10 useful HTML5 features, you may not be using

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HTML5 is not a new thing. We have been using several features of it since the initial release(January 2008). As part of #100DaysOfCode initiative, I have taken a close look to the HTML5 feature list again. See what I found? I haven't really used a bunch of it so far!

In this article, I am listing down ten such HTML5 features that I haven't used much in past but, found them useful now. I have also created a working example flow and hosted on netlify. Hope you find it useful too.


Great, so let us get started with the explanation, code and quick tips about each of them.

🔥 Details Tag

The <details> tag provides on demand details to the user. If you have a need to show content to the user on demand, use this tag. By default, the widget is closed. When open, it expands, and displays the content within.

The <summary> tag is used with <details> to specify a visible heading for it.


     <summary>Click Here to get the user details</summary>

See it working

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/details/index.html

Quick Tips

Use it in GitHub Readme for showing the detailed information on demand. Here is an example of how I have hidden a huge list of react component properties and show it only on demand. Cool, right?

🔥 Content Editable

contenteditable is an attribute that can be set on an element to make the content editable. It works with elements like, DIV, P, UL etc. You have to specify it like, <element contenteditable="true|false">.

Note, When the contenteditable attribute is not set on an element, it will be inherited it from its parent.


<h2> Shoppping List(Content Editable) </h2>
 <ul class="content-editable" contenteditable="true">
     <li> 1. Milk </li>
     <li> 2. Bread </li>
     <li> 3. Honey </li>

See it working

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/content-editable/index.html

Quick Tips

A span or div elements can be made editable with it and you can add any rich content to it using css styling. This will be way better than handling it with input fields. Give it a try!

🔥 Map

The <map> tag helps in defining an image map. An image map is any image with one or more clickable areas within it. The map tag goes with an <area> tag to determine the clickable areas. The clickable areas could be either of these shapes, rectangle, circle or polygonal region. If you do not specify any shape, it considers the entire image.


    <img src="circus.jpg" width="500" height="500" alt="Circus" usemap="#circusmap">

    <map name="circusmap">
        <area shape="rect" coords="67,114,207,254" href="elephant.htm">
        <area shape="rect" coords="222,141,318, 256" href="lion.htm">
        <area shape="rect" coords="343,111,455, 267" href="horse.htm">
        <area shape="rect" coords="35,328,143,500" href="clown.htm">
        <area shape="circle" coords="426,409,100" href="clown.htm">

See it working

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/map/index.html


Image map has its own drawbacks but, you can use it for visual presentations. How about trying it out with a family photo and drill down into individual's photo(may be the old ones we always cherish for!).

🔥 Mark Content

Use the <mark> tag to highlight any text content.


 <p> Did you know, you can <mark>"Highlight something interesting"</mark> just with a HTML tag? </p>

See it working

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/mark/index.html


You can always change the highlight color using css,

mark {
  background-color: green;
  color: #FFFFFF;

🔥 data-* attribute

Thedata-* attributes are used to store custom data private to the page or application. The stored data can be used in JavaScript code to create further user experiences.

The data-* attributes consist of two parts:

  • The attribute name should not contain any uppercase letters, and must be at least one character long after the prefix "data-"
  • The attribute value can be any string


<h2> Know data attribute </h2>
       data-custom-attr="You are just Awesome!"> 
   I have a hidden secret!

 <button onclick="reveal()">Reveal</button>

Then in JavaScript,

function reveal() {
   let dataDiv = document.getElementById('data-attr');
    let value = dataDiv.dataset['customAttr'];
   document.getElementById('msg').innerHTML = `<mark>${value}</mark>`;

Note: For reading the values of these attributes in JavaScript, you could use getAttribute() with their full HTML name(i.e, data-custom-attr) but, the standard defines a simpler way: using a dataset property.

See it in action

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/data-attribute/index.html

Quick Tips

You can use it to store some data in the page and then pass it using REST call to the server. Another use-case could be the way, I show a notification message count here.

🔥 Output Tag

The <output> tag represents the result of a calculation. Typically this element defines a region that will be used to display text output from some calculation.


<form oninput="x.value=parseInt(a.value) * parseInt(b.value)">
   <input type="number" id="a" value="0">
          * <input type="number" id="b" value="0">
                = <output name="x" for="a b"></output>

See it in action

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/output/index.html


If you are performing any computation in the client side JavaScript and, want the result to reflect on the page, use <output> tag. You do not have to walk the extra steps of getting an element using getElementById().

🔥 Datalist

The <datalist> tag specifies a list of pre-defined options and allows user to add more to it. It provides an autocomplete feature that allows you to get the desired options with a type-ahead.


<form action="" method="get">
    <label for="fruit">Choose your fruit from the list:</label>
    <input list="fruits" name="fruit" id="fruit">
        <datalist id="fruits">
           <option value="Apple">
           <option value="Orange">
           <option value="Banana">
           <option value="Mango">
           <option value="Avacado">
     <input type="submit">

See it in action

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/datalist/index.html


How is it different than the traditional <select>-<option> tag? Select tag is for selecting one or more items from the options where, you need to go through the list to pick from. Datalist is the advanced feature with an autocomplete support.

🔥 Range(Slider)

The range is an input type given a slider kind of range selector.


<form method="post">
 <div class="range">
      <output id="output" name="result">  </output>

See it in action

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/range/index.html


There is nothing called slider in HTML5!

🔥 Meter

Use the <meter> tag to measure data within a given range.


<label for="home">/home/atapas</label>
<meter id="home" value="4" min="0" max="10">2 out of 10</meter><br>

<label for="root">/root</label>
<meter id="root" value="0.6">60%</meter><br>

See it in action

You can play with it from here: https://html5-tips.netlify.app/meter/index.html


Do not use the <meter> tag for a progress indicator kind of user experience. We have the <Progress> tag from HTML5 for it.

<label for="file">Downloading progress:</label>
<progress id="file" value="32" max="100"> 32% </progress>

🔥 Inputs

This part is mostly known to us with the usage of input types like, text, password etc. There are few special usage of the input types,



Mark an input field as mandatory.

<input type="text" id="username1" name="username" required>


Provides focus to the input element automatically by placing the cursor on it.

<input type="text" id="username2" name="username" required autofocus>

validation with regex

You can specify a pattern using regex to validate the input.

<input type="password" 
            placeholder="6-20 chars, at least 1 digit, 1 uppercase and one lowercase letter" 
            pattern="^(?=.*\d)(?=.*[a-z])(?=.*[A-Z]).{6,20}$" autofocus required>

Color picker

A simple color picker.

<input type="color" onchange="showColor(event)">
<p id="colorMe">Color Me!</p>

What's next?

Well, I am sure, I have left behind few useful ones. How about you complete the list? Please provide comments about this post and your learning on HTML5. See you soon with my next article.

Oh Yes, all the code used in this article can be found in the git repo mentioned below. Please give the repo a star, if you liked the work.

If it was useful to you, please Like/Share so that, it reaches others as well. To get e-mail notification on my latest posts, please subscribe to my blog by hitting the Subscribe button at the top of the page. You can also follow me on twitter @tapasadhikary.

The cover image was built on top of an image from freepik .

Jome Favourite's photo

Thanks, must of the features I had never seen before

Tantoluwa Heritage Alabi NB's photo

this really mind blowing.Never knew something like this existed, thanks for sharing

Rana Emad's photo

I didn't know some of these existed indeed! 👏🏻

Tapas Adhikary's photo

Rana Emad, me too before this week! 😃

Tech Hustler's photo

Never knew these existed! Thanks for putting these together.

sarath nadupalli's photo

Thanks for sharing. Some of them I didn't know existed.

Tapas Adhikary's photo

Thanks Sarath! Glad, it was useful.

Hrithwik Bharadwaj's photo

Woah! New things learnt . Thank you for this

Victoria Lo's photo

Learned something new today! Thanks Tapas :)

P.S. Love the cover art!

Santosh Giridhara's photo

Cool... Thanks for sharing.

Bolaji Ayodeji's photo

This is really amazing, thanks for sharing!

M Rawash's photo

That's not how you access data-* attributes from Javascript. Use elm.dataset.foo

Tapas Adhikary's photo

Yeah, I missed to incorporate that. Updated now.

Note: For reading the values of these attributes in JavaScript, you could use getAttribute() with their full HTML name(i.e, data-custom-attr) but, the standard defines a simpler way: using a dataset property.

Thanks for pointing out!

M Rawash's photo

Tapas Adhikary You can, of course, access any HTML attribute with getAttribute(), however the 'dataset' property is what makes 'data-*' attributes special and much more convenient to use. Thanks for updating the article.

Kisha's photo

Very helpful article, I didn't know some of these existed!

Nagarjun Shroff's photo

Interesting! Thanks for sharing :)