HTML <li> Tag

The HTML <li> tag represents a list item in ordered and unordered lists.

The <li> tag is placed inside either a <ol> tag or a <ul> to represent each individual item within that list. It can also be used with the <menu> tag for HTML 5.1 and HTML Living Standard documents.


The <li> tag is written as <li></li> with the list item inserted between the start and end tags. The element must be placed inside either a <ol> tag or a <ul> tag to provide each individual list item within those elements.

The <li> tag can also be used inside the <menu> element (only when the element is in the toolbar state), however, that element is not supported by the W3C HTML5 specification - it is currently only supported by the HTML 5.1 specification and the WHATWG HTML Living Standard.

Like this:


Unordered List

Here's an example of using the <li> inside the <ul> tag to create an unordered list.

Ordered List

Here's an example of using the <li> inside the <ol> tag to create an ordered list.

The value Attribute

You can use the value attribute to specify a number for a list item. Any subesquent list items increment their value from that initial value (unless you override it with a new value).

Note that you can only use the value attribute when using the <ol> element.

Also note that the ordinal value of the value attribute must be a valid integer.

Applying Styles

You can use the CSS list-style, list-style-image, list-style-position, and list-style-type properties to change the styles of the <li> elements.

Although you can apply these properties directly to the <li> element, they are usually applied to the parent element (which is then cascaded down to the <li> element).

Here are some examples.

Roman Numerals

This example uses the list-style-type property to specify roman numerals.

Square Bullets

This example uses the list-style-type property to specify square bullets for each list item within an unordered list.


You can replace the bullet points with an image using the list-style-image property.

Position of List Item

This example uses the list-style-position property to specify the position of the list items.

The list-style Property

The list-style property is a shortcut property. It allows you to apply multiple properties to your list items.



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 <li> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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

valueSpecifies the value of the list item. The value must be a number. Can only be used if the list is an ordered list (i.e. <ol>).

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <li> 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 <li> 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

The value attribute was deprecated in HTML 4, however, this attribute is supported in HTML5 (but only if the <li> element is a child of an <ol> element).

Also, the type attribute is not supported in HTML5 (it was deprecated in HTML 4).

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


Here's a template for the <li> 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 <li> Tag and HTML4 <li> Tag.

* The value attribute can only be used if the <li> element is a child of an <ol> element.

Tag Details

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


Here are the official specifications for the <li> 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.