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HTML option tag

Note: If you don't know what an element/tag is and/or how you must use it we recommend you to read our HTML tags and attributes tutorial that you can find in our HTML tutorials section.

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The HTML option element is used to insert options in an options list (HTML select element). This type of control can be used in forms to collect user preferences or choices.

Note that only selected options are successful and sent with the form data. If this happens, the value of the "value" attribute will identify the option in the after-process stage.


<form action="example.php">
<optgroup label="Server-side languages">
<optgroup label="Client-side languages">


id (name)

The "id" attribute assigns an identifier to the associated element. This identifier must be unique in the document and can be used to refer to that element in other instances (e.g., from client-side scripts).

<p id="paragraph1">This is the first paragraph, named "paragraph1". To dynamically change its properties use this identifier.</p>

class (cdata)

The "class" attribute assigns a class name (or a list of class names separated by spaces) to the container element. It's used together with style sheets and tells the browser the class (or classes) to which the element is associated with.

A class gives presentational attributes to elements (read more at the Cascading Style Sheets tutorial).

<p class="references">This article is based on the book "Wind in the trees" by Jhon L. Brooks</p>
<p class="references important">This article is based on the book "Wind in the trees" by Jhon L. Brooks... and is more important than the one before.</p>

style (style)

This attribute is used to define presentational attributes for the containing element, and its value should be composed by style sheets properties. Although, in some cases, it can become useful, a better practice is to place presentational attributes in external files, relating them to elements with the "class" attribute. This way you keep the semantic and presentational parts of your document separated.

You can find more information about presentational attributes at the Cascading Style Sheets tutorial.

<p style="color: #0000FF; font-size: 12pt">This is a paragraph with a defined style.</p>
<p>And this is another text without style.</p>

title (text)

The purpose of this attribute is to provide a title for the element. Its value must be a short and accurate description of the element. Browsers usually render it as a "tool tip" when the user puts the mouse pointer over the element for a small period of time.

<a title="HTMLQuick.com" href="http://www.htmlquick.com">HTML code</a>

lang (langcode)

Specifies the language of an element's content. The default value in "unknown".

When writing XHTML 1.0 documents, the attribute used to specify the language of an elements is "xml:lang". For forward and backward compatibility both attributes can be used simultaneously like in the example below. Note, that in XHTML 1.1 the "lang" attribute has been completely replaced by "xml:lang" and its use is no longer valid.

<p lang="en" xml:lang="en">This is a paragraph in english.</p>
<p lang="es" xml:lang="es">Este es un párrafo en español.</p>


This attribute indicates the direction in which the texts of the element must be read. This includes content, attribute values and tables. It has two possible values that are case-insensitive:

  • RTL: Right to left.
  • LTR: Left to right.
<q lang="he" dir="rtl">...an Hebrew quotation...</q>


Users are unable to select the option when this attribute is present. Besides, the option can't receive focus.

Browsers usually render disabled options as they're faded, with a set of gray colors.

Remember that in XHTML, boolean attributes must take their own names as value (e.g., attr_name="attr_name").

<optgroup label="HTML">
<option>Basic elements</option>
<option disabled="disabled">Advanced elements</option>
<optgroup label="PHP">
<option>Basic functions</option>
<option disabled="disabled">Advanced functions</option>


Specifies if the option is selected by default or not. If the list (HTML select element) has the "multiple" attribute present, many of its options can be selected at the same time, therwise, only one option can have this attribute present. If no option in the list is marked as selected, the first option has this attribute by default.

Remember that in XHTML, boolean attributes must take their own names as value (e.g., attr_name="attr_name").

<select multiple="multiple" size="5">
<option selected="selected">Cars</option>
<option selected="selected">Bikes</option>

value (cdata)

Provides the initial value for the element. This attribute will identify the option when the form data is sent and processed.

If this attribute isn't present, the initial value is taken from the element's content.

<option value="country">Country music</option>

label (text)

This attribute allows authors to assign a shorter version of the element's content. This becomes handy for user agents when the rendering space is reduced.

If this attribute is present, it takes precedence over the element's content.

<option label="Country">Country music</option>


  • onclick
  • ondblclick
  • onmousedown
  • onmouseup
  • onmouseover
  • onmousemove
  • onmouseout
  • onkeypress
  • onkeydown
  • onkeyup

See a complete list and information about events in HTML

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