HTML <u> Tag

The HTML <u> tag represents text with an unarticulated, though explicitly rendered, non-textual annotation. This could include words or spans of text that need to be presented differently such as misspelt words or Chinese names.

Prior to HTML5, the <u> tag was used purely for presentational purposes (to underline text). However, this has changed and from HTML5, the <u> element has a more specific semantic purpose (as outlined above). If your intention is simply to underline text (without conveying any other meaning), use the text-decoration property instead.

Most browsers/user agents underline text that is marked up with the <u> tag. For this reason, you should avoid using this element in cases where it may be confused for a hyperlink. Alternatively, you could use CSS to style the text so that it is differentiated from hyperlinks.


The <u> tag is written as <u></u> with the non-textual annotation inserted between the start and end tags.

Like this:



Chinese Proper Names


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 <u> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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


Global Attributes

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

HTML 4 (and earlier) defines the <u> element for presentation purposes only (i.e. to underline text).

HTML5 defines the <u> element with a specific semantic purpose, that it represents a span of text with an unarticulated, though explicitly rendered, non-textual annotation, such as labeling the text as being a proper name in Chinese text (a Chinese proper name mark), or labeling the text as being misspelt.

The <u> tag was deprecated in HTML 4.01 and initially obsolete in the HTML5 specification. However, it has since returned to the HTML5 specification as a valid HTML element with a different purpose (as outlined above).

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


Here's a template for the <u> 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.

Note that the <u> element does not actually have any local attributes (i.e. attributes that are specific to the element), but the following global attributes and event handlers are available to the element (and all other HTML elements).

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

Tag Details

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


Here are the official specifications for the <u> 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.