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.


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:



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

The <area> element accepts the following attributes.

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.


[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:

alternateGives alternate representations of the current document.
authorGives a link to the current document's author.
bookmarkProvides the permalink for the nearest ancestor section.
externalIndicates that the referenced document is not part of the same site as the current document.
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.
noopenerCreates a top-level browsing context that is not an auxiliary browsing context if the hyperlink would create either of those to begin with (i.e., has an appropriate target attribute value).
noreferrerRequires that the user agent not send an HTTP Referer (sic) header if the user follows the hyperlink.
openerCreates an auxiliary browsing context if the hyperlink would otherwise create a top-level browsing context that is not an auxiliary browsing context (i.e., has "_blank" as target attribute value).
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 HTML 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 Handlers

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.

Most event handler content attributes can be used on all HTML elements, but some event handlers have specific rules around when they can be used and which elements they are applicable to.

For more detail, see HTML event handler content attributes.