HTML <area> Tag
<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.
<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.
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
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
poly as a value of the
You can also use shape names to draw a rectangle (
rect) or a circle (
Below is an example of an image map consisting of a rectangle, circle, and a polygon.
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.
<area> element accepts the following attributes.
This table shows the attributes that are specific to the
|alt||Alternate text. This specifies text to be used in case the browser/user agent can't render the image.|
|coords||Specifies the coordinates of the clickable area. Coordinates are specified as follows:
|shape||Defines a shape for the clickable area. Possible values:
|href||Specifies the URL of a page or the name of the anchor that the link goes to.|
|target||Specifies the target frame to load the page into.|
|download||Indicates 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.
[Default file name.] (optional)
|rel||Describes the relationship between the current document and the destination URI. Only to be used when the
|hreflang||Language code of the destination URL. Only to be used when the
|type||Specifies the MIME type of the linked resource. Only to be used when the
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.
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.
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:
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.
Here are the official specifications for the
- HTML5 Specification (W3C)
- HTML Living Standard (WHATWG)
- Current W3C Draft (the next version that is currently being worked on)
- HTML 4 (W3C)
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.