The HTML <i> element represents a range of text that is set off from the normal text for some reason. Some examples include technical terms, foreign language phrases, or fictional character thoughts. It is typically displayed in italic type.

Content categories Flow content, phrasing content, palpable content.
Permitted content Phrasing content.
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parents Any element that accepts phrasing content.
Permitted ARIA roles Any
DOM interface HTMLElement Up to Gecko 1.9.2 (Firefox 4) inclusive, Firefox implements the HTMLSpanElement interface for this element.


This element only includes the global attributes.

Usage notes

  • Use the <i> element for text that is set off from the normal prose for readability reasons. This would be a range of text with different semantic meaning than the surrounding text.
  • In earlier versions of the HTML specification, the <i> element was merely a presentational element used to display text in italics, much like the <b> element was used to display text in bold letters. This is no longer true, as these tags now define semantics rather than typographic appearance. A browser will typically still display the contents of the <i> element in italic type, but is, by definition, no longer required to.
  • Typically this element is displayed in italic type. However, it should not be used simply to apply italic styling; use the CSS font-style property for that purpose.
  • Be sure the text in question is not actually more appropriate for another element.
    • Use <em> to indicate stress emphasis.
    • Use <strong> to indicate stronger importance.
    • Use <mark> to indicate relevance.
    • Use <cite> to mark the name of a work, such as a book, play, or song.
    • Use <dfn> to mark the defining instance of a term.
  • It is a good idea to use the class attribute to identify why the element is being used, so that if the presentation needs to change at a later date, it can be done selectively with style sheets.


This example demonstrates using the <i> element to mark text that is in another language.

<p>The Latin phrase <i class="latin">Veni, vidi, vici</i> is often
mentioned in music, art, and literature.</p>


The Latin phraseVeni, vidi, vici is often mentioned in music, art, and literature.


Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<i>' in that specification.
Living Standard  
The definition of '<i>' in that specification.
HTML 4.01 Specification
The definition of '<b>' in that specification.

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
iChrome Full support 1Edge Full support YesFirefox Full support 1IE Full support YesOpera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesFirefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes


Full support  
Full support

See also