HTML <section> Tag

The HTML <section> tag represents a generic section of a document or application.

Any given web page or article could have many sections. For example, a homepage could have a section for introducing the company, another section for news items, and another section for contact information.


The <section> tag is written as <section></section> with the section content enclosed between the start and end tags.

Like this:


Basic Context

Here are some examples of where the <section> tag can go within an HTML document. You can place it anywhere that "flow content" is expected (basically anywhere within the body of the document).

Multiple Articles within a Section

Here's a quick example of multiple <article> elements within a <section> element.

Blog Comments

One application of the <section> tag could be to present blog comments at the end of an article. Like this:

Here's what the above example might look like after applying some basic styles.

Article Sections

An <article> element can be separated into sections using the <section> element. This would represent different thematic sections within the article.

In the following example, the <article> element represents a book. This book has a title, an intro, three chapters, and an appendix. The <section> element is used to separate the intro, each chapter, and the appendix.

Here's a visual representation of the above code:

<section> vs <article>

You can nest <section> tags inside <article> tags, and you can nest <article> tags inside <section> tags.

Which one should you use?

There's a subtle difference between the <section> element and the <article> element. The purpose of the <section> element is to represent a generic section of a document or application. The <article> element on the other hand, represents a single, self-contained piece of content.

When choosing whether to use a <section> tag or an <article> tag, use the <article> tag if the contents would retain its meaning if syndicated.


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 <section> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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


Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <section> 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 <section> 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 <section> element is new in HTML5.

For more information on this element, see HTML5 <section> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.


Here's a template for the <section> 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.

Note that the <section> element does not actually have any local attributes (i.e. attributes that are specific to the element), but the following global attributes and event handlers are available to the element (and all other HTML elements).

For more information on attributes for this tag, see HTML5 <section> Tag.

Tag Details

For more details about the <section> tag, see HTML5 <section> Tag.


Here are the official specifications for the <section> 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.