The HTML class attribute is used to specify a class for an HTML element.

Multiple HTML elements can share the same class.


Using The class Attribute

The class attribute is often used to point to a class name in a style sheet. It can also be used by a JavaScript to access and manipulate elements with the specific class name.

In the following example we have three <div> elements with a class attribute with the value of “city”. All of the three <div> elements will be styled equally according to the .city style definition in the head section:

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<style>
.city {
  background-color: tomato;
  color: white;
  border: 2px solid black;
  margin: 20px;
  padding: 20px;
}
</style>
</head>
<body>

<div class="city">
  <h2>London</h2>
  <p>London is the capital of England.</p>
</div>

<div class="city">
  <h2>Paris</h2>
  <p>Paris is the capital of France.</p>
</div>

<div class="city">
  <h2>Tokyo</h2>
  <p>Tokyo is the capital of Japan.</p>
</div>

</body>
</html>

In the following example we have two <span> elements with a class attribute with the value of “note”. Both <span> elements will be styled equally according to the .note style definition in the head section:

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<style>
.note {
  font-size: 120%;
  color: red;
}
</style>
</head>
<body>

<h1>My <span class="note">Important</span> Heading</h1>
<p>This is some <span class="note">important</span> text.</p>

</body>
</html>

Tip: The class attribute can be used on any HTML element.

Note: The class name is case sensitive!

The Syntax For Class

To create a class; write a period (.) character, followed by a class name. Then, define the CSS properties within curly braces {}:

Example

Create a class named “city”:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<style>
.city {
  background-color: tomato;
  color: white;
  padding: 10px;
}
</style>
</head>
<body>

<h2 class="city">London</h2>
<p>London is the capital of England.</p>

<h2 class="city">Paris</h2>
<p>Paris is the capital of France.</p>

<h2 class="city">Tokyo</h2>
<p>Tokyo is the capital of Japan.</p>

</body>
</html>

Multiple Classes

HTML elements can belong to more than one class.

To define multiple classes, separate the class names with a space, e.g. <div class=”city main”>. The element will be styled according to all the classes specified.

In the following example, the first <h2> element belongs to both the city class and also to the main class, and will get the CSS styles from both of the classes: 

Example

<h2 class="city main">London</h2>
<h2 class="city">Paris</h2>
<h2 class="city">Tokyo</h2>

Different Elements Can Share Same Class

Different HTML elements can point to the same class name.

In the following example, both <h2> and <p> points to the “city” class and will share the same style:

Example

<h2 class="city">Paris</h2>
<p class="city">Paris is the capital of France</p>

Use of The class Attribute in JavaScript

The class name can also be used by JavaScript to perform certain tasks for specific elements.

JavaScript can access elements with a specific class name with the getElementsByClassName() method:

Example

Click on a button to hide all elements with the class name “city”:

<script>
function myFunction() {
  var x = document.getElementsByClassName("city");
  for (var i = 0; i < x.length; i++) {
    x[i].style.display = "none";
  }
}
</script>

Chapter Summary

  • The HTML class attribute specifies one or more class names for an element
  • Classes are used by CSS and JavaScript to select and access specific elements
  • The class attribute can be used on any HTML element
  • The class name is case sensitive
  • Different HTML elements can point to the same class name
  • JavaScript can access elements with a specific class name with the getElementsByClassName() method