<col>

This article is in need of a technical review.

Summary

The HTML <col> Element (or HTML Table Column Element) defines a column within a table and is used for defining common semantics on all common cells. It is generally found within a <colgroup> element.

  • Content categories None.
  • Permitted content None, this is a void element.
  • Tag omission The start tag is mandatory, but, as it is a void element, the use of an end tag is forbidden.
  • Permitted parent elements <colgroup> only, though it can be implicitly defined as its start tag is not mandatory. The <colgroup> must not have a span attribute.
  • DOM interface HTMLTableColElement

Attributes

This element includes the global attributes.

align Deprecated since HTML4.01, Obsolete since HTML5
This enumerated attribute specifies how horizontal alignment of each column cell content will be handled. Possible values are:
  • left, aligning the content to the left of the cell
  • center, centering the content in the cell
  • right, aligning the content to the right of the cell
  • justify, inserting spaces into the textual content so that the content is justified in the cell
  • char, aligning the textual content on a special character with a minimal offset, defined by the char and charoff attributes Unimplemented (see bug 2212).

If this attribute is not set, its value is inherited from the align of the <colgroup> element this <col> element belongs too. If there are none, the left value is assumed.

Note: Do not use this attribute as it is obsolete (not supported) in the latest standard.
  • To achieve the same effect as the left, center, right or justify values:
    • Do not try to set the text-align property on a selector giving a <col> element. Because <td> elements are not descendant of the <col> element, they won't inherit it.
    • If the table doesn't use a colspan attribute, use the tr:nth-child(n) CSS selector where n is the ordinal position of the column in the table. Only after this selector the vertical-align property can be used.
    • If the table does use a colspan attribute, the effect can be achieved by combining adequate CSS attribute selectors like [colspan=n], though this is not trivial.
  • To achieve the same effect as the char value, in CSS3, you can use the value of the char as the value of the text-align property Unimplemented.
bgcolor
This attribute defines the background color of each cell of the column. It is one of the 6-digit hexadecimal code as defined in sRGB, prefixed by a '#'. One of the sixteen predefined color strings may be used:
  black = "#000000"   green = "#008000"
  silver = "#C0C0C0"   lime = "#00FF00"
  gray = "#808080"   olive = "#808000"
  white = "#FFFFFF"   yellow = "#FFFF00"
  maroon = "#800000"   navy = "#000080"
  red = "#FF0000"   blue = "#0000FF"
  purple = "#800080"   teal = "#008080"
  fuchsia = "#FF00FF"   aqua = "#00FFFF"
Usage note: Do not use this attribute, as it is non-standard and only implemented some versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer: the <col> element should be styled using CSS. To give a similar effect to the bgcolor attribute, use the CSS property background-color, on the relevant <td> elements.
char Deprecated since HTML4.01, Obsolete since HTML5
This attribute is used to set the character to align the cells in a column on. Typical values for this include a period (.) when attempting to align numbers or monetary values. If align is not set to char, this attribute is ignored.
Note: Do not use this attribute as it is obsolete (and not supported) in the latest standard. To achieve the same effect as the char, in CSS3, you can use the character set using the char attribute as the value of the text-align property Unimplemented.
charoff Deprecated since HTML4.01, Obsolete since HTML5
This attribute is used to indicate the number of characters to offset the column data from the alignment characters specified by the char attribute.
Note: Do not use this attribute as it is obsolete (and not supported) in the latest standard.
span
This attribute contains a positive integer indicating the number of consecutive columns the <col> element spans. If not present, its default value is 1.
valign Deprecated since HTML4.01, Obsolete since HTML5
This attribute specifies the vertical alignment of the text within each cell of the column. Possible values for this attribute are:
  • baseline, which will put the text as close to the bottom of the cell as it is possible, but align it on the baseline of the characters instead of the bottom of them. If characters are all of the size, this has the same effect as bottom.
  • bottom, which will put the text as close to the bottom of the cell as it is possible;
  • middle, which will center the text in the cell;
  • and top, which will put the text as close to the top of the cell as it is possible.
Note: Do not use this attribute as it is obsolete (and not supported) in the latest standard:
  • Do not try to set the vertical-align property on a selector giving a <col> element. Because <td> elements are not descendant of the <col> element, they won't inherit it.
  • If the table doesn't use a colspan attribute, use the tr:nth-child(n) CSS selector where n is the ordinal position of the column in the table. Only after this selector the vertical-align property can be used.
  • If the table does use a colspan attribute, the effect can be achieved by combining adequate CSS attribute selectors like [colspan=n], though this is not trivial.
width Obsolete since HTML5
This attribute specifies a default width for each column in the current column group. In addition to the standard pixel and percentage values, this attribute might take the special form 0*, which means that the width of each column in the group should be the minimum width necessary to hold the column's contents. Relative widths such as 0.5* also can be used.

Example

Please see the <table> page for examples on <col>.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
WHATWG HTML Living Standard Living Standard  
HTML5 Candidate Recommendation  
HTML 4.01 Specification Recommendation  

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1.0 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
align/valign attribute ? Not supported bug 915 ? ? ?
char/charoff attribute ? Not supported bug 2212 ? ? ?
bgcolor attribute ? Not supported (Yes) ? ?
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? 1.0 (1.0) ? ? ?
align/valign attribute ? Not supported bug 915 ? ? ?
char/charoff attribute ? Not supported bug 2212 ? ? ?
bgcolor attribute ? Not supported ? ? ?

See also

  • Other table-related HTML Elements: <caption>, <colgroup>, <table>, <tbody>, <td>, <tfoot>, <th>, <thead>, <tr>;
  • CSS properties and pseudo-classes that may be specially useful to style the <col> element:
    • the width property to control the width of the column;
    • the :nth-child pseudo-class to set the alignment on the cells of the column;
    • the text-align property to align all cells content on the same character, like '.'.