HTML Form Elements

This chapter describes all the different HTML form elements.

The HTML <form> Elements

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

  • <input>
  • <label>
  • <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.


<label for="fname">First name:</label>
<input type="text" id="fname" name="fname">

All the different values of the type attribute are covered in the next chapter: HTML Input Types.

The <label> Element

The <label> element defines a label for several form elements.

The <label> element is useful for screen-reader users, because the screen-reader will read out loud the label when the user focus 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:


<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>

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:


<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>

Allow Multiple Selections:

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


<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>

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.

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:


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

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.

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.


<form action="/action_page.php">
    <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">

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.


<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">

The <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"
  <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>
  <input type="submit">