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California State University, Long Beach
Web Comm, California State University, Long Beach
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Web Accessibility: Text Formatting

Though not explicitly covered by accessibility rules, knowledge and correct use of text formatting tags helps make web pages more accessible. More information can be found at http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_formatting.asp

Text Formatting Tags

Tag Sample Description
<b> sample text Defines bold text
<big> sample text Defines big text
<em> sample text Defines emphasized text 
<i> italic Defines italic text
<small> sample text Defines small text
<strong> sample text Defines strong text
<sub> sample text Defines subscripted text
<sup> sample text Defines superscripted text
<ins> sample text Defines inserted text
<del> sample text Defines deleted text
<s> sample text Strike-through. Deprecated. Use <del> instead
<strike> sample text Strike-through. Deprecated. Use <del> instead
<u> sample text Underline. Deprecated. Use CSS styles instead

“Computer Output” Tags

Tag Sample Description
<code> sample text Designates a fragment of computer code.
<kbd> sample text Indicates text to be entered by the user.
<samp> sample text Designates sample output from programs, scripts, etc.
<tt> sample text Defines teletype or mono-spaced text
<var> sample text Indicates an instance of a variable or program argument.
<pre>
sample text
Defines preformatted text
<listing> sample text Code listing. Deprecated. Use <pre> instead
<plaintext> N/A Plain text. Deprecated. Use <pre> instead. More information.
<xmp> sample text Example. Deprecated. Use <pre> or <samp>instead

Citations, Quotations, and Definition Tags

Tag Sample Description
<abbr> smpl txt Indicates an abbreviated form (e.g., WWW, HTTP, URI, Mass., etc.).
<acronym> SAMPLE text Indicates an acronym (e.g., WAC, radar, etc.).
<address>
sample text
Defines an address element
<bdo> sample text Bi-Directional Override. Specify text direction.
<blockquote>
sample text
Defines a block quotation. Normally indents entire quotation.
<q> sample text Places quotes around selected text.
<cite> sample text Contains a citation or a reference to other sources.
<dfn> sample text Indicates the defining instance of the enclosed term.