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The HTML <i> element represents a range of text that is set off from the normal text for some reason, for example, 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.


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


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


In earlier versions of the HTML specification, the <i> tag was merely a presentational element used to display text in italics, much like the <b> tag was used to display text in bold letters. This is no longer true, as these tags now define semantics rather than typographic appearance. The <i> tag should represent a range of text with a different semantic meaning whose typical typographic representation is italicized. This means a browser will typically still display its contents in italic type, but is, by definition, no longer required to.

Use this element only when there is not a more appropriate semantic element. For example:

  • Use <em> to indicate emphasis or stress.
  • Use <strong> to indicate 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.


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

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support1 Yes1 Yes Yes Yes
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes4 Yes Yes ?

See also