HTML <del> Tag

The HTML <del> tag represents deleted text in an HTML document.

Marking text as deleted is often used for determining differences between multiple versions of the same document. Browsers will typically strike a line through deleted text.


The <del> tag is written as <del></del> with the deleted text inserted between the start and end tags.

Like this:


Basic Usage Example - A "To Do" List

The <del> tag can be used in a "to do" list to markup items that have been done.

Like this:

Date & Time

The datetime attribute allows you to add a date and (optionally) a time. This attribute is mainly intended for private use (e.g. by server-side scripts collecting statistics about a site's edits), but it could potentially be displayed to users.

Here, we can add date and time information to items that have been crossed off our "to do" list.


You can add a citation using the cite attribute. The value of this attribute must be the URL of a document that explains the change. This attribute is not intended for readers of the document. Rather, it is intended for private use (e.g. by server-side scripts collecting statistics about a site's edits).

Inserting New Text

Deleted text is often accompanied by inserted text. This often happens when out-dated information needs to be deleted and new information is added. To insert new text, use the <ins> tag.

Deleting Table Rows &/or Columns

To delete a table row or column, you need to apply the <del> tag to the content within those rows/columns. You can't simply enclose a <tr> tag or <td> tag within <del> tags.

Delete Table Row

Delete Table Row


Attributes can be added to an HTML element to provide more information about how the element should appear or behave.

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

The <del> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

This table shows the attributes that are specific to the <del> tag/element.

citeIndicates a source that should indicate the reason for the change.
datetimeDate and time of change.

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <del> tag , as well as with all other HTML tags.

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.

Below are the standard HTML5 event handler content attributes.

Again, you can use any of these with the <del> element, as well as any other HTML5 element.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 event handler content attributes.

Differences Between HTML 4 & HTML 5


To see more detail on the two versions see HTML5 <del> Tag and HTML4 <del> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.


Here's a template for the <del> tag with all available attributes for the tag (based on HTML5). These are grouped into attribute types, each type separated by a space. In many cases, you will probably only need one or two (if any) attributes. Simply remove the attributes you don't need.

For more information on attributes for this tag, see HTML5 <del> Tag and HTML4 <del> Tag.

Tag Details

For more details about the <del> tag, see HTML5 <del> Tag and HTML4 <del> Tag.


Here are the official specifications for the <del> element.

What's the Difference?

W3C creates "snapshot" specifications that don't change once defined. So the HTML5 specification won't change once it becomes an official recommendation. WHATWG on the other hand, develops a "living standard" that is updated on a regular basis. In general, you will probably find that the HTML living standard will be more closely aligned to the current W3C draft than to the HTML5 specification.