HTML 5 <form> Tag

The HTML <form> tag is used for declaring a form.

The <form> tag is used in conjunction with form-associated elements. To create a form, you can nest form-associated elements inside the opening/closing <form> tags. You can also use the form attribute within those elements to reference the ID of the form to use.

Form-Associated Elements

Here are the elements that can have a form-owner.



HTML tags can contain one or more attributes. Attributes are added to a tag to provide the browser with more information about how the tag should appear or behave. Attributes consist of a name and a value separated by an equals (=) sign, with the value surrounded by double quotes. Here's an example, style="color:black;".

There are 3 kinds of attributes that you can add to your HTML tags: Element-specific, global, and event handler content attributes.

The attributes that you can add to this tag are listed below.

Element-Specific Attributes

The following table shows the attributes that are specific to this tag/element.

accept-charsetSpecifies a space separated list of character encodings that the server accepts. In previous versions of HTML, character encodings could also be delimited by commas.
actionSpecifies a URI/URL of the page that will process the form.

Specifies whether the form fields should be automatically completed based on the user's history (i.e. based on previous forms that the user has completed). This relieves the user from having to re-enter form data that could easily be re-populated from previous form history (such as address information).

The autocomplete attribute is an enumerated attribute which has two states; "on" and "off". The default value is "on".

Note that is it possible to set the form's autocomplete to one value, then specify a different value against specific fields within that form.


Specifies the content type used to encode the form data set when it's submitted to the server.

Possible values:

  • application/x-www-form-urlencoded (Default value.)
  • multipart/form-data (Use this when uploading files.)
  • text/plain (Use this when uploading files.)

Specifies the HTTP method to use when the form is submitted.

Possible values:

  • get (The form data is appended to the URL when submitted. This is the default value.)
  • post (The form data is not appended to the URL.)
  • dialog (Closes the dialog box in which the form finds itself, if any, and otherwise does not submit.)
nameAssigns a name to the form. This is used when referencing the form with stylesheets or scripts. If there are multiple forms, the name of each form must be unique.

Specifies that the form should not be validated during submission.

This is a boolean attribute. If the attribute is present, its value must either be the empty string or a value that is an ASCII case-insensitive match for the attribute's canonical name, with no leading or trailing whitespace (i.e. either novalidate or novalidate="novalidate").

Possible values:

  • [Empty string]
  • novalidate

Specifies the browsing context to load the destination indicated in the action attribute.

Possible values:

  • _blank
  • _self
  • _top
  • _parent

Controls what kinds of links the elements create.

Possible values:

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.

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML 5 tags (although the tabindex attribute does not apply to dialog elements).

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.

For a full list of event handlers, see HTML 5 event handler content attributes.