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HTML Block and Inline Elements


Every HTML element has a default display value, depending on what type of element it is.

There are two display values: block and inline.


Block-level Elements

A block-level element always starts on a new line and takes up the full width available (stretches out to the left and right as far as it can).

The <div> element is a block-level element.

Example

<div>Hello World</div>
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Here are the block-level elements in HTML:


Inline Elements

An inline element does not start on a new line and it only takes up as much width as necessary.

This is a <span> element inside a paragraph.

Example

<span>Hello World</span>
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Here are the inline elements in HTML:

Note: An inline element cannot contain a block-level element!


The <div> Element

The <div> element is often used as a container for other HTML elements.

The <div> element has no required attributes, but style, class and id are common.

When used together with CSS, the <div> element can be used to style blocks of content:

Example

<div style="background-color:black;color:white;padding:20px;">
  <h2>London</h2>
  <p>London is the capital city of England. It is the most populous city in the United Kingdom, with a metropolitan area of over 13 million inhabitants.</p>
</div>
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The <span> Element

The <span> element is an inline container used to mark up a part of a text, or a part of a document.

The <span> element has no required attributes, but style, class and id are common.

When used together with CSS, the <span> element can be used to style parts of the text:

Example

<p>My mother has <span style="color:blue;font-weight:bold">blue</span> eyes and my father has <span style="color:darkolivegreen;font-weight:bold">dark green</span> eyes.</p>
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Chapter Summary

  • There are two display values: block and inline
  • A block-level element always starts on a new line and takes up the full width available
  • An inline element does not start on a new line and it only takes up as much width as necessary
  • The <div> element is a block-level and is often used as a container for other HTML elements
  • The <span> element is an inline container used to mark up a part of a text, or a part of a document

HTML Tags

Tag Description
<div> Defines a section in a document (block-level)
<span> Defines a section in a document (inline)

For a complete list of all available HTML tags, visit our HTML Tag Reference.