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I list below all topic groups, which I have done according to subjects, which they handle. You can return to this topic group by using this menu and the link Table of topic groups on the top of the each page.
Table of topic groupsFront page of help pages(X)HTML/WML tables - Notes > 3. Inline level elements
3. Inline level elements
A It belongs in the Modularization of XHTML to the Hypertext Module.

The attribute target can be added in XHTML 1.1 by adding the Target Module. In XHTML 1.1 can use XLink extensions. Attributes onblur and onfocus belong to event handlers of scripting languages. They belong in in the Modularization of XHTML to the Intrinsic Events Module.

The element A supports use the usage of the attribute name, but in XHTML it needs also the attribute id at the same value. Opera doesn't support for the The A element attributes coords, charset, and hreflang and shape. I have not checked if any other browser supports them.

Even if it is not in general recommended to alter the natural behavior of elements, in certain situations it is reasonable to exchange the behavior from inline to block with CSS (display:block: look at the page).

ABBR, ACRONYM, CITE, CODE, DFN, EM, KBD, SAMP, STRONG, VAR They are Inline Phrasal elements.

The classification base on the Modularization of XHTML to Inline Phrasal elements. In addition this group has the element Q. In the Modularization of XHTML they belong directly to the Text Module. In my mind the most consistent list of Inline Phrasal elements is however in the XHTML 1.0 in the group (DTD-macro) %phrase;. According to that DTD-file SUB and SUP belongs among them.

ABBR is in practise in the HTML 3.0 Draft, but it is in the format ABBREV.

I explain i an appendix page, how I use inline level phrasal elements and I give hints to other inline level phrasal elements. Look at also the next note.


In the HTML 3.0 Draft was large quantity o mathematical elements. Also SUB and SUP were in that proposal among them like some block level mathematical elements (ARRAY, ROW and ITEM).

XML has the MathML (Mathematical Markup Language) 1.01 specification. If that language is used with an additional namespace or module with XHTML, it does the same as mathematical elements in the HTML 3.0 Draft.

SPAN It is classified in the Modularization of XHTML as the Inline Structural element.

SPAN is a semantic quasi-inline, quasi-structural element. It's an inline version of DIV, but DIV is an element container, and therefore, SPAN is too. The W3C called it SPAN to try to take away some of the ambiguity. What this means is that it is a half inline and half structural element. The behavior is inline like the element B (it doesn't have natural semi block (flow) behavior like DEL). Even if inline elements are not actual structural elements, it is not incorrect to classify SPAN in the Modularization of XHTML as the Inline Structural element. This classification has however problems.

SPAN is not as such phrasal or presentational element because it doesn't do anything as such (span.special {color:red} makes sense to <span class="special">this span</span> but without CSS the usage of the element without any attributes is nonsense). In most cases it is used as a temporary presentation or language overriding element (the latter usage resemble the usage of the BDO element).

B, BIG, I, SMALL, SUB, SUP, TT These are Inline Presentational elements

They are classified in the Modularization of XHTML as Inline Presentational elements. If this module is selected they are added to the Text Module.

Because in the first Dan Connolly's DTD for HTML from 1992 had not any presentational elements, it shows, that the original idea of HTML was not to express presentation with HTML (the directory, which handles first HTML documents use element B and I and that's why they are listed in the table, which concerns HTML 1.0). Even if I and B belong to the strict document types of HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 authors are recommended to use in strict documents instead EM and STRONG or some other phrasal inline level element, which has clear semantic meaning. The presentation should be expressed rather with CSS.

I used B and I in phrasal purposes (I interpreted them as semi-presentational elements) in order to create clearer source code (and easier to read in a code editor). But today I don't anymore use them. I express presentation with CSS and semantics primary with CITE, EM and STRONG.

It is recommended to use instead of TT some phrasal element (for example CODE). This is also my recommendation.

In my mind SUB and SUP have primary semantic meanings like Inline Phrasal elements (I have listed them with ABBR etc.), because they can express some mathematical formulas, footnotes and some units (for example mm3). Because they don't belong to the XHTML™ Basic, user agents, which support only that XHTML version and which don't support CSS, can't express them. If user agents support CSS, they can be expressed with semantic classes.

I have found some difficulties to define the size of the SUP with CSS. Test the result with many browsers.

BASEFONT, FONT, S, STRIKE, U All these elements are presentational elements.

They don't belong however to the Presentation Module in the Modularization of XHTML but instead of it to the to the Legacy Module, which must be added to the XHTML 1.1 basic DTD, if they are used. In addition this module includes the element CENTER.

The main aim of this module is to allow better presentation to browsers, which don't support CSS. In addition to some elements, this module includes also most such presentational attributes (for example align), which are in loose/transitional document types of HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0 but which don't belong to the strict document types. It includes also one non-presentational attribute to SCRIPT.

Even if the BASEFONT element belongs to the additional Legacy Module, authors should define the base font also (or alone) with CSS because this element is not supported in Mozilla Gecko browsers (for example Netscape 6.0). In older versions of MS IE, Netscape and Opera (starting from Opera 2.1) it works only with conjunction to the FONT element as an element container, when the FONT element use relative font sizes (for example: <basefont size="7"><font size="-3">the base font -3</font></basefont>). This is against official DTD-files, but Blooberry regards the expected behavior in DTD-files incorrect. I have not checked if the behavior in newest Opera browsers.

The element S is supported in Opera browsers only in the newest 5.10 version (STRIKE is supported in all versions).

Module notes: Legacy Module.
Other notes: SCRIPT, CENTER.
CSS notes 1.
W3C: Legacy Module, Presentation Module.
Proprietary attributes: FONT ([Pw]).
Blooberry: BASEFONT, FONT, STRIKE, U, Character Formatting, Miscellaneous Elements.
Opera Software: What's new in Opera 5.10.
BDO It belongs to the Bi-directional Text Module in the Modularization of XHTML.

If this module is selected it is added to the Text Module.

This is an Internationalization (> i18n) module. I18n is one the main aims of HTML 4.0 and XHTML 1.0+, but already the HTML 3.0 Draft had a special i18n element LANG to the language overriding purposes. The attribute dir comes with HTML 4.0 and it is today supported only in official browsers in MS IE 5.x+ (9/2000). In Mozilla 0.6 (the base of Netscape 6.0) the attribute just affect to the horizontal alignment of the text (I have not tested in newer Mozilla Gecko browsers). Opera doesn't support dir and lang attributes.

Also CSS3 might include internationalization features, for example the property layout-grid, which is supported by MS IE 5.5. It is from the International Layout (World Wide Web Consortium Working Draft 26-July-1999 - newer drafts might be available).

Other notes: Ruby.
CSS notes 1: BDO, ruby.
CSS notes 2 (ruby-align etc.).
W3C: CSS3, Bi-directional Text Module, Internationalization, International Layout, Text Module.
Blooberry: BDO.
ruby, rb, rbc, rp, rt, rtc Ruby Annotation Module is a new module in the XHTML 1.1.

This module is a special Internationalization module. This module is not mentioned in the Modularization of XHTML, because it handle attributes and elements, which belong to HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0. It has mentioned in the XHTML™ 1.1 - Module-based XHTML documentation.

MS IE 5.x supports ruby and rt but a little bit proprietary way. According to the principles of the Name Identification Module in the Modularization of XHTML the attribute name is in general deprecated in the use of name identification. Supporting of this attribute in MS IE 5.x is proprietary.

It can be understood as a presentational or phrasal element.

The effect works only in all Netscape browsers. I don't however recommend to use it because the effect might be irritating.

Attributes ([Pw]).
CSS notes 1.
Blooberry: BLINK.
BR In belongs in the Modularization of XHTML directly to the Text Module.

The transitional attribute clear needs in XHTML 1.1 the Legacy Module.

NOBR, WBR These elements affect to the word wrapping.

They are supported in MS IE 1.0+, Netscape 1.0+ and Opera 2.1+. NOBR can be replaced by using between words &nbsp; or by using CSS property white-space:no-wrap, but it is not widely supported (at least Opera 3.6x+ supports it).

In principle this element WBR could be replaced with soft hyphen (&shy; or &173;) and the result looks better. It doesn't how­ever work in many browsers (at least MS IE 5.5 supports it).

Attributes: NOBR ([Pw]).
Blooberry: NOBR, WBR, Line Breaking.
SPACER This element can be used both presentational and structural.

It is supported in Netscape3.05b+. Even if it is supported at least in some Mozilla Gecko browsers (I have tested it in 23.8.2000 daily build), this is element should not be used. User rather transparent GIF-images or define CSS.

APPLET APPLET belongs in the Modularization of XHTML to the Applet Module.
OBJECT, PARAM OBJECT belongs in the Modularization of XHTML to the Object Module.

These elements are for embedded objects. If these modules are selected, they are added in the Modularization of XHTML to the Text Module. The element FRAME supports use the usage of the attribute name, but in XHTML it needs also the attribute id at the same value.

OBJECT has same attributes as XHTML 1.0 Strict. According to the Modularization of XHTML and unlike in HTML 4.01, OBJECT is not allowed to use inside the HEAD element.

PARAM gives additional information both of them and it belongs into two modules.

OBJECT is supported quite well in MS IE 3.0a1+, Mozilla Gecko browsers and partially in Opera 4.x-6.x and quite covering in Opera 7.x.

The usage of the element OBJECT is problematic. Opera 5.x-6.x support partially the data attribute, but because they don't support classid attribute, at least Schockwave Flash needs instead the EMBED element. Opera 7.x supports necessary attributes but like MS IE doesn't allow to use together data and classid attributes. The source of the plug-ins application must define with a PARAM element (for examplename="movie" value="some.swf"). Even Opera 7.x and MS IE don't offer fully standard implementation.

BGSOUND, EMBED, NOEMBED, SOUND These elements are for plug-ins embedded objects.

BGSOUND is supported in Mosaic 2.0+, MS IE 2.0+, Opera 2.1+. Instead of BGSOUND some user agents support OBJECT, but BGSOUND is reasonable to voice plug-ins.

EMBED is supported in Netscape 1.1+, MS IE 3.0b2+, Opera 3.0+ (all attributes, which are not specially marked concerns all of them). NOEMBED gives the possibility to give the alternative content to browsers, which don't support the EMBED element. EMBED needs the end-tag only in conjunction with the NOEMBED element. See problems from Blooberry.

SOUND is in practise an obsolete element, because it is supported only in Mosaic 2.0+.

Other notes: OBJECT, IMG.
Attributes: BGSOUND ([Pw]), EMBED ([Pw]), SOUND ([Pw]).
Blooberry: BGSOUND, EMBED, NOEMBED, SOUND, Embed, Multimedia.
IFRAME It belongs in the Modularization of XHTML to the Iframe Module.

The element IFRAME supports use the usage of the attribute name, but in XHTML it needs also the attribute id at the same value.

It is supported by MS IE 3.0b2+, Mozilla Gecko and Opera 4.x+ browsers.

IMG It belongs in the Modularization of XHTML to the Image Module.

Transitional attributes (align etc.) need in XHTML 1.1 the Legacy Module.

The element IMG supports use the usage of the attribute name, but in XHTML it needs also the attribute id at the same value.

Standard values to align are bottom, left, middle, right, top. MS IE supports also proprietary attributes absbottom, absmiddle, baseline and texttop. You can get with CSS property vertical-align the same result as with proprietary attribute values.

Avi and vrml need plug-ins applications and it has then the same task as with the element EMBED.

MAP, AREA They belong in the Modularization of XHTML to the Client-side Image Map Module.

In addition to elements MAP and AREA, attributes coords and shape to A and usemap to OBJECT belong also to this module.

The attribute target to the element AREA needs in XHTML 1.1 the Target Module. Attributes onblur and onfocus belong to event handlers of scripting languages. They belong in the Modularization of XHTML to the in Intrinsic Events Module. In XHTML 1.1 can use XLink extensions.

Only server-side image maps are supported in HTML 2.0 and they use the attribute usemap to the element IMG. It is in the Modularization of XHTML in the Server-side Image Map Module.

The element MAP supports use the usage of the attribute name, but in XHTML it needs also the attribute id at the same value.

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