQUEE></MARQUEE>

POSITIONING
N3 Multi-Column <MULTICOL COLS=?></MULTICOL>
N3 Column Gutter <MULTICOL GUTTER=?></MULTICOL>
N3 Column Width <MULTICOL WIDTH=?></MULTICOL>
N3 Spacer <SPACER>
N3 Spacer Type <SPACER TYPE=HORIZONTAL|VERTICAL|BLOCK>
N3 Size <SPACER SIZE=?>
N3 Dimensions <SPACER WIDTH=? HEIGHT=?>
N3 Alignment <SPACER ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER>
N4 Layer <LAYER></LAYER>
N4 Name <LAYER ID="***"></LAYER>
N4 Location <LAYER LEFT=? TOP=?></LAYER>
N4 Rel. Position <LAYER PAGEX=? PAGEY=?></LAYER>
N4 Source File <LAYER SRC="***"></LAYER>
N4 Stacking <LAYER Z-INDEX=?></LAYER>
N4 Stack Position <LAYER ABOVE="***" BELOW="***"></LAYER>
N4 Dimensions <LAYER HEIGHT=? WIDTH=?></LAYER>
N4 Clipping Path <LAYER CLIP=,,,></LAYER>
N4 Visible? <LAYER VISIBILITY=SHOW|HIDDEN|INHERIT></LAYER>
N4 Background <LAYER BACKGROUND="$$$$$$"></LAYER>
N4 Color <LAYER BGCOLOR="$$$$$$"></LAYER>
N4 Inline Layer <ILAYER></ILAYER> (takes same attributes as LAYER)
N4 Alt. Content <NOLAYER></NOLAYER>

LINKS, GRAPHICS, AND SOUNDS
  Link Something <A HREF="URL"></A>
  Link to Location <A HREF="URL#***"></A> (if in another document)
  <A HREF="#***"></A> (if in current document)
4.0* Target Window <A HREF="URL" TARGET="***"></A>
4.0* Action on Click <A HREF="URL" ONCLICK="***"></A> (Javascript)
4.0* Mouseover Action <A HREF="URL" ONMOUSEOVER="***"></A> (Javascript)
4.0* Mouse out Action <A HREF="URL" ONMOUSEOUT="***"></A> (Javascript)
  Link to Email <A HREF="mailto:@"></A>
N, MS Specify Subject <A HREF="mailto:@?SUBJECT=***"></A> (use a real question mark)
  Define Location <A NAME="***"></A>
  Display Image <IMG SRC="URL">
  Alignment <IMG SRC="URL" ALIGN=TOP|BOTTOM|MIDDLE|LEFT|RIGHT>
N1 Alignment <IMG SRC="URL" ALIGN=TEXTTOP|ABSMIDDLE|BASELINE|ABSBOTTOM>
  Alternate <IMG SRC="URL" ALT="***"> (if image not displayed)
  Dimensions <IMG SRC="URL" WIDTH=? HEIGHT=?> (in pixels)
  <IMG SRC="URL" WIDTH=% HEIGHT=%> (as percentage of page width/height)
  Border <IMG SRC="URL" BORDER=?> (in pixels)
  Runaround Space <IMG SRC="URL" HSPACE=? VSPACE=?> (in pixels)
N1 Low-Res Proxy <IMG SRC="URL" LOWSRC="URL">
  Imagemap <IMG SRC="URL" ISMAP> (requires a script)
  Imagemap <IMG SRC="URL" USEMAP="URL">
MS Movie Clip <IMG DYNSRC="***" START="***" LOOP=?>
MS Background Sound <BGSOUND SRC="***" LOOP=?|INFINITE>
  Client-Side Map <MAP NAME="***"></MAP> (describes the map)
  Map Section <AREA SHAPE="DEFAULT|RECT|CIRCLE|POLY" COORDS=",,," HREF="URL"|NOHREF>
N1 Client Pull <META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="?; URL=URL">
N2 Embed Object <EMBED SRC="URL"> (insert object into page)
N2 Object Size <EMBED SRC="URL" WIDTH=? HEIGHT=?>
4.0 Object <OBJECT></OBJECT>
4.0 Parameters <PARAM>

DIVIDERS
  Paragraph <P></P> (closing tag often unnecessary)
  Align Text <P ALIGN=LEFT|CENTER|RIGHT></P>
N Justify Text <P ALIGN=JUSTIFY></P>
  Line Break <BR> (a single carriage return)
  Clear Textwrap <BR CLEAR=LEFT|RIGHT|ALL>
  Horizontal Rule <HR>
  Alignment <HR ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER>
  Thickness <HR SIZE=?> (in pixels)
  Width <HR WIDTH=?> (in pixels)
  Width Percent <HR WIDTH="%"> (as a percentage of page width)
  Solid Line <HR NOSHADE> (without the 3D cutout look)
N1 No Break <NOBR></NOBR> (prevents line breaks)
N1 Word Break <WBR> (where to break a line if needed)

LISTS
  Unordered List <UL><LI></UL> (before each list item)
  Compact <UL COMPACT></UL>
  Bullet Type <UL TYPE=DISC|CIRCLE|SQUARE> (for the whole list)
  Bullet Type <LI TYPE=DISC|CIRCLE|SQUARE> (this & subsequent)
  Ordered List <OL><LI></OL> (before each list item)
  Compact <OL COMPACT></OL>
  Numbering Type <OL TYPE=A|a|I|i|1> (for the whole list)
  Numbering Type <LI TYPE=A|a|I|i|1> (this & subsequent)
  Starting Number <OL START=?> (for the whole list)
  Starting Number <LI VALUE=?> (this & subsequent)
  Definition List <DL><DT><DD></DL> (<DT>=term, <DD>=definition)
  Compact <DL COMPACT></DL>
  Menu List <MENU><LI></MENU> (before each list item)
  Compact <MENU COMPACT></MENU>
  Directory List <DIR><LI></DIR> (before each list item)
  Compact <DIR COMPACT></DIR>

BACKGROUNDS AND COLORS
  Tiled Bkground <BODY BACKGROUND="URL">
MS Watermark <BODY BGPROPERTIES="FIXED">
  Bkground Color <BODY BGCOLOR="#$$$$$$"> (order is red/green/blue)
  Text Color <BODY TEXT="#$$$$$$">
  Link Color <BODY LINK="#$$$$$$">
  Visited Link <BODY VLINK="#$$$$$$">
  Active Link <BODY ALINK="#$$$$$$">
  (More info at http://werbach.com/web/wwwhelp.html#color)

SPECIAL CHARACTERS
  Special Character &#?; (where ? is the ISO 8859-1 code)
  < &lt;
  > &gt;
  & &amp;
  " &quot;
  Registered TM &#174;
  Registered TM &reg;
  Copyright &#169;
  Copyright &copy;
  Non-Breaking Space &nbsp;
  (Complete list at http://www.htmlhelp.com/reference/charset)

FORMS
  Define Form <FORM ACTION="URL" METHOD=GET|POST></FORM>
4.0* File Upload <FORM ENCTYPE="multipart/form-data"></FORM>
  Input Field <INPUT TYPE="TEXT|PASSWORD|CHECKBOX|RADIO|
FILE|BUTTON|IMAGE|HIDDEN|SUBMIT|RESET">
  Field Name <INPUT NAME="***">
  Field Value <INPUT VALUE="***">
  Checked? <INPUT CHECKED> (checkboxes and radio boxes)
  Field Size <INPUT SIZE=?> (in characters)
  Max Length <INPUT MAXLENGTH=?> (in characters)
4.0 Button <BUTTON></BUTTON>
4.0 Button Name <BUTTON NAME="***"></BUTTON>
4.0 Button Type <BUTTON TYPE="SUBMIT|RESET|BUTTON"></BUTTON>
4.0 Default Value <BUTTON VALUE="***"></BUTTON>
4.0 Label <LABEL></LABEL>
4.0 Item Labelled <LABEL FOR="***"></LABEL>
  Selection List <SELECT></SELECT>
  Name of List <SELECT NAME="***"></SELECT>
  # of Options <SELECT SIZE=?></SELECT>
  Multiple Choice <SELECT MULTIPLE> (can select more than one)
  Option <OPTION> (items that can be selected)
  Default Option <OPTION SELECTED>
  Option Value <OPTION VALUE="***">
4.0 Option Group <OPTGROUP LABEL="***"></OPTGROUP>
  Input Box Size <TEXTAREA ROWS=? COLS=?></TEXTAREA>
  Name of Box <TEXTAREA NAME="***"></TEXTAREA>
N2 Wrap Text <TEXTAREA WRAP=OFF|HARD|SOFT></TEXTAREA>
4.0 Group elements <FIELDSET></FIELDSET>
4.0 Legend <LEGEND></LEGEND> (caption for fieldsets)
4.0 Alignment <LEGEND ALIGN="TOP|BOTTOM|LEFT|RIGHT"></LEGEND>

TABLES
  Define Table <TABLE></TABLE>
4.0* Table Alignment <TABLE ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER>
  Table Border <TABLE BORDER></TABLE> (either on or off)
  Table Border <TABLE BORDER=?></TABLE> (you can set the value)
  Cell Spacing <TABLE CELLSPACING=?>
  Cell Padding <TABLE CELLPADDING=?>
  Desired Width <TABLE WIDTH=?> (in pixels)
  Width Percent <TABLE WIDTH=%> (percentage of page)
4.0* Table Color <TABLE BGCOLOR="$$$$$$"></TABLE>
4.0 Table Frame <TABLE FRAME=VOID|ABOVE|BELOW|HSIDES|LHS|RHS|
VSIDES|BOX|BORDER></TABLE>
4.0 Table Rules <TABLE RULES=NONE|GROUPS|ROWS|COLS|ALL></TABLE>
MS Border Color <TABLE BORDERCOLOR="$$$$$$"></TABLE>
MS Dark Border <TABLE BORDERCOLORDARK="$$$$$$"></TABLE>
MS Light Border <TABLE BORDERCOLORLIGHT="$$$$$$"></TABLE>
  Table Row <TR></TR>
  Alignment <TR ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER|MIDDLE|BOTTOM>
  Table Cell <TD></TD> (must appear within table rows)
  Alignment <TD ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER VALIGN=TOP|MIDDLE|BOTTOM>
  No linebreaks <TD NOWRAP>
  Columns to Span <TD COLSPAN=?>
  Rows to Span <TD ROWSPAN=?>
4.0* Desired Width <TD WIDTH=?> (in pixels)
N3 Width Percent <TD WIDTH="%"> (percentage of table)
4.0* Cell Color <TD BGCOLOR="#$$$$$$">
  Header Cell <TH></TH> (same as data, except bold centered)
  Alignment <TH ALIGN=LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER|MIDDLE|BOTTOM>
  No Linebreaks <TH NOWRAP>
  Columns to Span <TH COLSPAN=?>
  Rows to Span <TH ROWSPAN=?>
4.0* Desired Width <TH WIDTH=?> (in pixels)
N3 Width Percent <TH WIDTH="%"> (percentage of table)
4.0* Cell Color <TH BGCOLOR="#$$$$$$">
4.0 Table Body <TBODY>
4.0 Table Footer <TFOOT></TFOOT> (must come before THEAD>
4.0 Table Header <THEAD></THEAD>
  Table Caption <CAPTION></CAPTION>
  Alignment <CAPTION ALIGN=TOP|BOTTOM|LEFT|RIGHT>
4.0 Column <COL></COL> (groups column attributes)
4.0 Columns Spanned <COL SPAN=?></COL>
4.0 Column Width <COL WIDTH=?></COL>
4.0 Width Percent <COL WIDTH="%"></COL>
4.0 Group columns <COLGROUP></COLGROUP> (groups column structure)
4.0 Columns Spanned <COLGROUP SPAN=?></COLGROUP>
4.0 Group Width <COLGROUP WIDTH=?></COLGROUP>
4.0 Width Percent <COLGROUP WIDTH="%"></COLGROUP>

FRAMES
4.0* Frame Document <FRAMESET></FRAMESET> (instead of <BODY>)
4.0* Row Heights <FRAMESET ROWS=,,,></FRAMESET> (pixels or %)
4.0* Row Heights <FRAMESET ROWS=*></FRAMESET> (* = relative size)
4.0* Column Widths <FRAMESET COLS=,,,></FRAMESET> (pixels or %)
4.0* Column Widths <FRAMESET COLS=*></FRAMESET> (* = relative size)
4.0* Borders <FRAMESET FRAMEBORDER="yes|no"></FRAMESET>
4.0* Border Width <FRAMESET BORDER=?></FRAMESET>
4.0* Border Color <FRAMESET BORDERCOLOR="#$$$$$$"></FRAMESET>
N3 Frame Spacing <FRAMESET FRAMESPACING=?></FRAMESET>
4.0* Define Frame <FRAME> (contents of an individual frame)
4.0* Display Document <FRAME SRC="URL">
4.0* Frame Name <FRAME NAME="***"|_blank|_self|_parent|_top>
4.0* Margin Width <FRAME MARGINWIDTH=?> (left and right margins)
4.0* Margin Height <FRAME MARGINHEIGHT=?> (top and bottom margins)
4.0* Scrollbar? <FRAME SCROLLING="YES|NO|AUTO">
4.0* Not Resizable <FRAME NORESIZE>
4.0* Borders <FRAME FRAMEBORDER="yes|no">
4.0* Border Color <FRAME BORDERCOLOR="#$$$$$$">
4.0* Unframed Content <NOFRAMES></NOFRAMES> (for non-frames browsers)
4.0 Inline Frame <IFRAME></IFRAME> (takes same attributes as FRAME)
4.0 Dimensions <IFRAME WIDTH=? HEIGHT=?></IFRAME>
4.0 Dimensions <IFRAME WIDTH="%" HEIGHT="%"></IFRAME>

SCRIPTS AND JAVA
  Script <SCRIPT></SCRIPT>
  Location <SCRIPT SRC="URL"></SCRIPT>
  Type <SCRIPT TYPE="***"></SCRIPT>
  Language <SCRIPT LANGUAGE="***"></SCRIPT>
4.0* Other Content <NOSCRIPT></NOSCRIPT> (if scripts not supported)
  Applet <APPLET></APPLET>
  File Name <APPLET CODE="***">
  Parameters <APPLET PARAM NAME="***">
  Location <APPLET CODEBASE="URL">
  Identifier <APPLET NAME="***"> (for references)
  Alt Text <APPLET ALT="***"> (for non-Java browsers)
  Alignment <APPLET ALIGN="LEFT|RIGHT|CENTER">
  Size <APPLET WIDTH=? HEIGHT=?> (in pixels)
  Spacing <APPLET HSPACE=? VSPACE=?> (in pixels)
N4 Server Script <SERVER></SERVER>

MISCELLANEOUS
  Comment <!-- *** --> (not displayed by the browser)
  Prologue <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0//EN">
  Searchable <ISINDEX> (indicates a searchable index)
  Prompt <ISINDEX PROMPT="***"> (text to prompt input)
  Send Search <A HREF="URL?***"></a> (use a real question mark)
  URL of This File <BASE HREF="URL"> (must be in header)
4.0* Base Window Name <BASE TARGET="***"> (must be in header)
  Relationship <LINK REV="***" REL="***" HREF="URL"> (in header)
N4 Linked File <LINK TYPE="***" SRC="***"></LINK>
  Meta Information <META> (must be in header)
  Style Sheets <STYLE></STYLE> (implementations vary)
4.0 Bidirect Off <BDO DIR=LTR|RTL></BDO> (for certain character sets)

 
Copyright ©1995-2001 Kevin Werbach. Redistribution is permitted, so long as there is no charge and this document is included without alteration in its entirety. This Guide is not a product of Bare Bones Software. More information is available at http://werbach.com/barebones.
Valid HTML 4.0!