HTML Structure - LayoutS2C Home « HTML Structure - Layout

In the HTML5 Basic Tutorials - HTML Structure - Document we explored basic HTML structure, it's now time to introduce some more structural HTML tags.

In this lesson we learn about the <div>, <footer>, <header>, <main> and <span> tags and how they affect the layout structure of our HTML.

The Division Element

The <div> tag and its' closing </div> tag don't affect our web page directly but are generally used to group block-level content for attribution or styling with CSS.

See CSS Advanced Tutorials - Lesson 6 - Layout for more on this.

The Footer Element

The <footer> tag and its' closing </footer> tag are used to define a footer for a HTML document or section.

The Header Element

The <header> tag and its' closing </header> tag are used to define introductory content for its nearest sectioning ancestor content tag or for a sectioning root element tag.

The Main Content Element

The <main> tag and its' closing </main> tag are used to define the main content area within a HTML document.

The Span Element

<span> tag and its' closing <span> tag don't affect our web page directly but are generally used as a generic container for inline content that allows styling or attribution of that content.

Creating A Webpage

Lets create a webpage for our layout tags to see what they do!

  1. HTML Editor

    1. Open up your HTML editor or text editor, which in my case is Notepad++.
    2. Open a document if required.
    3. Copy and paste the following code into the document.
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <!-- Using the div, footer, header, main and span HTML tags -->
    <html lang="en">
          HTML Structure - Layout
        <meta charset="utf-8">
        <header style="background-color:cyan">
          <h2>Some heading</h2>
          <p>Header content</p>
        <main style="background-color:grey">
          <h2>Main content heading</h2>
          <p>Main content</p>
          <div style="font-style:italic">
            <h3>The Div and Span Tags</h3>
            <p>The Colours of the Rainbow are:</p>
               <li><span style="color:red">Red</span></li>
               <li><span style="color:orange">Orange</span></li>
               <li><span style="color:yellow">Yellow</span></li>
               <li><span style="color:green">Green</span></li>
               <li><span style="color:blue">Blue</span></li>
               <li><span style="color:indigo">Indigo</span></li>
               <li><span style="color:violet">Violet</span></li>
        <footer style="background-color:orange">
          <h2>Footer content heading</h2>
          <p>Footer content such as copyright, sitemaps, contact information</p>
  2. Saving the document

    Save the file as layouttags.html

    save layout tags
    Screenshot 1. Saving the layouttags.html HTML file.
  3. View Page in Web Browser

    Either navigate to the location you saved the layouttags.html file to and double click the file. This will take you to the page in your default web browser, or from your web browser click File --> Open File and navigate to the file and open it.

    After doing either of these you should see a similar webpage in your browser to the following screenshot:

    view layout tags
    Screenshot 2. Viewing the layouttags.html HTML file.

    As you can see from the screenprint the <header>, <main> and <footer> tags are displayed as blocks of content by the browser.

    You can have multiple <header> and <footer> elements within a HTML document.

    You can only have one <main> element within a HTML document and it should not appear within the <article>, <aside>, <footer>, <header> or <nav> elements.

    The italic font style was applied to everything between the opening and closing <div> tags.

    We also applied some colours to each list item using the <span> tag.

    Although the <div> and <span> tags do nothing on their own, when combined with CSS they are pretty powerful. We will investigate these tags further in the CSS tutorials.

Lesson 2 Complete

In this lesson we examinded the layout structure of a HTML document.

Related Tutorials/Quizzes

HTML5 Basic Tutorials - HTML Structure - Document

HTML5 Advanced Tutorials - HTML Structure - Page

CSS Advanced Tutorials - Lesson 6 - Layout

HTML Structure - Layout Quiz

What's Next?

In the next lesson we finish our investigation of the HTML text tags available.

HTML5 Reference

The <div> division tag

The <footer> footer tag

The <header> header tag

The <main> main tag

The <span> span tag