HTML: The 16 Content Categories and Their Elements

Post from January 20, 2021 (↻ May 27, 2021), filed under (feed).

HTML puts elements into categories, so-called content categories. The specification describes these in the sections on kinds of content and element content categories.

This article serves as a boring, brief, but updated overview over the broad and overlapping categories of HTML, and which elements fall into them (without going into detail on elements with exceptions):


  1. Metadata Content
  2. Flow Content
  3. Sectioning Content
  4. Heading Content
  5. Phrasing Content
  6. Embedded Content
  7. Interactive Content
  8. Sectioning Roots
  9. Form-Associated Elements
  10. Listed Elements
  11. Submittable Elements
  12. Resettable Elements
  13. Autocapitalize-Inheriting Elements
  14. Labelable Elements
  15. Palpable Content
  16. Script-Supporting Elements

Metadata Content

Flow Content

Sectioning Content

Heading Content

Phrasing Content

Embedded Content

Interactive Content

There are also the following categories:

Sectioning Roots

Form-Associated Elements

Listed Elements

Submittable Elements

Resettable Elements

Autocapitalize-Inheriting Elements

Labelable Elements

Palpable Content

Per the HTML specification, “palpable content” is content that makes an element non-empty by providing either some descendant non-empty text, or something else users can hear, see, or otherwise interact with.

Script-Supporting Elements

❧ These categories are useful, for example to identify all available as well as the semantically appropriate elements. They can also inform sorting schemes, as with an order to sort CSS selectors by.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on I share some of my views and experiences.

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