Form Elements

Domains: HTML

This chapter describes all HTML form elements.

The <input> Element

The most important form element is the <input> element.

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

<input name="firstname" type="text">

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.

The <select> Element

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

<select name="cars">
  <option value="volvo">Volvo</option>
  <option value="saab">Saab</option>
  <option value="fiat">Fiat</option>
  <option value="audi">Audi</option>
</select>

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:

<option value="fiat" selected>Fiat</option>

Visible Values:

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

<select 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>

Allow Multiple Selections:

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

<select 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>

The <textarea> Element

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

<textarea name="message" rows="10" cols="30">
The cat was playing in the garden.
</textarea>

The rows attribute specifies the visible number of lines in a text area.

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

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

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

The <button> Element

The <button> element defines a clickable button:

<button type="button" onclick="alert('Hello World!')">Click Me!</button>

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

HTML5 Form Elements

HTML5 added the following form elements:

  • <datalist>
  • <output>

Note: Browsers do not display unknown elements. New elements that are not supported in older browsers will not "destroy" your web page.

HTML5 <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.

<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>

HTML5 <output> Element

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

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>

HTML Form Elements

new in HTML5.

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.

Similar pages

Page structure
Terms

HTML Attributes

<input>

Form Elements

HTML5 <datalist>

HTML5 <output>

HTML5

HTML

<pre>

<select>

<textarea>

<button>

The id Attribute

<fieldset>

HTML Tags

The width and height Attributes

HTML Forms

<br>

<b>