HTML <thead> Tag

The HTML <thead> tag represents the headers within an HTML table. This is the block of rows that consist of the column labels for the parent <table> element.

The <thead> tag can be used with the <tbody> tag and the <tfoot> tag in determining each part of the table (header, footer, body). Browsers can use this information to enable scrolling of the table body independently of the header and footer - particuarly useful for large tables. Also, when printing a large table that spans multiple pages, this information can enable the table header and footer to be printed at the top and bottom of each page.

Syntax

The <thead> tag is written as <thead></thead> with the table header inserted between the start and end tags.

The <thead> tag can contain zero or more <tr> elements and script-supporting elements (<script>, <template>).

Like this:

<table>
	<thead>
	     <tr><th>Table Header</th><th>Table Header</th></tr>
	</thead>
	<tfoot>
	     <tr><th>Table Footer</th><th>Table Footer</th></tr>
	</tfoot>
	<tbody>
		<tr>
			<td>Cell 1 - part of tbody</td>
			<td>Cell 2 - part of tbody</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td>Cell 3 - part of tbody</td>
			<td>Cell 4 - part of tbody</td>
		</tr>
		<tr>
			<td>Cell 5 - part of tbody</td>
			<td>Cell 6 - part of tbody</td>
		</tr>
	</tbody>
</table>

Note: If you use the <thead> tag, it must be used in the following context:

  • As a child of a <table> element, after any <caption>, and <colgroup> elements and before any <tbody>, <tfoot>, and <tr> elements, but only if there are no other <thead> elements that are children of the <table> element.
  • The <thead> tag can contain zero or more <tr> elements and script supporting elements.

Example

In this example, a table uses the <thead> element. The CSS background-color property has been used to change the background color of the <thead> element.

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 <thead> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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

AttributeDescription
None 

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <thead> 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 <thead> 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 does not support the following attributes, which were supported in HTML 4:

  • align
  • char
  • charoff
  • valign

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

Template

Here's a template for the <thead> 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.

Note that the <thead> element does not actually have any local attributes (i.e. attributes that are specific to the element), but the following global attributes and event handlers are available to the element (and all other HTML elements).

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

<thead 
 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=""
	>
</thead>

Tag Details

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

Specifications

Here are the official specifications for the <thead> 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.