HTML Form Elements


This chapter describes all the different HTML form elements.


The HTML <form> Elements

The <form> element can contain one or more of the following form elements:

  • <label>
  • <input>
  • <select>
  • <textarea>
  • <button>
  • <fieldset>
  • <legend>
  • <datalist>
  • <output>
  • <option>
  • <optgroup>

The <input> Element

One of the most used form element is the <input> element.

The <input> element can be displayed in several ways, depending on the type attribute.

Example

<label for="fname">First name:</label>
<input type="text" id="firstname" name="firstname">
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If the type attribute is omitted, the input field gets the default type: "text".

All the different input types are covered in the next chapter: HTML Input Types.


The <label> Element

Notice the use of the <label> element in the example above.

The <label> tag defines a label for many form elements.

The <label> element is useful for screen-reader users, because the screen-reader will read out loud the label when the user is focused on the input element.

The <label> element also help users who have difficulty clicking on very small regions (such as radio buttons or checkboxes) - because when the user clicks the text within the <label> element, it toggles the radio button/checkbox.

The for attribute of the <label> tag should be equal to the id attribute of the <input> element to bind them together.


The <select> Element

The <select> element defines a drop-down list:

Example

<label for="cars">Choose a car:</label>
<select id="cars" name="cars">
  <option value="volvo">Volvo</option>
  <option value="saab">Saab</option>
  <option value="fiat">Fiat</option>
  <option value="audi">Audi</option>
</select>
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The <option> elements defines an option that can be selected.

By default, the first item in the drop-down list is selected.

To define a pre-selected option, add the selected attribute to the option:

Example

<option value="fiat" selected>Fiat</option>
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Visible Values:

Use the size attribute to specify the number of visible values:

Example

<label for="cars">Choose a car:</label>
<select id="cars" name="cars" size="3">
  <option value="volvo">Volvo</option>
  <option value="saab">Saab</option>
  <option value="fiat">Fiat</option>
  <option value="audi">Audi</option>
</select>
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Allow Multiple Selections:

Use the multiple attribute to allow the user to select more than one value:

Example

<label for="cars">Choose a car:</label>
<select id="cars" name="cars" size="4" multiple>
  <option value="volvo">Volvo</option>
  <option value="saab">Saab</option>
  <option value="fiat">Fiat</option>
  <option value="audi">Audi</option>
</select>
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The <textarea> Element

The <textarea> element defines a multi-line input field (a text area):

Example

<textarea name="message" rows="10" cols="30">
The cat was playing in the garden.
</textarea>
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The rows attribute specifies the visible number of lines in a text area.

The cols attribute specifies the visible width of a text area.

This is how the HTML code above will be displayed in a browser:

You can also define the size of the text area by using CSS:

Example

<textarea name="message" style="width:200px; height:600px;">
The cat was playing in the garden.
</textarea>
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The <button> Element

The <button> element defines a clickable button:

Example

<button type="button" onclick="alert('Hello World!')">Click Me!</button>
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This is how the HTML code above will be displayed in a browser:


Note: Always specify the type attribute for the button element. Different browsers may use different default types for the button element.


The <fieldset> and <legend> Elements

The <fieldset> element is used to group related data in a form.

The <legend> element defines a caption for the <fieldset> element.

Example

<form action="/action_page.php">
  <fieldset>
    <legend>Personalia:</legend>
    <label for="fname">First name:</label><br>
    <input type="text" id="fname" name="fname" value="John"><br>
    <label for="lname">Last name:</label><br>
    <input type="text" id="lname" name="lname" value="Doe"><br><br>
    <input type="submit" value="Submit">
  </fieldset>
</form>
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This is how the HTML code above will be displayed in a browser:

Personalia: First name:

Last name:



The <datalist> Element

The <datalist> element specifies a list of pre-defined options for an <input> element.

Users will see a drop-down list of the pre-defined options as they input data.

The list attribute of the <input> element, must refer to the id attribute of the <datalist> element.

Example

<form action="/action_page.php">
  <input list="browsers">
  <datalist id="browsers">
    <option value="Internet Explorer">
    <option value="Firefox">
    <option value="Chrome">
    <option value="Opera">
    <option value="Safari">
  </datalist>
</form>
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The <output> Element

The <output> element represents the result of a calculation (like one performed by a script).

Example

Perform a calculation and show the result in an <output> element:

<form action="/action_page.php"
  oninput="x.value=parseInt(a.value)+parseInt(b.value)">
  0
  <input type="range"  id="a" name="a" value="50">
  100 +
  <input type="number" id="b" name="b" value="50">
  =
  <output name="x" for="a b"></output>
  <br><br>
  <input type="submit">
</form>
Try it Yourself »

HTML Exercises


HTML Form Elements

Tag Description
<form> Defines an HTML form for user input
<input> Defines an input control
<textarea> Defines a multiline input control (text area)
<label> Defines a label for an <input> element
<fieldset> Groups related elements in a form
<legend> Defines a caption for a <fieldset> element
<select> Defines a drop-down list
<optgroup> Defines a group of related options in a drop-down list
<option> Defines an option in a drop-down list
<button> Defines a clickable button
<datalist> Specifies a list of pre-defined options for input controls
<output> Defines the result of a calculation

For a complete list of all available HTML tags, visit our HTML Tag Reference.