HTML <menu> Tag

The HTML <menu> tag represents a list of commands. It can be used to create menus such as popup menus and context menus.

The <menu> tag is not included in the W3C HTML5 specification. However, it is included in the HTML 5.1 draft specification, as well as the WHATWG HTML Living Specification.

Syntax

The <menu> tag is written as <menu></menu> with its contents inserted between the start and end tags. The type attribute can be used to specify the type of menu being declared. The label attribute could also be used to provide a label for the menu.

Typcially, a <menu> element will contain one or more <li> or <menuitem> elements, which could potentially contain other <menu> elements.

Like this:

Or this:

Example

Context Menu

Here's an example of using the <menu> tag to create a context menu. Right-clicking on the photo will invoke the browser's contextual menu. However, a new option will be added to the browser's contextual menu: "Change Border Color...". The user can then select from the list of colors.

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 <menu> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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

AttributeDescription
typeSpecifies the kind of menu being declared.

Possible values:

  • popup
  • toolbar
  • list (default)
labelSpecifies the label of the menu. It is used by the browser/user agent to to display nested menus.

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <menu> 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 <menu> 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

The <menu> tag is not actually supported in the first version of HTML5. It is supported in HTML 5.1 and the WHATWG HTML Living Standard.

HTML 4 supported a <menu> element but it had a different purpose than the HTML 5.1 <menu> element. In HTML 4, the <menu> element was designed to be used for single column menu lists. The <menu> element was deprecated in HTML 4 (although it has returned, with a different purpose).

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

Template

Here's a template for the <menu> 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.

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

Tag Details

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

Specifications

Here are the official specifications for the <menu> 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.