← 4.10.7.1 States of the type attributeTable of contents4.10.7.4 Common input element APIs →
        1. 4.10.7.3 Common input element attributes
          1. 4.10.7.3.1 The autocomplete attribute
          2. 4.10.7.3.2 The dirname attribute
          3. 4.10.7.3.3 The list attribute
          4. 4.10.7.3.4 The readonly attribute
          5. 4.10.7.3.5 The size attribute
          6. 4.10.7.3.6 The required attribute
          7. 4.10.7.3.7 The multiple attribute
          8. 4.10.7.3.8 The maxlength attribute
          9. 4.10.7.3.9 The pattern attribute
          10. 4.10.7.3.10 The min and max attributes
          11. 4.10.7.3.11 The step attribute
          12. 4.10.7.3.12 The placeholder attribute
4.10.7.3 Common input element attributes

These attributes only apply to an input element if its type attribute is in a state whose definition declares that the attribute applies. When an attribute doesn't apply to an input element, user agents must ignore the attribute, regardless of the requirements and definitions below.

4.10.7.3.1 The autocomplete attribute

User agents sometimes have features for helping users fill forms in, for example prefilling the user's address based on earlier user input.

The autocomplete attribute is an enumerated attribute. The attribute has three states. The on keyword maps to the on state, and the off keyword maps to the off state. The attribute may also be omitted. The missing value default is the default state.

The off state indicates either that the control's input data is particularly sensitive (for example the activation code for a nuclear weapon); or that it is a value that will never be reused (for example a one-time-key for a bank login) and the user will therefore have to explicitly enter the data each time, instead of being able to rely on the UA to prefill the value for him; or that the document provides its own autocomplete mechanism and does not want the user agent to provide autocompletion values.

Conversely, the on state indicates that the value is not particularly sensitive and the user can expect to be able to rely on his user agent to remember values he has entered for that control.

The default state indicates that the user agent is to use the autocomplete attribute on the element's form owner instead. (By default, the autocomplete attribute of form elements is in the on state.)

Each input element has a resulting autocompletion state, which is either on or off.

When an input element is in one of the following conditions, the input element's resulting autocompletion state is on; otherwise, the input element's resulting autocompletion state is off:

When an input element's resulting autocompletion state is on, the user agent may store the value entered by the user so that if the user returns to the page, the UA can prefill the form. Otherwise, the user agent should not remember the control's value, and should not offer past values to the user.

In addition, if the resulting autocompletion state is off, values are reset when traversing the history.

The autocompletion mechanism must be implemented by the user agent acting as if the user had modified the element's value, and must be done at a time where the element is mutable (e.g. just after the element has been inserted into the document, or when the user agent stops parsing).

Banks frequently do not want UAs to prefill login information:

<p><label>Account: <input type="text" name="ac" autocomplete="off"></label></p>
<p><label>PIN: <input type="password" name="pin" autocomplete="off"></label></p>

A user agent may allow the user to override the resulting autocompletion state and set it to always on, always allowing values to be remembered and prefilled, or always off, never remembering values. However, user agents should not allow users to trivially override the resulting autocompletion state to on, as there are significant security implications for the user if all values are always remembered, regardless of the site's preferences.

4.10.7.3.2 The dirname attribute

The dirname attribute, when it applies, is a form control dirname attribute.

In this example, a form contains a text field and a submission button:

<form action="addcomment.cgi" method=post>
 <p><label>Comment: <input type=text name="comment" dirname="comment.dir" required></label></p>
 <p><button name="mode" type=submit value="add">Post Comment</button></p>
</form>

When the user submits the form, the user agent includes three fields, one called "comment", one called "comment.dir", and one called "mode"; so if the user types "Hello", the submission body might be something like:

comment=Hello&comment.dir=ltr&mode=add

If the user manually switches to a right-to-left writing direction and enters "مرحبًا", the submission body might be something like:

comment=%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AD%D8%A8%D9%8B%D8%A7&comment.dir=rtl&mode=add
4.10.7.3.3 The list attribute

The list attribute is used to identify an element that lists predefined options suggested to the user.

If present, its value must be the ID of a datalist element in the same document.

The suggestions source element is the first element in the document in tree order to have an ID equal to the value of the list attribute, if that element is a datalist element. If there is no list attribute, or if there is no element with that ID, or if the first element with that ID is not a datalist element, then there is no suggestions source element.

If there is a suggestions source element, then, when the user agent is allowing the user to edit the input element's value, the user agent should offer the suggestions represented by the suggestions source element to the user in a manner suitable for the type of control used. The user agent may use the suggestion's label to identify the suggestion if appropriate.

How user selections of suggestions are handled depends on whether the element is a control accepting a single value only, or whether it accepts multiple values:

If the element does not have a multiple attribute specified or if the multiple attribute does not apply

When the user selects a suggestion, the input element's value must be set to the selected suggestion's value, as if the user had written that value himself.

If the element does have a multiple attribute specified, and the multiple attribute does apply

When the user selects a suggestion, the user agent must either add a new entry to the input element's values, whose value is the selected suggestion's value, or change an existing entry in the input element's values to have the value given by the selected suggestion's value, as if the user had himself added an entry with that value, or edited an existing entry to be that value. Which behavior is to be applied depends on the user interface in a user-agent-defined manner.


If the list attribute does not apply, there is no suggestions source element.

This URL field offers some suggestions.

<label>Homepage: <input name=hp type=url list=hpurls></label>
<datalist id=hpurls>
 <option value="http://www.google.com/" label="Google">
 <option value="http://www.reddit.com/" label="Reddit">
</datalist>

Other URLs from the user's history might show also; this is up to the user agent.

This example demonstrates how to design a form that uses the autocompletion list feature while still degrading usefully in legacy user agents.

If the autocompletion list is merely an aid, and is not important to the content, then simply using a datalist element with children option elements is enough. To prevent the values from being rendered in legacy user agents, they need to be placed inside the value attribute instead of inline.

<p>
 <label>
  Enter a breed:
  <input type="text" name="breed" list="breeds">
  <datalist id="breeds">
   <option value="Abyssinian">
   <option value="Alpaca">
   <!-- ... -->
  </datalist>
 </label>
</p>

However, if the values need to be shown in legacy UAs, then fallback content can be placed inside the datalist element, as follows:

<p>
 <label>
  Enter a breed:
  <input type="text" name="breed" list="breeds">
 </label>
 <datalist id="breeds">
  <label>
   or select one from the list:
   <select name="breed">
    <option value=""> (none selected)
    <option>Abyssinian
    <option>Alpaca
    <!-- ... -->
   </select>
  </label>
 </datalist>
</p>

The fallback content will only be shown in UAs that don't support datalist. The options, on the other hand, will be detected by all UAs, even though they are not children of the datalist element.

Note that if an option element used in a datalist is selected, it will be selected by default by legacy UAs (because it affects the select), but it will not have any effect on the input element in UAs that support datalist.

4.10.7.3.4 The readonly attribute

The readonly attribute is a boolean attribute that controls whether or not the user can edit the form control. When specified, the element is immutable.

Constraint validation: If the readonly attribute is specified on an input element, the element is barred from constraint validation.

In the following example, the existing product identifiers cannot be modified, but they are still displayed as part of the form, for consistency with the row representing a new product (where the identifier is not yet filled in).

<form action="products.cgi" method=post enctype="multipart/form-data">
 <table>
  <tr> <th> Product ID <th> Product name <th> Price <th> Action
  <tr>
   <td> <input readonly name="1.pid" value="H412">
   <td> <input required name="1.pname" value="Floor lamp Ulke">
   <td> $<input required type=number min=0 step=0.01 name="1.pprice" value="49.99">
   <td> <button formnovalidate name="action" value="delete:1">Delete</button>
  <tr>
   <td> <input readonly name="2.pid" value="FG28">
   <td> <input required name="2.pname" value="Table lamp Ulke">
   <td> $<input required type=number min=0 step=0.01 name="2.pprice" value="24.99">
   <td> <button formnovalidate name="action" value="delete:2">Delete</button>
  <tr>
   <td> <input required name="3.pid" value="" pattern="[A-Z0-9]+">
   <td> <input required name="3.pname" value="">
   <td> $<input required type=number min=0 step=0.01 name="3.pprice" value="">
   <td> <button formnovalidate name="action" value="delete:3">Delete</button>
 </table>
 <p> <button formnovalidate name="action" value="add">Add</button> </p>
 <p> <button name="action" value="update">Save</button> </p>
</form>
4.10.7.3.5 The size attribute

The size attribute gives the number of characters that, in a visual rendering, the user agent is to allow the user to see while editing the element's value.

The size attribute, if specified, must have a value that is a valid non-negative integer greater than zero.

If the attribute is present, then its value must be parsed using the rules for parsing non-negative integers, and if the result is a number greater than zero, then the user agent should ensure that at least that many characters are visible.

The size IDL attribute is limited to only non-negative numbers greater than zero and has a default value of 20.

4.10.7.3.6 The required attribute

The required attribute is a boolean attribute. When specified, the element is required.

Constraint validation: If the element is required, and its value IDL attribute applies and is in the mode value, and the element is mutable, and the element's value is the empty string, then the element is suffering from being missing.

The following form has two required fields, one for an e-mail address and one for a password. It also has a third field that is only considered valid if the user types the same password in the password field and this third field.

<h1>Create new account</h1>
<form action="/newaccount" method=post
      oninput="up2.setCustomValidity(up2.value != up.value ? 'Passwords do not match.' : '')">
 <p>
  <label for="username">E-mail address:</label>
  <input id="username" type=email required name=un>
 <p>
  <label for="password1">Password:</label>
  <input id="password1" type=password required name=up>
 <p>
  <label for="password2">Confirm password:</label>
  <input id="password2" type=password name=up2>
 <p>
  <input type=submit value="Create account">
</form>
4.10.7.3.7 The multiple attribute

The multiple attribute is a boolean attribute that indicates whether the user is to be allowed to specify more than one value.

The following extract shows how an e-mail client's "Cc" field could accept multiple e-mail addresses.

<label>Cc: <input type=email multiple name=cc></label>

If the user had, amongst many friends in his user contacts database, two friends "Arthur Dent" (with address "art@example.net") and "Adam Josh" (with address "adamjosh@example.net"), then, after the user has typed "a", the user agent might suggest these two e-mail addresses to the user.

The page could also link in the user's contacts database from the site:

<label>Cc: <input type=email multiple name=cc list=contacts></label>
...
<datalist id="contacts">
 <option value="hedral@damowmow.com">
 <option value="pillar@example.com">
 <option value="astrophy@cute.example">
 <option value="astronomy@science.example.org">
</datalist>

Suppose the user had entered "bob@example.net" into this text field, and then started typing a second e-mail address starting with "a". The user agent might show both the two friends mentioned earlier, as well as the "astrophy" and "astronomy" values given in the datalist element.

The following extract shows how an e-mail client's "Attachments" field could accept multiple files for upload.

<label>Attachments: <input type=file multiple name=att></label>
4.10.7.3.8 The maxlength attribute

The maxlength attribute, when it applies, is a form control maxlength attribute controlled by the input element's dirty value flag.

If the input element has a maximum allowed value length, then the code-unit length of the value of the element's value attribute must be equal to or less than the element's maximum allowed value length.

The following extract shows how a messaging client's text entry could be arbitrarily restricted to a fixed number of characters, thus forcing any conversation through this medium to be terse and discouraging intelligent discourse.

<label>What are you doing? <input name=status maxlength=140></label>
4.10.7.3.9 The pattern attribute

The pattern attribute specifies a regular expression against which the control's value, or, when the multiple attribute applies and is set, the control's values, are to be checked.

If specified, the attribute's value must match the JavaScript Pattern production. [ECMA262]

If an input element has a pattern attribute specified, and the attribute's value, when compiled as a JavaScript regular expression with the global, ignoreCase, and multiline flags disabled (see ECMA262 Edition 5, sections 15.10.7.2 through 15.10.7.4), compiles successfully, then the resulting regular expression is the element's compiled pattern regular expression. If the element has no such attribute, or if the value doesn't compile successfully, then the element has no compiled pattern regular expression. [ECMA262]

Constraint validation: If the element's value is not the empty string, and either the element's multiple attribute is not specified or it does not apply to the input element given its type attribute's current state, and the element has a compiled pattern regular expression but that regular expression does not match the entirety of the element's value, then the element is suffering from a pattern mismatch.

Constraint validation: If the element's value is not the empty string, and the element's multiple attribute is specified and applies to the input element, and the element has a compiled pattern regular expression but that regular expression does not match the entirety of each of the element's values, then the element is suffering from a pattern mismatch.

The compiled pattern regular expression, when matched against a string, must have its start anchored to the start of the string and its end anchored to the end of the string.

This implies that the regular expression language used for this attribute is the same as that used in JavaScript, except that the pattern attribute is matched against the entire value, not just any subset (somewhat as if it implied a ^(?: at the start of the pattern and a )$ at the end).

When an input element has a pattern attribute specified, authors should include a title attribute to give a description of the pattern. User agents may use the contents of this attribute, if it is present, when informing the user that the pattern is not matched, or at any other suitable time, such as in a tooltip or read out by assistive technology when the control gains focus.

For example, the following snippet:

<label> Part number:
 <input pattern="[0-9][A-Z]{3}" name="part"
        title="A part number is a digit followed by three uppercase letters."/>
</label>

...could cause the UA to display an alert such as:

A part number is a digit followed by three uppercase letters.
You cannot submit this form when the field is incorrect.

When a control has a pattern attribute, the title attribute, if used, must describe the pattern. Additional information could also be included, so long as it assists the user in filling in the control. Otherwise, assistive technology would be impaired.

For instance, if the title attribute contained the caption of the control, assistive technology could end up saying something like The text you have entered does not match the required pattern. Birthday, which is not useful.

UAs may still show the title in non-error situations (for example, as a tooltip when hovering over the control), so authors should be careful not to word titles as if an error has necessarily occurred.

4.10.7.3.10 The min and max attributes

The min and max attributes indicate the allowed range of values for the element.

Their syntax is defined by the section that defines the type attribute's current state.

If the element has a min attribute, and the result of applying the algorithm to convert a string to a number to the value of the min attribute is a number, then that number is the element's minimum; otherwise, if the type attribute's current state defines a default minimum, then that is the minimum; otherwise, the element has no minimum.

Constraint validation: When the element has a minimum, and the result of applying the algorithm to convert a string to a number to the string given by the element's value is a number, and the number obtained from that algorithm is less than the minimum, the element is suffering from an underflow.

The min attribute also defines the step base.

If the element has a max attribute, and the result of applying the algorithm to convert a string to a number to the value of the max attribute is a number, then that number is the element's maximum; otherwise, if the type attribute's current state defines a default maximum, then that is the maximum; otherwise, the element has no maximum.

Constraint validation: When the element has a maximum, and the result of applying the algorithm to convert a string to a number to the string given by the element's value is a number, and the number obtained from that algorithm is more than the maximum, the element is suffering from an overflow.

The max attribute's value (the maximum) must not be less than the min attribute's value (its minimum).

If an element has a maximum that is less than its minimum, then so long as the element has a value, it will either be suffering from an underflow or suffering from an overflow.

An element has range limitations if it has a defined minimum or a defined maximum.

The following date control limits input to dates that are before the 1980s:

<input name=bday type=date max="1979-12-31">

The following number control limits input to whole numbers greater than zero:

<input name=quantity required type=number min=1 value=1>
4.10.7.3.11 The step attribute

The step attribute indicates the granularity that is expected (and required) of the value, by limiting the allowed values. The section that defines the type attribute's current state also defines the default step, the step scale factor, and in some cases the default step base, which are used in processing the attribute as described below.

The step attribute, if specified, must either have a value that is a valid floating point number that parses to a number that is greater than zero, or must have a value that is an ASCII case-insensitive match for the string "any".

The attribute provides the allowed value step for the element, as follows:

  1. If the attribute is absent, then the allowed value step is the default step multiplied by the step scale factor.
  2. Otherwise, if the attribute's value is an ASCII case-insensitive match for the string "any", then there is no allowed value step.
  3. Otherwise, if the rules for parsing floating point number values, when they are applied to the attribute's value, return an error, zero, or a number less than zero, then the allowed value step is the default step multiplied by the step scale factor.
  4. Otherwise, the allowed value step is the number returned by the rules for parsing floating point number values when they are applied to the attribute's value, multiplied by the step scale factor.

The step base is the result of applying the algorithm to convert a string to a number to the value of the min attribute, unless the element does not have a min attribute specified or the result of applying that algorithm is an error, in which case the step base is the default step base, if one is defined, or zero, if not.

Constraint validation: When the element has an allowed value step, and the result of applying the algorithm to convert a string to a number to the string given by the element's value is a number, and that number subtracted from the step base is not an integral multiple of the allowed value step, the element is suffering from a step mismatch.

The following range control only accepts values in the range 0..1, and allows 256 steps in that range:

<input name=opacity type=range min=0 max=1 step=0.00392156863>

The following control allows any time in the day to be selected, with any accuracy (e.g. thousandth-of-a-second accuracy or more):

<input name=favtime type=time step=any>

Normally, time controls are limited to an accuracy of one minute.

4.10.7.3.12 The placeholder attribute

The placeholder attribute represents a short hint (a word or short phrase) intended to aid the user with data entry. A hint could be a sample value or a brief description of the expected format. The attribute, if specified, must have a value that contains no "LF" (U+000A) or "CR" (U+000D) characters.

For a longer hint or other advisory text, the title attribute is more appropriate.

The placeholder attribute should not be used as an alternative to a label.

User agents should present this hint to the user, after having stripped line breaks from it, when the element's value is the empty string and/or the control is not focused (e.g. by displaying it inside a blank unfocused control and hiding it otherwise).

Here is an example of a mail configuration user interface that uses the placeholder attribute:

<fieldset>
 <legend>Mail Account</legend>
 <p><label>Name: <input type="text" name="fullname" placeholder="John Ratzenberger"></label></p>
 <p><label>Address: <input type="email" name="address" placeholder="john@example.net"></label></p>
 <p><label>Password: <input type="password" name="password"></label></p>
 <p><label>Description: <input type="text" name="desc" placeholder="My Email Account"></label></p>
</fieldset>