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In HTML, what is Tagging?

By Dorothy Distefano
Updated May 16, 2024
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Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is the code used by a web page that determines how that page is viewed. Formatting text is accomplished by tagging, a process which informs the browser what special characteristics to apply to the text on a specific part of the page. HTML tags are written in English, and are generally not difficult to learn.

To get an idea of what HTML really looks like, you can right-click on the web page you are currently viewing, and then click on either View Source, View page source, or Inspect element. A new window or tab will open and display the HTML source code for the page. These tags will look like this: <tags>.

Tagging indicates how text should look. For example, if the selected text is to be bold, placing the <bold> tag before the text and the </bold> tag after it will ensure that the enclosed content appears in bold. Similarly, tagging, or enclosing, words with <italic> and </italic> will create italicized content on the web page.

When using tagging, every HTML function requires both an opening and closing tag. Tags are enclosed in angle brackets. The first bracket set contains the command and the second uses a backslash before the closing command. If the tag is not closed, the desired text attribute will not be applied.

Every bit of text that is to be displayed on a web page must be placed between HTML tags. In other words, <html> should be the first text on your page and </html> should be at the end. These commands may be in either lower case or caps, but not a combination.

Your web page may include a wide variety of tags, but it will likely contain these commonly used ones, in this order:

  • <html> Indicates the beginning of your HTML document.
  • <head> The header will contain the title and other style tags.
  • <title> This is the title of the page.
  • </title> This tag closes the title tag.
  • </head> This tag closes the header tag.
  • <body> This is where the remaining information for your document will be placed, including HTML tags for the content.
  • </body> At the end of your page, you will close the body tag.
  • </html> If the HTML tag is not closed, a web browser will not properly display the content.

Tagging can identify text attributes such as titles, line breaks, color, font, links, and more. Header tags are used to determine text size. Many websites are available with full listings of HTML tags for reference. Simply perform an Internet search for HTML tags to find some resources.

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