Learning HTML

With HTML you can create your own Web site.

This tutorial teaches you everything about HTML.

HTML is easy to learn – You will enjoy it.

What is HTML?

HTML is a language for describing web pages.

  • HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language
  • HTML is not a programming language, it is a markup language
  • A markup language is a set of markup tags
  • HTML uses markup tags to describe web pages

HTML Tags

HTML markup tags are usually called HTML tags

  • HTML tags are keywords surrounded by angle brackets like <html>
  • HTML tags normally come in pairs like <b> and </b>
  • The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag
  • Start and end tags are also called opening tags and closing tags

HTML Documents = Web Pages

  • HTML documents describe web pages
  • HTML documents contain HTML tags and plain text
  • HTML documents are also called web pages

The purpose of a web browser (like Internet Explorer or Firefox) is to read HTML documents and display them as web pages. The browser does not display the HTML tags, but uses the tags to interpret the content of the page:

<html>
<body>

<h1>My First Heading</h1>

<p>My first paragraph.</p>

</body>
</html>

Example Explained

  • The text between <html> and </html> describes the web page
  • The text between <body> and </body> is the visible page content
  • The text between <h1> and </h1> is displayed as a heading
  • The text between <p> and </p> is displayed as a paragraph

What You Need

You don’t need any tools to learn HTML at W3Schools.

  • You don’t need an HTML editor
  • You don’t need a web server
  • You don’t need a web site

Editing HTML

In this tutorial we use a plain text editor (like Notepad) to edit HTML. We believe this is the best way to learn HTML.

However, professional web developers often prefer HTML editors like FrontPage or Dreamweaver, instead of writing plain text.


Create Your Own Test Web

If you just want to learn HTML, skip the rest of this chapter.

If you want to create a test page on your own computer, just copy the 3 files below to your desktop.

(Right click on each link, and select “save target as” or “save link as”)

mainpage.htm

page1.htm

page2.htm

After you have copied the files, you can double-click on the file called “mainpage.htm” and see your first web site in action.


Use Your Test Web For Learning

We suggest you experiment with everything you learn at W3Schools by editing your web files with a text editor (like Notepad).

Note: If your test web contains HTML markup tags you have not learned, don’t panic. You will learn all about it in the next chapters.


.HTM or .HTML File Extension?

When you save an HTML file, you can use either the .htm or the .html file extension. We use .htm in our examples. It is a habit from the past, when the software only allowed three letters in file extensions.

With new software it is perfectly safe to use .html.

HTML Headings

HTML headings are defined with the <h1> to <h6> tags.

Example

<h1>This is a heading</h1>
<h2>This is a heading</h2>
<h3>This is a heading</h3>

HTML Paragraphs

HTML paragraphs are defined with the <p> tag.

Example

<p>This is a paragraph.</p>
<p>This is another paragraph.</p>

HTML Links

HTML links are defined with the <a> tag.

Example

<a href=”http://www.w3schools.com”>This is a link</a>

Note: The link address is specified in the href attribute.

(You will learn about attributes in a later chapter of this tutorial).


HTML Images

HTML images are defined with the <img> tag.

Example

<img src=”w3schools.jpg” width=”104″ height=”142″ />

Note: The name and the size of the image are provided as attributes.

HTML Elements

An HTML element is everything from the start tag to the end tag:

Start tag * Element content End tag *
<p> This is a paragraph </p>
<a href=”default.htm” > This is a link </a>
<br />

* The start tag is often called the opening tag. The end tag is often called the closing tag.


HTML Element Syntax

  • An HTML element starts with a start tag / opening tag
  • An HTML element ends with an end tag / closing tag
  • The element content is everything between the start and the end tag
  • Some HTML elements have empty content
  • Empty elements are closed in the start tag
  • Most HTML elements can have attributes

Tip: You will learn about attributes in the next chapter of this tutorial.


Nested HTML Elements

Most HTML elements can be nested (can contain other HTML elements).

HTML documents consist of nested HTML elements.


HTML Document Example

<html>

<body>
<p>This is my first paragraph.</p>
</body>

</html>

The example above contains 3 HTML elements.


HTML Example Explained

The <p> element:

<p>This is my first paragraph.</p>

The <p> element defines a paragraph in the HTML document.
The element has a start tag <p> and an end tag </p>.
The element content is: This is my first paragraph.

The <body> element:

<body>
<p>This is my first paragraph.</p>
</body>

The <body> element defines the body of the HTML document.
The element has a start tag <body> and an end tag </body>.
The element content is another HTML element (a p element).

The <html> element:

<html>

<body>
<p>This is my first paragraph.</p>
</body>

</html>

The <html> element defines the whole HTML document.
The element has a start tag <html> and an end tag </html>.
The element content is another HTML element (the body element).


Don’t Forget the End Tag

Most browsers will display HTML correctly even if you forget the end tag:

<p>This is a paragraph
<p>This is a paragraph

The example above will work in most browsers, but don’t rely on it. Forgetting the end tag can produce unexpected results or errors.

Note: Future version of HTML will not allow you to skip end tags.


Empty HTML Elements

HTML elements with no content are called empty elements. Empty elements can be closed in the start tag.

<br> is an empty element without a closing tag (the <br> tag defines a line break).

In XHTML, XML, and future versions of HTML, all elements must be closed.

Adding a slash to the start tag, like <br />, is the proper way of closing empty elements, accepted by HTML, XHTML and XML.

Even if <br> works in all browsers, writing <br /> instead is more future proof.


HTML Tip: Use Lowercase Tags

HTML tags are not case sensitive: <P> means the same as <p>. Many web sites use uppercase HTML tags.

W3Schools use lowercase tags because the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommends lowercase in HTML 4, and demands lowercase tags in future versions of (X)HTML.

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