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HTML Forms

An HTML form is used to collect user input. The user input is most often sent to a server for processing.

The <form> Element

The HTML <form> element is used to create an HTML form for user input:

...form elements...

The <form> element is a container for different types of input elements, such as: text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, submit buttons, etc.

All the different form elements are covered in this chapter: HTML Form Elements.

The <input> Element

The HTML <input> element is the most used form element.

An <input> element can be displayed in many ways, depending on the type attribute.

Here are some examples:

<input type="text">Displays a single-line text input field
<input type="radio">Displays a radio button (for selecting one of many choices)
<input type="checkbox">Displays a checkbox (for selecting zero or more of many choices)
<input type="submit">Displays a submit button (for submitting the form)
<input type="button">Displays a clickable button

All the different input types are covered in this chapter: HTML Input Types.

Text Fields

The <input type="text"> defines a single-line input field for text input.

Example of a form with input fields for text:

<label for="fname">First name:</label><br>
<input type="text" id="fname" name="fname"><br>
<label for="lname">Last name:</label><br>
<input type="text" id="lname" name="lname">


Text Fields example


The form itself is not visible. Also note that the default width of an input field is 20 characters.

The <label> Element

Notice the use of the <label> element in the example above.

The <label> tag defines a label for many form elements.

The <label> element is useful for screen-reader users, because the screen-reader will read out loud the label when the user focus on the input element.

The <label> element also help users who have difficulty clicking on very small regions (such as radio buttons or checkboxes) - because when the user clicks the text within the <label> element, it toggles the radio button/checkbox.

The for attribute of the <label> tag should be equal to the id attribute of the <input> element to bind them together.

Radio Buttons

The <input type="radio"> defines a radio button.

Radio buttons let a user select one of a limited number of choices.

Example of a form with radio buttons:

<p>Choose your favorite Web language:</p>  
<input type="radio" id="html" name="fav_language" value="HTML">
<label for="html">HTML</label><br>
<input type="radio" id="css" name="fav_language" value="CSS">
<label for="css">CSS</label><br>
<input type="radio" id="javascript" name="fav_language" value="JavaScript">
<label for="javascript">JavaScript</label>


Radio Buttons example


The <input type="checkbox"> defines a checkbox.

Checkboxes let a user select ZERO or MORE options of a limited number of choices.

Example of a form with checkboxes:

<input type="checkbox" id="vehicle1" name="vehicle1" value="Bike">
<label for="vehicle1"> I have a bike</label><br>
<input type="checkbox" id="vehicle2" name="vehicle2" value="Car">
<label for="vehicle2"> I have a car</label><br>
<input type="checkbox" id="vehicle3" name="vehicle3" value="Boat">
<label for="vehicle3"> I have a boat</label>


Checkboxes example

The Submit Button

The <input type="submit"> defines a button for submitting the form data to a form-handler.

The form-handler is typically a file on the server with a script for processing input data.

The form-handler is specified in the form's action attribute.

Example of a form with submit button:

<form action="/my-action-page.php">  
<label for="fname">First name:</label><br>
<input type="text" id="fname" name="fname" value="John"><br>
<label for="lname">Last name:</label><br>
<input type="text" id="lname" name="lname" value="Doe"><br><br>
<input type="submit" value="Submit">


Checkboxes example

The Name Attribute for <input>

Notice that each input field must have a name attribute to be submitted.

If the name attribute is omitted, the value of the input field will not be sent at all.

Example that doesn't submit the value of the "First name" input field:

<form action="/my-action-page.php">  
<label for="fname">First name:</label><br>
<input type="text" id="fname" value="John"><br><br>
<input type="submit" value="Submit">