HTML <area> Tag

The HTML <area> tag creates the 'area' element, which represents an area in an image map.

An image map is an image with one or more areas that are hyperlinked. This means that the user can click on different areas within the image to be taken to a different URL.

Note that this tag must be nested within a <map> tag or a <template> tag.

Syntax

The <area> tag is typically written like this <area shape="" coords="" href="" alt=""> (no end tag) with the relevant attribute values inserted between the double quotes of the respective attributes.

You need to use the <area> element in conjunction with other elements, such as the <map> or <template> element, and an <img> element (to display the actual image).

Like this:

<img src ="/image.png" alt="My image" usemap ="#my-map">
<map name="my-map">
  <area 
    shape="rect" 
    coords="50,50,100,100" 
    href="/box/" 
    alt="My rectangle box">
</map>

Examples

Maps

Geographical maps are a great candidate for applying an image map to. Using a graphic of a map, you can create clickable areas to indicate different geographical locations (eg, cities, provinces, or whole countries or continents).

The image below displays an image of two different countries. Each country is linked to a different URL. This is made possible by using an image map (i.e. <area> in conjunction with the <map> tag).

Basic Shapes

The above map example uses a shape of poly to display a polygon. A polygon is more complex than a simple shape such as a rectangle or circle. You can specify a polygon using either polygon or poly as a value of the shape attribute.

You can also use shape names to draw a rectangle (rectangle or rect) or a circle (circle or circ).

Below is an example of an image map consisting of a rectangle, circle, and a polygon.

Attributes

Attributes can be added to an HTML element to provide more information about how the element should appear or behave.

There are 3 kinds of attributes that you can add to your HTML tags: Element-specific, global, and event handler content attributes.

The <area> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

This table shows the attributes that are specific to the <area> tag/element.

AttributeDescription
altAlternate text. This specifies text to be used in case the browser/user agent can't render the image.
coordsSpecifies the coordinates of the clickable area. Coordinates are specified as follows:
  • rect: left, top, right, bottom
  • circle: center-x, center-y, radius
  • poly: x1, y1, x2, y2, ...
shapeDefines a shape for the clickable area. Possible values:
  • default
  • rect
  • circle
  • poly
hrefSpecifies the URL of a page or the name of the anchor that the link goes to.
targetSpecifies the target frame to load the page into.
downloadIndicates that the link is to be used for downloading a resource (such as a file). The author can specify a default file name by providing a value. This attribute is optional.

Value:

[Default file name.] (optional)

relDescribes the relationship between the current document and the destination URI. Only to be used when the href attribute is present. Multiple values can be provided, separated by a space.

Possible values:

ValueDescription
alternateGives alternate representations of the current document.
authorGives a link to the current document's author.
bookmarkProvides the permalink for the nearest ancestor section.
helpProvides a link to context-sensitive help.
licenseIndicates that the main content of the current document is covered by the copyright license described by the referenced document.
nextIndicates that the current document is a part of a series, and that the next document in the series is the referenced document.
nofollowIndicates that the current document's original author or publisher does not endorse the referenced document. This attribute is often used to declare paid links to search engines such as Google, who, request that webmasters declare all paid links (eg, advertising) in this manner.
noreferrerRequires that the user agent not send an HTTP Referer (sic) header if the user follows the hyperlink.
prefetchSpecifies that the target resource should be preemptively cached.
prevIndicates that the current document is a part of a series, and that the previous document in the series is the referenced document.
searchGives a link to a resource that can be used to search through the current document and its related pages.
tagGives a tag (identified by the given address) that applies to the current document.
hreflangLanguage code of the destination URL. Only to be used when the href attribute is present.
typeSpecifies the MIME type of the linked resource. Only to be used when the href attribute is present.

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <area> tag , as well as with all other HTML tags.

  • accesskey
  • class
  • contenteditable
  • contextmenu
  • dir
  • draggable
  • dropzone
  • hidden
  • id
  • inert
  • itemid
  • itemprop
  • itemref
  • itemscope
  • itemtype
  • lang
  • spellcheck
  • style
  • tabindex
  • title
  • translate

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 global attributes.

Event Handler Content Attributes

Event handler content attributes enable you to invoke a script from within your HTML. The script is invoked when a certain "event" occurs. Each event handler content attribute deals with a different event.

Below are the standard HTML5 event handler content attributes.

Again, you can use any of these with the <area> element, as well as any other HTML5 element.

  • onabort
  • oncancel
  • onblur
  • oncanplay
  • oncanplaythrough
  • onchange
  • onclick
  • oncontextmenu
  • ondblclick
  • ondrag
  • ondragend
  • ondragenter
  • ondragexit
  • ondragleave
  • ondragover
  • ondragstart
  • ondrop
  • ondurationchange
  • onemptied
  • onended
  • onerror
  • onfocus
  • onformchange
  • onforminput
  • oninput
  • oninvalid
  • onkeydown
  • onkeypress
  • onkeyup
  • onload
  • onloadeddata
  • onloadedmetadata
  • onloadstart
  • onmousedown
  • onmousemove
  • onmouseout
  • onmouseover
  • onmouseup
  • onmousewheel
  • onpause
  • onplay
  • onplaying
  • onprogress
  • onratechange
  • onreadystatechange
  • onscroll
  • onseeked
  • onseeking
  • onselect
  • onshow
  • onstalled
  • onsubmit
  • onsuspend
  • ontimeupdate
  • onvolumechange
  • onwaiting

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 event handler content attributes.

Differences Between HTML 4 & HTML 5

HTML5 introduced 2 new attributes for this tag: rel and hreflang.

To see more detail on the two versions see HTML5 <area> Tag and HTML4 <area> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.

Template

Here's a template for the <area> tag with all available attributes for the tag (based on HTML5). These are grouped into attribute types, each type separated by a space. In many cases, you will probably only need one or two (if any) attributes. Simply remove the attributes you don't need.

For more information on attributes for this tag, see HTML5 <area> Tag and HTML4 <area> Tag.

<area  
 alt=""
 coords=""
 shape=""
 href=""
 target=""
 download=""
 rel=""
 hreflang=""
 type=""
 
 accesskey=""
 class=""
 contenteditable=""
 contextmenu=""
 dir=""
 draggable=""
 dropzone=""
 hidden=""
 id=""
 itemid=""
 itemprop=""
 itemref=""
 itemscope=""
 itemtype=""
 lang=""
 spellcheck=""
 style=""
 tabindex=""
 title=""
 translate=""

 onabort=""
 onautocomplete=""
 onautocompleteerror=""
 onblur=""
 oncancel=""
 oncanplay=""
 oncanplaythrough=""
 onchange=""
 onclick=""
 onclose=""
 oncontextmenu=""
 oncuechange=""
 ondblclick=""
 ondrag=""
 ondragend=""
 ondragenter=""
 ondragexit=""
 ondragleave=""
 ondragover=""
 ondragstart=""
 ondrop=""
 ondurationchange=""
 onemptied=""
 onended=""
 onerror=""
 onfocus=""
 oninput=""
 oninvalid=""
 onkeydown=""
 onkeypress=""
 onkeyup=""
 onload=""
 onloadeddata=""
 onloadedmetadata=""
 onloadstart=""
 onmousedown=""
 onmouseenter=""
 onmouseleave=""
 onmousemove=""
 onmouseout=""
 onmouseover=""
 onmouseup=""
 onmousewheel=""
 onpause=""
 onplay=""
 onplaying=""
 onprogress=""
 onratechange=""
 onreset=""
 onresize=""
 onscroll=""
 onseeked=""
 onseeking=""
 onselect=""
 onshow=""
 onsort=""
 onstalled=""
 onsubmit=""
 onsuspend=""
 ontimeupdate=""
 ontoggle=""
 onvolumechange=""
 onwaiting=""
	>

Tag Details

For more details about the <area> tag, see HTML5 <area> Tag and HTML4 <area> Tag.

Specifications

Here are the official specifications for the <area> element.

What's the Difference?

W3C creates "snapshot" specifications that don't change once defined. So the HTML5 specification won't change once it becomes an official recommendation. WHATWG on the other hand, develops a "living standard" that is updated on a regular basis. In general, you will probably find that the HTML living standard will be more closely aligned to the current W3C draft than to the HTML5 specification.