Images can improve the design and the appearance of a web page.

Example

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Example

<img src='img_chania.jpg' alt='Flowers in Chania'>
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HTML Images Syntax

The HTML <img> tag is used to embed an image in a web page.

Images are not technically inserted into a web page; images are linked to web pages. The <img> tag creates a holding space for the referenced image.

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The <img> tag is empty, it contains attributes only, and does not have a closing tag.

The <img> tag has two required attributes:

  • src - Specifies the path to the image
  • alt - Specifies an alternate text for the image

Syntax

The src Attribute

The required src attribute specifies the path (URL) to the image.

Note: When a web page loads; it is the browser, at that moment, that gets the image from a web server and inserts it into the page. Therefore, make sure that the image actually stays in the same spot in relation to the web page, otherwise your visitors will get a broken link icon. The broken link icon and the alt text are shown if the browser cannot find the image.

Example

<img src='img_chania.jpg' alt='Flowers in Chania'>
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The alt Attribute

The required alt attribute provides an alternate text for an image, if the user for some reason cannot view it (because of slow connection, an error in the src attribute, or if the user uses a screen reader).

The value of the alt attribute should describe the image:

Example

<img src='img_chania.jpg' alt='Flowers in Chania'>
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If a browser cannot find an image, it will display the value of the alt attribute:

Example

<img src='wrongname.gif' alt='Flowers in Chania'>
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Tip: A screen reader is a software program that reads the HTML code, and allows the user to 'listen' to the content. Screen readers are useful for people who are visually impaired or learning disabled.

Image Size - Width and Height

You can use the style attribute to specify the width and height of an image.

Example

<img src='img_girl.jpg' alt='Girl in a jacket'>
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Alternatively, you can use the width and height attributes:

Example

<img src='img_girl.jpg' alt='Girl in a jacket' width='500' height='600'>
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The width and height attributes always define the width and height of the image in pixels.

Note: Always specify the width and height of an image. If width and height are not specified, the web page might flicker while the image loads.

Width and Height, or Style?

The width, height, and style attributes are all valid in HTML.

However, we suggest using the style attribute. It prevents styles sheets from changing the size of images:

Example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<style>
img {
width: 100%;
}
</style>
</head>
<body>
<img src='html5.gif' alt='HTML5 Icon' width='128' height='128'>
<img src='html5.gif' alt='HTML5 Icon'>
</body>
</html>
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Images in Another Folder

If you have your images in a sub-folder, you must include the folder name in the src attribute:

Example

<img src='/images/html5.gif' alt='HTML5 Icon'>
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Images on Another Server/Website

Some web sites points to an external image on another server.

To point to an image on another server, you must specify an absolute (full) URL in the src attribute:

Example

<img src='https://www.w3schools.com/images/w3schools_green.jpg' alt='W3Schools.com'>
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Notes on external images: External images might be under copyright. If you do not get permission to use it, you may be in violation of copyright laws. In addition, you cannot control external images; it can suddenly be removed or changed.

Animated Images

HTML allows animated GIFs:

Example

<img src='programming.gif' alt='Computer Man'>
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Image as a Link

To use an image as a link, put the <img> tag inside the <a> tag:

Example

<a href='default.asp'>
<img src='smiley.gif' alt='HTML tutorial'>
</a>
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Image Floating

Use the CSS float property to let the image float to the right or to the left of a text:

Example

<p><img src='smiley.gif' alt='Smiley face'>
The image will float to the right of the text.</p>
<p><img src='smiley.gif' alt='Smiley face'>
The image will float to the left of the text.</p>
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Tip: To learn more about CSS Float, read our CSS Float Tutorial.

Common Image Formats

Here are the most common image file types, which are supported in all browsers (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, Opera):

AbbreviationFile FormatFile Extension
APNGAnimated Portable Network Graphics.apng
GIFGraphics Interchange Format.gif
ICOMicrosoft Icon.ico, .cur
JPEGJoint Photographic Expert Group image.jpg, .jpeg, .jfif, .pjpeg, .pjp
PNGPortable Network Graphics.png
SVGScalable Vector Graphics.svg

Chapter Summary

  • Use the HTML <img> element to define an image
  • Use the HTML src attribute to define the URL of the image
  • Use the HTML alt attribute to define an alternate text for an image, if it cannot be displayed
  • Use the HTML width and height attributes or the CSS width and height properties to define the size of the image
  • Use the CSS float property to let the image float to the left or to the right

Note: Loading large images takes time, and can slow down your web page. Use images carefully.

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HTML Exercises

HTML Image Tags

TagDescription
<img>Defines an image
<map>Defines an image map
<area>Defines a clickable area inside an image map
<picture>Defines a container for multiple image resources

For a complete list of all available HTML tags, visit our HTML Tag Reference.


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The HTML <picture> element contains zero or more <source> elements and one <img> element to offer alternative versions of an image for different display/device scenarios.

The browser will consider each child <source> element and choose the best match among them. If no matches are found—or the browser doesn't support the <picture> element—the URL of the <img> element's src attribute is selected. The selected image is then presented in the space occupied by the <img> element.

The source for this interactive example is stored in a GitHub repository. If you'd like to contribute to the interactive examples project, please clone https://github.com/mdn/interactive-examples and send us a pull request.

The source for this interactive example is stored in a GitHub repository. If you'd like to contribute to the interactive examples project, please clone https://github.com/mdn/interactive-examples and send us a pull request.

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To decide which URL to load, the user agent examines each <source>'s srcset, media, and type attributes to select a compatible image that best matches the current layout and capabilities of the display device.

The <img> element serves two purposes:

  1. It describes the size and other attributes of the image and its presentation.
  2. It provides a fallback in case none of the offered <source> elements are able to provide a usable image.

Common use cases for <picture>:

  • Art direction. Cropping or modifying images for different media conditions (for example, loading a simpler version of an image which has too many details, on smaller displays).
  • Offering alternative image formats, for cases where certain formats are not supported.

    Note: For example, newer formats like AVIF or WEBP have many advantages, but might not be supported by the browser. A list of supported image formats can be found in: Image file type and format guide.

  • Saving bandwidth and speeding page load times by loading the most appropriate image for the viewer's display.

If providing higher-density versions of an image for high-DPI (Retina) display, use srcset on the <img> element instead. This lets browsers opt for lower-density versions in>Content categoriesFlow content, phrasing content, embedded contentPermitted contentZero or more <source> elements, followed by one <img> element, optionally intermixed with script-supporting elements.Tag omissionNone, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.Permitted parentsAny element that allows embedded content.Implicit ARIA roleNo corresponding rolePermitted ARIA rolesNo role permittedDOM interfaceHTMLPictureElement

Attributes

Usage notes

You can use the object-position property to adjust the positioning of the image within the element's frame, and the object-fit property to control how the image is resized to fit within the frame.

Note: Use these properties on the child <img> element, not the <picture> element.

Examples

These examples demonstrate how different attributes of the <source> element change the selection of the image inside <picture>.

The media attribute

The media attribute specifies a media condition (similar to a media query) that the user agent will evaluate for each <source> element.

If the <source>'s media condition evaluates to false, the browser skips it and evaluates the next element inside <picture>.

The srcset attribute

The srcset attribute is used to offer list of possible images based on size.

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It is composed of a comma-separated list of image descriptors. Each image descriptor is composed of a URL of the image, and either..

  • a width descriptor, followed by a w (such as 300w);
    OR
  • a pixel density descriptor, followed by an x (such as 2x) to serve a high-res image for high-DPI screens.

The type attribute

The type attribute specifies a MIME type for the resource URL(s) in the <source> element's srcset attribute. If the user agent does not support the given type, the <source> element is skipped.

Specifications

SpecificationStatusComment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<picture>' in that specification.
Living StandardInitial definition

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

Pictures Of Flowers

See also

  • <img> element
  • <source> element
  • Positioning and sizing the picture within its frame: object-position and object-fit
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