HTML Lists

HTML offers web authors three ways for specifying lists of information. All lists must contain one or more list elements. Lists may contain:

  • <ul> - An unordered list. This will list items using plain bullets.
  • <ol> - An ordered list. This will use different schemes of numbers to list your items.
  • <dl> - A definition list. This arranges your items in the same way as they are arranged in a dictionary.

Unordered HTML List

An unordered list starts with the <ul> tag. Each list item starts with the <li> tag. The list items will be marked with bullets (small black circles) by default:

<ul>
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ul>

Unordered HTML List - Choose List Item Marker

The CSS list-style-type property is used to define the style of the list item marker:

Value Description
disc Sets the list item marker to a bullet (default)
circle Sets the list item marker to a circle
square Sets the list item marker to a square
none The list items will not be marked

Example - Disc

<ul style="list-style-type:disc">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ul>

Example - Circle

<ul style="list-style-type:circle">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ul>

Example - Square

<ul style="list-style-type:square">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ul>

Example - List Style None

<ul style="list-style-type:none">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ul>

Ordered HTML List

An ordered list starts with the <ol> tag. Each list item starts with the <li> tag.  The list items will be marked with numbers by default:

<ol>
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ol>

Ordered HTML List - The Type Attribute

The type attribute of the <ol> tag, defines the type of the list item marker:

Type Description
type="1" The list items will be numbered with numbers (default)
type="A" The list items will be numbered with uppercase letters
type="a" The list items will be numbered with lowercase letters
type="I" The list items will be numbered with uppercase roman numbers
type="i" The list items will be numbered with lowercase roman numbers

Numbers:

<ol type="1">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ol>

Uppercase Letters:

<ol type="A">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ol>

Lowercase Letters:

<ol type="a">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ol>

Uppercase Roman Numbers:

<ol type="I">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ol>

Lowercase Roman Numbers:

<ol type="i">
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ol>

HTML Description Lists

HTML also supports description lists. A description list is a list of terms, with a description of each term. The <dl> tag defines the description list, the <dt> tag defines the term (name), and the <dd> tag describes each term: 

<dl>
  <dt>Coffee</dt>
  <dd>- black hot drink</dd>
  <dt>Milk</dt>
  <dd>- white hot drink</dd>
</dl>

Nested HTML Lists

List can be nested (lists inside lists):

<ul>
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea
    <ul>
      <li>Black tea</li>
      <li>Green tea</li>
    </ul>
  </li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ul>

Quick Note Summary

  • Use the HTML <ul> element to define an unordered list
  • Use the CSS list-style-type property to define the list item marker
  • Use the HTML <ol> element to define an ordered list
  • Use the HTML type attribute to define the numbering type
  • Use the HTML <li> element to define a list item
  • Use the HTML <dl> element to define a description list
  • Use the HTML <dt> element to define the description term
  • Use the HTML <dd> element to define the description data
  • Lists can be nested inside lists
  • List items can contain other HTML elements

 


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