HTML <map> Tag

The HTML <map> tag is used for defining an image map.

Image maps are images that have clickable areas (sometimes referred to as "hot spots"). Each of these clickable areas can lead to a different location. Therefore, an image map could potentially have many links that lead to many different URLs.

The <map> tag is used along with the <area> and <img> tags to define the image map.

To create an image map, you use the <map> tag to declare the image map, and the <area> tag (nested within the <map> tag) to define the clickable areas. The <img> tag can be defined elsewhere on the page, and is linked to the <map> element using the name attribute.


The <map> tag is typically written like this <map name=""></map> with the <area> tag nested between the start and end tags. The name attribute is used by any <img> elements that use this particular image map.

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. <map> in conjunction with the <area> tag). The <img> element references the image map by using the usemap attribute. The value of the usemap attribute must be the same as the value of the <map>'s name attribute.

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 <map> element accepts the following attributes.

nameAssigns a name to the image map. Note that if the id attribute is also specified, it must contain the same value as the name attribute.

Global Attributes

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