<map> HTML Tag

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Element of
Web Images: Best Practices and HTML Code In One Useful Guide
What does <map> HTML Tag do?
The <map> element is used in conjunction with one or more <area> elements to define hyperlinked regions of an image map.

Making Images Clickable

The <map> element allows one or more images to be assigned to an image. It works by assigning coordinates to a rectangular area, and then assigning a link. Think of this like a series of hot spots, with coordinates defined in your code. As such, <map> is commonly used to assign multiple navigation links to a single image at the top of the page. The image map is a client-side object, which means that the browser is responsible for interpreting the code and rendering the image map. This differs from server-side scripting, which is processed by the web server before the results are sent to the visitor’s browser.


To use <map>, you must first specify an image using the <img> element.

<img src="/wp-content/uploads/shapes.png" width="487" height="271" alt="Shapes" usemap="#shapesmap"> 

The second step is creating the <map> code, specifying the coordinates for the shapes you want to define within the <area> element. Note that the usemap attribute in the <img> element matches the name attribute of the <map> element:

<map name="shapesmap">   <area shape="rect" coords="29,32,230,215" href="square.html" alt="Square">   <area shape="circle" coords="360,130,100" href="circle.html" alt="Circle"> </map> 

The result looks like this. Move your mouse over the image to see the linked areas. Shapes


When a user clicks on the square in the image, they will be taken to the specified URL: square.html. If they click on the circle, they will be taken to the circle.html page.

New in HTML 5

The HTML 5 specification introduces one important change to the attributes of the <map> element. In HTML 5, if you choose to specify an id attribute for your <map>, you, must use exactly the same term for its name attribute. Additionally, note that the accompanying <img> must include a hashname, such as #shapesmap, and not a URL.

Claire is seasoned technical writer, editor, and HTML enthusiast. She writes for HTML.com and runs a content agency, Red Robot Media.

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