On clothes, tags usually indicate the brand, size of the garment, fabrics used, and the washing instructions. In Web pages, tags indicate what should be displayed on the screen when the page loads. Tags are the basic formatting tool used in HTML (hypertext markup language) and other markup languages, such as XML. For example, the <table> tag is used to insert a table on a webpage. The data that should be inside the table follows the <table> tag, and the table is closed with a </table> tag.

If you want text to be bold in a block of text, you would use the bold tag. For example, the HTML:

This site is the <b>best website</b> ever!

would show up as:

This site is the best website ever!

Since there is often a need to format content within more general tags, the tags can be "nested," meaning one tag can enclose one or more other tags. For example:

<span style="font-family: Times">This is the Times font, and <i>this is in italics</i>.</font>

would appear as:

This is the Times font, and this is in italics.

Tags are a fundamental part of HTML. If you want to build a website of your own, you can create pages from scratch using a text editor and typing your own tags. Or you can use a "WYSIWYG" web development program like Adobe Dreamweaver, which provides a GUI for creating webpage layouts and generates the tags for you.

Updated in 2006 by Per C.

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