The global aria-describedby attribute identifies the element (or elements) that describes the element on which the attribute is set.


The aria-describedby attribute lists the ids of the elements that describe the object. It is used to establish a relationship between widgets or groups and the text that describes them.

The aria-describedby attribute is not limited to form controls. It can also be used to associate static text with widgets, groups of elements, regions that have a heading, definitions, and more. The aria-describedby attribute can be used with semantic HTML elements and with elements that have an ARIA role.

The aria-describedby attribute is very similar to aria-labelledby attribute. While aria-labelledby lists the ids of the labels or elements that describe the essence of an object, aria-describedby lists the ids of the descriptions or elements providing more information that the user might need. Both aria-labelledby and aria-describedby reference other elements to calculate a text alternative, but a label should be concise, while a description is intended to provide more verbose information; a label describes the essence of an object, while a description provides more information that the user might need.

The elements linked via aria-describedby don't need to be visible. It is possible to reference an element even if that element is hidden. For example, a form control can have a description that is hidden by default that is revealed on request using a disclosure widget like a "more information" icon. The sighted user clicks on the icon; for assistive technology users the description is referenced from that form field directly with aria-describedby.

The aria-describedby property is appropriate when the associated content contains descriptions experienced as plain text. If the content contains a large amount of content, useful semantics, or has a complex structure requiring user navigation, use aria-details. aria-details allows assistive technology users to visit the associated structured content and provides additional navigation commands, making it easier to understand the structure, or to experience the information in smaller pieces.

Note: The aria-describedby content should only be a text string. If there are important underlying semantics in the content, consider using aria-details.


<button aria-describedby="trash-desc">Move to trash</button><p id="trash-desc">
  Items in the trash will be permanently removed after 30 days.

Note: The aria-describedby attribute is not designed to reference descriptions from external resources. As its value is one or more ids (space-separated if multiple), it must reference elements in the same DOM document.


ID reference list

The id or space-separated list of element ids that describe the current element.

Associated roles

Used in all roles. Usable in all HTML elements as well.


Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
# aria-describedby
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA)
# aria-describedby

See also