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HTML 4.01 Specification
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HTML 4.01 Specification
W3C Recommendation 24 December 1999superseded 27 March 2018
This version:
https://www.w3.org/TR/2018/SPSD-html401-20180327/
Latest version of HTML 4.01:
http://www.w3.org/TR/html401
Latest version of HTML 4:
http://www.w3.org/TR/html4
Latest version of HTML:
https://www.w3.org/TR/html/
Previous version of HTML 4.01:
http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224
Previous HTML 4 Recommendation:
http://www.w3.org/TR/1998/REC-html40-19980424
Editors:
Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>
Arnaud Le Hors, W3C
Ian Jacobs, W3C
Copyright
©1997-1999 W3C® (MIT, 
INRIA, Keio), All Rights
Reserved. W3C liability,
trademark, document
use and software
licensing rules apply.
Abstract
This specification defines the HyperText Markup Language (HTML), the
publishing language of the World Wide Web. This specification defines HTML
4.01, which is a subversion of HTML 4. In addition to the text, multimedia, and
hyperlink features of the previous versions of HTML (HTML 3.2 
[HTML32] and HTML 2.0 [RFC1866]), HTML 4
supports more multimedia options, scripting languages, style sheets, better
printing facilities, and documents that are more accessible to users with
disabilities. HTML 4 also takes great strides towards the internationalization
of documents, with the goal of making the Web truly World Wide.
HTML 4 is an SGML application conforming to International Standard ISO 8879
-- Standard Generalized Markup Language [ISO8879].
Status of this document
This section describes the status of this document at the time of its
publication. Other documents may supersede this document. The latest status of
this document series is maintained at the W3C.
This document has been reviewed by W3C Members and other interested parties
and has been endorsed by the Director as a W3C Recommendation.
This specification is a Superseded Recommendation.
A newer
specification exists that is recommended for new adoption in place of
this specification. New implementations should follow the latest version
of the HTML specification.
A list of current W3C Recommendations and other technical documents
can be found at https://www.w3.org/TR/.
Available languages
The English version of this specification is the only normative version.
However, for translations of this document, see 
http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html4-updates/translations.
Errata
The list of known errors in this specification is available at:
http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/html4-updates/errata
Quick Table of Contents
About the HTML 4
Specification
Introduction to
HTML 4
On SGML and
HTML
Conformance:
requirements and recommendations
HTML Document
Representation - Character sets, character encodings, and
entities
Basic HTML data
types - Character data, colors, lengths, URIs, content types,
etc.
The global
structure of an HTML document - The HEAD and BODY of a
document
Language
information and text direction - International considerations for
text
Text -
Paragraphs, Lines, and Phrases
Lists -
Unordered, Ordered, and Definition Lists
Tables
Links -
Hypertext and Media-Independent Links
Objects,
Images, and Applets
Style
Sheets - Adding style to HTML documents
Alignment,
font styles, and horizontal rules
Frames 
- Multi-view presentation of documents
Forms -
User-input Forms: Text Fields, Buttons, Menus, and more
Scripts
- Animated Documents and Smart Forms
SGML reference
information for HTML - Formal definition of HTML and
validation
SGML Declaration of HTML
4
Document Type Definition
Transitional Document Type Definition
Frameset Document Type Definition
Character entity
references in HTML 4
Changes
Performance,
Implementation, and Design Notes
References
Index of
Elements
Index of
Attributes
Index
Full Table of Contents
About the HTML 4
Specification 
How the specification is
organized
Document conventions 
Elements and
attributes
Notes and examples
Acknowledgments 
Acknowledgments for the
current revision
Copyright Notice
Introduction to
HTML 4 
What is the World Wide
Web? 
Introduction to
URIs
Fragment
identifiers
Relative URIs
What is HTML? 
A brief history of
HTML
HTML 4 
Internationalization
Accessibility
Tables
Compound
documents
Style sheets
Scripting
Printing
Authoring documents with
HTML 4 
Separate structure and
presentation
Consider universal
accessibility to the Web
Help user agents with
incremental rendering
On SGML and
HTML 
Introduction to
SGML
SGML constructs used in
HTML 
Elements
Attributes
Character
references
Comments
How to read the HTML
DTD 
DTD Comments
Parameter entity
definitions
Element
declarations 
Content model
definitions
Attribute
declarations 
DTD entities in
attribute definitions
Boolean
attributes
Conformance:
requirements and recommendations 
Definitions
SGML
The text/html content type
HTML Document
Representation - Character sets, character encodings, and entities
The Document Character
Set
Character encodings 
Choosing an encoding 
Notes on specific
encodings
Specifying the character
encoding
Character references 
Numeric character
references
Character entity
references
Undisplayable
characters
Basic HTML data
types - Character data, colors, lengths, URIs, content types, etc.
Case information
SGML basic types
Text strings
URIs
Colors 
Notes on using colors
Lengths
Content types (MIME
types)
Language codes
Character encodings
Single characters
Dates and times
Link types
Media descriptors
Script data
Style sheet data
Frame target names
The global
structure of an HTML document - The HEAD and BODY of a document 
Introduction to the
structure of an HTML document
HTML version
information
The HTML element
The document head 
The HEAD element
The TITLE element
The title
attribute
Meta data 
Specifying meta
data
The META element
Meta data
profiles
The document body 
The BODY element
Element identifiers:
the id and class attributes
Block-level and inline
elements
Grouping elements: the
DIV and SPAN
elements
Headings: The H1, H2, 
H3, H4, H5,
H6 elements
The ADDRESS element
Language
information and text direction - International considerations for
text 
Specifying the language
of content: the lang attribute 
Language codes
Inheritance of
language codes
Interpretation of
language codes
Specifying the
direction of text and tables: the dir attribute 
Introduction to the
bidirectional algorithm
Inheritance of text
direction information
Setting the direction
of embedded text
Overriding the
bidirectional algorithm: the BDO element
Character references
for directionality and joining control
The effect of style
sheets on bidirectionality
Text -
Paragraphs, Lines, and Phrases 
White space
Structured text 
Phrase elements: EM, STRONG, DFN, CODE, 
SAMP, KBD, VAR,
CITE, ABBR, and ACRONYM
Quotations: The BLOCKQUOTE and Q elements
Rendering
quotations
Subscripts and
superscripts: the SUB and 
SUP elements
Lines and Paragraphs 
Paragraphs: the P element
Controlling line
breaks 
Forcing a line break:
the BR element
Prohibiting a line
break
Hyphenation
Preformatted text: The
PRE element
Visual rendering of
paragraphs
Marking document changes:
The INS and DEL elements
Lists -
Unordered, Ordered, and Definition Lists 
Introduction to
lists
Unordered lists (UL), ordered
lists (OL), and list items (LI)
Definition lists: the DL, DT, and 
DD elements 
Visual rendering of
lists
The DIR and MENU elements
Tables 
Introduction to
tables
Elements for
constructing tables 
The TABLE element 
Table
directionality
Table Captions: The
CAPTION element
Row groups: the THEAD, TFOOT, and TBODY elements
Column groups: the
COLGROUP and COL
elements 
The COLGROUP element
The COL element
Calculating the
number of columns in a table
Calculating the
width of columns
Table rows: The TR element
Table cells: The
TH and TD elements 
Cells that span
several rows or columns
Table formatting by
visual user agents 
Borders and
rules
Horizontal and
vertical alignment 
Inheritance of
alignment specifications
Cell margins
Table rendering by
non-visual user agents 
Associating header
information with data cells
Categorizing
cells
Algorithm to find
heading information
Sample table
Links -
Hypertext and Media-Independent Links 
Introduction to links
and anchors 
Visiting a linked
resource
Other link
relationships
Specifying anchors and
links
Link titles
Internationalization
and links
The A element 
Syntax of anchor
names
Nested links are
illegal
Anchors with the
id attribute
Unavailable and
unidentifiable resources
Document relationships:
the LINK element 
Forward and reverse
links
Links and external
style sheets
Links and search
engines
Path information: the
BASE element 
Resolving relative URIs
Objects,
Images, and Applets 
Introduction to
objects, images, and applets
Including an image:
the IMG element
Generic inclusion: the
OBJECT element 
Rules for rendering
objects
Object
initialization: the PARAM element
Global naming
schemes for objects
Object declarations
and instantiations
Including an applet:
the APPLET element
Notes on embedded
documents
Image maps 
Client-side image
maps: the MAP and AREA
elements 
Client-side image
map examples
Server-side image
maps
Visual presentation of
images, objects, and applets 
Width and
height
White space around
images and objects
Borders
Alignment
How to specify
alternate text
Style
Sheets - Adding style to HTML documents 
Introduction to style
sheets
Adding style to
HTML 
Setting the default
style sheet language
Inline style
information
Header style
information: the STYLE element
Media types
External style
sheets 
Preferred and
alternate style sheets
Specifying external
style sheets
Cascading style
sheets 
Media-dependent
cascades
Inheritance and
cascading
Hiding style data from
user agents
Linking to style
sheets with HTTP headers
Alignment,
font styles, and horizontal rules 
Formatting 
Background
color
Alignment
Floating
objects 
Float an
object
Float text
around an object
Fonts 
Font style
elements: the TT, I,
B, BIG, SMALL, STRIKE, S, and U elements
Font modifier
elements: FONT and 
BASEFONT
Rules: the HR element
Frames 
- Multi-view presentation of documents 
Introduction to
frames
Layout of frames 
The FRAMESET element 
Rows and
columns
Nested frame
sets
Sharing data among
frames
The FRAME element 
Setting the
initial contents of a frame
Visual rendering
of a frame
Specifying target
frame information 
Setting the default
target for links
Target
semantics
Alternate content 
The NOFRAMES element
Long descriptions of
frames
Inline frames: the
IFRAME element
Forms -
User-input Forms: Text Fields, Buttons, Menus, and more 
Introduction to
forms
Controls 
Control
types
The FORM element
The INPUT element 
Control types
created with INPUT
Examples of forms
containing INPUT controls
The BUTTON element
The SELECT, OPTGROUP, and OPTION elements 
Pre-selected
options
The TEXTAREA element
The ISINDEX element
Labels 
The LABEL element
Adding structure to
forms: the FIELDSET and 
LEGEND elements
Giving focus to an
element 
Tabbing
navigation
Access keys
Disabled and
read-only controls 
Disabled
controls
Read-only
controls
Form submission 
Form submission
method
Successful
controls
Processing form
data 
Step one:
Identify the successful controls
Step two: Build a
form data set
Step three:
Encode the form data set
Step four: Submit
the encoded form data set
Form content
types 
application/x-www-form-urlencoded
multipart/form-data
Scripts
- Animated Documents and Smart Forms 
Introduction to
scripts
Designing documents
for user agents that support scripting 
The SCRIPT element
Specifying the
scripting language 
The default
scripting language
Local
declaration of a scripting language
References to
HTML elements from a script
Intrinsic
events
Dynamic
modification of documents
Designing documents
for user agents that don't support scripting 
The NOSCRIPT element
Hiding script data
from user agents
SGML reference
information for HTML - Formal definition of HTML and validation 
Document
Validation
Sample SGML
catalog
SGML Declaration of HTML
4 
SGML
Declaration
Document Type Definition
Transitional Document Type Definition
Frameset Document Type Definition
Character entity
references in HTML 4 
Introduction to
character entity references
Character entity
references for ISO 8859-1 characters 
The list of
characters
Character entity
references for symbols, mathematical symbols, and Greek letters 
The list of
characters
Character entity
references for markup-significant and internationalization characters 
The list of
characters
Changes 
Changes between 24
April 1998 HTML 4.0 and 24 December 1999 HTML 4.01 versions 
Changes to the
specification 
General
changes
On SGML and
HTML
HTML Document
Representation
Basic HTML data
types
Global structure
of an HTML document
Language
information and text direction
Tables
Links
Objects, Images,
and Applets
Style Sheets in
HTML Documents
Frames
Forms
SGML
Declaration
Strict
DTD
Notes
References
Errors that were
corrected
Minor typographical
errors that were corrected
Clarifications
Known Browser
problems
Changes between 18
December 1997 and 24 April 1998 versions 
Errors that were
corrected
Minor typographical
errors that were corrected
Changes between HTML
3.2 and HTML 4.0 (18 December 1997) 
Changes to
elements 
New
elements
Deprecated
elements
Obsolete
elements
Changes to
attributes
Changes for
accessibility
Changes for meta
data
Changes for
text
Changes for
links
Changes for
tables
Changes for images,
objects, and image maps
Changes for
forms
Changes for style
sheets
Changes for
frames
Changes for
scripting
Changes for
internationalization
Performance,
Implementation, and Design Notes 
Notes on invalid
documents
Special characters in
URI attribute values 
Non-ASCII characters
in URI attribute values
Ampersands in URI
attribute values
SGML implementation
notes 
Line breaks
Specifying non-HTML
data 
Element
content
Attribute
values
SGML features with
limited support
Boolean
attributes
Marked
Sections
Processing
Instructions
Shorthand
markup
Notes on helping search
engines index your Web site 
Search robots 
The robots.txt
file
Robots and the META
element
Notes on tables 
Design rationale 
Dynamic
reformatting
Incremental
display
Structure and
presentation
Row and column
groups
Accessibility
Recommended Layout
Algorithms 
Fixed Layout
Algorithm
Autolayout
Algorithm
Notes on forms 
Incremental
display
Future
projects
Notes on scripting 
Reserved syntax for
future script macros 
Current Practice
for Script Macros
Notes on
frames
Notes on
accessibility
Notes on security 
Security issues for
forms
References 
Normative
references
Informative
references
Index of
Elements
Index of
Attributes
Index
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