template element

If you don't know what an element is or how you must use it, I recommend you read the "HTML tags and attributes" tutorial that you can find in the HTML tutorials section.


The template element allows authors to create document fragments with a preset format that can be reused to display data through scripts. This element, new in HTML5, introduces to the standard the concept of template, widely used in other areas of software and programming.

For example, a template can be defined with all the structure of the row of a table, but without the content of each cell. A script can later take this template, clone it and fill the cells with informtaion retrieved from a database. Once appended to the document, the data from the database will be rendered with the structure provided by the template.

By itself, a template represents nothing and is completely ignored by supporting browsers. This element has been designed to work with scripts that clone its contents, add data and append the result to active documents, whenever needed.

A template must be activated through scripts. Before it's cloned and inserted into an active document, it's completely ignored by supporting browsers.

Support for the template element is incomplete. Being its contents rendered in non-supporting browsers, authors may have to rely on other techniques until support grows.


In the following example, a template is declared with a structure thought to display personal data about the students of an institution. Then, a button is provided to activate the script that clones this template and fills each span with the information it has stored in a variable (could be the case that this information was loaded from an external server, for example). After that, the information now structured, is attached to the document and therefore displayed by the browser.

  <template id="studenttemplate">
      <b>Name</b>: <span></span><br>
      <b>Gender</b>: <span></span><br>
      <b>Age</b>: <span></span>
<p><input id="loadbutton" type="button" value="Load record" onclick="loadRecord()"></p>
  var studentsData = [{name: 'Marie Curie',
                       gender: 'Female',
                       age: '148'},
                      {name: 'Isaac Newton',
                       gender: 'Male',
                       age: '373'},
                      {name: 'Albert Einstein',
                       gender: 'Male',
                       age: '136'}];
  currentPos = 0;
  function loadRecord() {
    var template = document.getElementById('studenttemplate'),
        studentData = studentsData[currentPos],
        clone = template.content.cloneNode(true),
        fields = clone.querySelectorAll('span');
    fields[0].textContent = studentData.name;
    fields[1].textContent = studentData.gender;
    fields[2].textContent = studentData.age;
    if (currentPos >= studentsData.length)
      document.getElementById('loadbutton').style.display = 'none';


Global attributes

For information about global attributes refer to this list of global attributes in HTML5.


Global events

For information about global events refer to this list of global events in HTML5.