HTML <svg> Tag

The <svg> tag is used as a container for SVG graphics.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a language for two-dimensional graphics based on XML with support for animation and interactivity. To draw images, it uses simple geometrical figures (circle, lines, polygon, etc.).


The xmlns attribute can be required only for the outer svg element of SVG documents. It isn’t required for inner svg elements or in HTML documents.

Syntax <svg>

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

Example of the HTML <svg> tag:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <div style="display:flex; flex-flow:row wrap;">
      <svg width="180" height="180">
        <rect x="20" y="20" rx="20" ry="20" width="100" height="100" style="fill:lightgray; stroke:#1c87c9; stroke-width:4;"/>
      </svg>
      <svg width="200" height="200">
        <circle cx="100" cy="70" r="60" stroke="#1c87c9" stroke-width="4" fill="lightgray"/>
      </svg>
      <svg width="200" height="200">
        <polygon points="100,10 40,198 190,78 10,78 160,198" style="fill:lightgray; stroke:#1c87c9; stroke-width:4; fill-rule:evenodd;"/>
      </svg>
    </div>
  </body>
</html>

Example of the HTML <svg> tag drawing an ellipse:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <svg width="400" height="200">
      <ellipse cx="100" cy="50" rx="100" ry="50" fill="#1c87c9" />
    </svg>
  </body>
</html>

Differences between SVG and Canvas

At first sight, both SVG and Canvas are doing the same thing, drawing vector artwork using coordinate points. However, there are differences between them. Let’s have a look at them.

SVG is a language for describing 2D graphics in XML, whereas Canvas is used to draw 2D graphics on the fly (with JavaScript).

SVG is like a "draw" program. The drawing is a drawing instruction for each shape, and any part of any shape can be changed. Drawings are shape-oriented.

Canvas is like a "paint" program. When the pixels hit the screen, this is your drawing. You can change shapes only by overwriting them with other pixels. Paintings are pixel-oriented.

SVG is based on XML, which means that every element is available within the SVG DOM. In SVG, the drawn shape is remembered as an object. In Canvas, the browser forgets the drawn form immediately after it has been drawn. If you need to make changes in the drawing, you should draw it from scratch.

Attributes

Attribute Value Description
baseProfile
none (default)
full
basic
tiny
Describes the minimum SVG language profile that the author believes is necessary to correctly render the content.
Not supported after SVG2.
contentScriptType content-type Specifies the default scripting language for the given document fragment.
Not supported after SVG2.
contentStyleType content-type Identifies the default style sheet language used by the SVG fragment.
Not supported after SVG2.
height length |
percentage
Defines the vertical length of rect.
preserveAspectRatio none
xMinYMin,br/> xMidYMin xMaxYMin
xMinYMid
xMidYMid
xMaxYMid
xMinYMax
xMidYMax
xMaxYMax
Defines how the SVG fragment must be deformed if it is embedded in a container with a different aspect ratio.
meet (default) Defines that an image preserves its proportion and is visible.
slice Defines that an image preserves its proportion and the viewBox is scaled down as much as possible.
version number Defines the version of SVG used for the inner content of the element.
Not supported after SVG2.
viewbox list-of-numbers Defines the bound of the SVG viewport for the current SVG fragment.
width length |
percentage
Determines the width of the rect.
x length |
percentage
Determines the x coordinate of the svg container. It has no effect on outermost SVG elements.
y length |
percentage
Determines the y coordinate of the svg container. It has no effect on outermost SVG elements.

Browser support

4+ 3+ 4+ 10+


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