HTML <summary> Tag

The <summary> tag is used to define the visible header for the <details> element. By clicking on the header the user can view/hide the information.

The <summary> element always should be the first element inside a <details> tag. When you click on the summary, the parent <details> element is switched open or closed. Then the toggle event is sent to <details>, which can be used to inform you when the state change occurs.

If the first child of the <details> element isn’t a <summary> element, a default string will be used as a label of the disclosure box.

The default style for <summary> tags contains the CSS display property with the “list-item” value allowing to change the icon that is displayed as a disclosure widget. If you want to remove the disclosure triangle, you can use display: block.

The <summary> tag is one of the HTML5 elements.


The <summary> tag comes in pairs. The content is written between the opening (<summary>) and closing (</summary>) tags.

Example of the HTML <summary> tag:

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
      <summary>Copyright 2013-2014.</summary>
      <p>W3docs. All rights reserved.</p>
      <p>The content of the website is the property of</p>


summary example


The <summary> tag supports Global Attributes and the Event Attributes.

How to style <summary> tag?

Common properties to alter the visual weight/emphasis/size of text in <summary> tag:

  • CSS font-style property sets the style of the font. normal | italic | oblique | initial | inherit.
  • CSS font-family property specifies a prioritized list of one or more font family names and/or generic family names for the selected element.
  • CSS font-size property sets the size of the font.
  • CSS font-weight property defines whether the font should be bold or thick.
  • CSS text-transform property controls text case and capitalization.
  • CSS text-decoration property specifies the decoration added to text, and is a shorthand property for text-decoration-line, text-decoration-color, text-decoration-style.

Coloring text in <summary> tag:

  • CSS color property describes the color of the text content and text decorations.
  • CSS background-color property sets the background color of an element.

Text layout styles for <summary> tag:

  • CSS text-indent property specifies the indentation of the first line in a text block.
  • CSS text-overflow property specifies how overflowed content that is not displayed should be signalled to the user.
  • CSS white-space property specifies how white-space inside an element is handled.
  • CSS word-break property specifies where the lines should be broken.

Other properties worth looking at for <summary> tag:

Browser support

chrome firefox safari opera
12+ 49+ 6+ 15+

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