HTML <optgroup> Tag

The HTML <optgroup> tag represents a group of <option> elements with a common label.

The <optgroup> element helps users understand the options when choosing from a large list of options.


The <optgroup> tag is written as <optgroup label=""></optgroup> with any number of <option> and/or script-supporting elements.

The label attribute must be specified. This attribute provides the user with the name of the group. Without this, the <optgroup> element would be meaningless.

The <optgroup> tag must be nested inside a <select> tag.

Like this:


Here, we have a list of cities that are grouped by country. The <optgroup> tag enables us to do this by adding the country name to the label attribute.


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 <optgroup> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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

disabledDisables the group of input controls. The form control won't accept changes from the user. It also cannot receive focus and will be skipped when tabbing.

This is a boolean attribute. If the attribute is present, its value must either be the empty string or a value that is an ASCII case-insensitive match for the attribute's canonical name, with no leading or trailing whitespace (i.e. either disabled or disabled="disabled").

Possible values:

  • [Empty string]
  • disabled
labelSpecifies a label for the option group. This attribute must be specified. Its value gives the name of the group.

Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <optgroup> 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 <optgroup> 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 <optgroup> Tag and HTML4 <optgroup> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.


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

Tag Details

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


Here are the official specifications for the <optgroup> 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.