HTML <ul> Tag

The HTML <ul> tag represents a list of items, where the order of the items is not important. This can also be referred to as an unordered list (or un-numbered list).

The <ul> element should be used to list items that don't need to be presented in order. Changing the order of <ul> list items should not change the meaning of the list or document. If list items need to be presented in a particular order (such as a step-by-step list of instructions) the <ol> element should be used instead.


The <ul> tag is written as <ul></ul> with the list items nested between the start and end tags. List items are represented by the <li> element.

Like this:


Basic tag usage

Here's an example of using the <ul> to create an unordered list. These are listed in no particular order. But if the order was important (for example, if I was listing my top 3 favorite animals with 1 being my favorite and 3 being the least favorite) then I should use the <ol> element instead of the <ul> element.

Bullet Style

This example uses the list-style-type property to change the bullet style to square bullets.


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 <ul> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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


Global Attributes

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

HTML5 does not support the following attributes that were deprecated (but not obsolete) HTML 4:

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


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

Tag Details

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


Here are the official specifications for the <ul> 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.