HTML <div> Tag

The HTML <div> tag represents a generic section within an HTML document. The <div> tag enables you to group sections of HTML elements together and format them with CSS.

The <div> element is similar to the <span> element, however the <span> element is used with inline elements, whereas the <div> element is used with block-level elements.

The <div> element accepts "flow content", which refers to most elements that can appear inside a document's body.

The <div> should only be used as a last resort when there isn't another suitable HTML element to use. HTML5 has introduced a number of new elements that can (and should) be used in place of the <div>. These include <article>, <aside>, <header>, and <footer> and others. See below under "Differences Between HTML 4 & HTML 5" for more information on this.


The <div> tag is written as <div></div> with the generic content inserted between the start and end tags.

Like this:


Basic tag usage

As you can see, simply placing content inside a <div> tag doesn't really do anything or change the content's appearance. It simply acts as a container that holds the enclosed content.

Applying Styles

One of the most common reasons for using the <div> element is to apply styles. You can apply styles to the element itself, or to any element enclosed within it.

Inline Styles

You can style an element using inline styles, where you apply the styles via the style attribute.

Embedded & External Styles

You can also style an element using either embedded styles or an external style sheet.

Here's an example of using embedded styles and applying them via the class attribute of the <div> tag:

Nested <div> Elements

You can nest <div> elements inside each other. Each of these could have different styles applied.


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

The <div> element accepts the following attributes.


Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <div> 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.