← 4.10.19 Attributes common to form controlsTable of contents4.10.20 APIs for the text field selections →
        1. 4.10.19.6 Form submission
        2. 4.10.19.7 Submitting element directionality
4.10.19.6 Form submission

Attributes for form submission can be specified both on form elements and on submit buttons (elements that represent buttons that submit forms, e.g. an input element whose type attribute is in the Submit Button state).

The attributes for form submission that may be specified on form elements are action, enctype, method, novalidate, and target.

The corresponding attributes for form submission that may be specified on submit buttons are formaction, formenctype, formmethod, formnovalidate, and formtarget. When omitted, they default to the values given on the corresponding attributes on the form element.


The action and formaction content attributes, if specified, must have a value that is a valid non-empty URL potentially surrounded by spaces.

The action of an element is the value of the element's formaction attribute, if the element is a submit button and has such an attribute, or the value of its form owner's action attribute, if it has one, or else the empty string.


The method and formmethod content attributes are enumerated attributes with the following keywords and states:

The missing value default for these attributes is the GET state.

The method of an element is one of those states. If the element is a submit button and has a formmethod attribute, then the element's method is that attribute's state; otherwise, it is the form owner's method attribute's state.


The enctype and formenctype content attributes are enumerated attributes with the following keywords and states:

The missing value default for these attributes is the application/x-www-form-urlencoded state.

The enctype of an element is one of those three states. If the element is a submit button and has a formenctype attribute, then the element's enctype is that attribute's state; otherwise, it is the form owner's enctype attribute's state.


The target and formtarget content attributes, if specified, must have values that are valid browsing context names or keywords.

The target of an element is the value of the element's formtarget attribute, if the element is a submit button and has such an attribute; or the value of its form owner's target attribute, if it has such an attribute; or, if the Document contains a base element with a target attribute, then the value of the target attribute of the first such base element; or, if there is no such element, the empty string.


The novalidate and formnovalidate content attributes are boolean attributes. If present, they indicate that the form is not to be validated during submission.

The no-validate state of an element is true if the element is a submit button and the element's formnovalidate attribute is present, or if the element's form owner's novalidate attribute is present, and false otherwise.

This attribute is useful to include "save" buttons on forms that have validation constraints, to allow users to save their progress even though they haven't fully entered the data in the form. The following example shows a simple form that has two required fields. There are three buttons: one to submit the form, which requires both fields to be filled in; one to save the form so that the user can come back and fill it in later; and one to cancel the form altogether.

<form action="editor.cgi" method="post">
 <p><label>Name: <input required name=fn></label></p>
 <p><label>Essay: <textarea required name=essay></textarea></label></p>
 <p><input type=submit name=submit value="Submit essay"></p>
 <p><input type=submit formnovalidate name=save value="Save essay"></p>
 <p><input type=submit formnovalidate name=cancel value="Cancel"></p>
</form>

The action IDL attribute must reflect the content attribute of the same name, except that on getting, when the content attribute is missing or its value is the empty string, the document's address must be returned instead. The target IDL attribute must reflect the content attribute of the same name. The method and enctype IDL attributes must reflect the respective content attributes of the same name, limited to only known values. The encoding IDL attribute must reflect the enctype content attribute, limited to only known values. The noValidate IDL attribute must reflect the novalidate content attribute. The formAction IDL attribute must reflect the formaction content attribute, except that on getting, when the content attribute is missing or its value is the empty string, the document's address must be returned instead. The formEnctype IDL attribute must reflect the formenctype content attribute, limited to only known values. The formMethod IDL attribute must reflect the formmethod content attribute, limited to only known values. The formNoValidate IDL attribute must reflect the formnovalidate content attribute. The formTarget IDL attribute must reflect the formtarget content attribute.

4.10.19.7 Submitting element directionality

A form control dirname attribute on a form control element enables the submission of the directionality of the element, and gives the name of the field that contains this value during form submission. If such an attribute is specified, its value must not be the empty string.