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Presentational (X)HTML

Presentational (X)HTML refers to:

  1. The presentational elements and attributes of (X)HTML (as opposed to the semantic HTML elements and attributes)
  2. (X)HTML documents that are written using presentational (X)HTML.
  3. The practice of writing presentational (X)HTML


Presentational Elements

Presentational elements sensu lato can be divided into two groups. "Deliberate" presentational elements (b, i, small, …) have no semantic meaning and were deliberately designed/created for presentational purposes. "Abused" presentational elements (table, blockquote, …) have a semantic meaning, but are abused because of their default appearance in browsers (the blockquote element could be used for indenting text, for example).



  • basefont
  • center
  • font
  • hr
  • s
  • strike
  • tt
  • u


  • frame
  • frameset
  • iframe

Strict but mostly presentational:

  • b
  • br (when used for spacing, or when used inappropriately where a div or p would have been semantically correct)
  • big
  • i
  • small
  • sub
  • sup


  • blockquote (when used for indenting text)
  • table (when used for layout)

Presentational Attributes

(This list is incomplete, please add!)

  • align
  • alink
  • bgcolor
  • color
  • face
  • height
  • link (on body)
  • size (on font element)
  • valign
  • vlink
  • width

See also