HTML <small> Tag

The HTML <small> tag represents side comments such as small print.

Small print (also referred to as "fine print" or "mouseprint") usually refers to the part of a document that contains disclaimers, caveats, or legal restrictions, such as copyrights.

The <small> element is only intended for short runs of text. It is not suitable for large spans of text, such as paragraphs, lists, etc. Therefore, the <small> tag should not be used to mark up the full content of a "Terms of Use" page.


The <small> tag is written as <small></small> with the small text inserted between the start and end tags.

Like this:


Legal Restrictions & Caveats

You can use the <small> tag to represent legal restrictions and caveats. Here's an example where a free offer is advertised in normal sized print, and the condition is presented in small print.

Copyright Notice

You can use the <small> tag to mark up a copyright notice. Like this:


Attributes can be added to an HTML element to provide more information about how the element should appear or behave.

There are 3 kinds of attributes that you can add to your HTML tags: Element-specific, global, and event handler content attributes.

The <small> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

This table shows the attributes that are specific to the <small> tag/element.


Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <small> tag , as well as with all other HTML tags.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 global attributes.

Event Handler Content Attributes

Event handler content attributes enable you to invoke a script from within your HTML. The script is invoked when a certain "event" occurs. Each event handler content attribute deals with a different event.

Below are the standard HTML5 event handler content attributes.

Again, you can use any of these with the <small> element, as well as any other HTML5 element.

For a full explanation of these attributes, see HTML 5 event handler content attributes.

Differences Between HTML 4 & HTML 5

HTML 4 specifies the <small> element only in terms of presentation (i.e. Renders text in a "small" font.).

HTML5 has given the <small> element a specific semantic purpose (i.e. ...represents side comments such as small print).

To see more detail on the two versions see HTML5 <small> Tag and HTML4 <small> Tag. Also check out the links to the official specifications below.

If you need to style "non-small print" text in a small font, use the CSS font-size property (or the font shorthand property).


Here's a template for the <small> tag with all available attributes for the tag (based on HTML5). These are grouped into attribute types, each type separated by a space. In many cases, you will probably only need one or two (if any) attributes. Simply remove the attributes you don't need.

For more information on attributes for this tag, see HTML5 <small> Tag and HTML4 <small> Tag.

Tag Details

For more details about the <small> tag, see HTML5 <small> Tag and HTML4 <small> Tag.


Here are the official specifications for the <small> element.

What's the Difference?

W3C creates "snapshot" specifications that don't change once defined. So the HTML5 specification won't change once it becomes an official recommendation. WHATWG on the other hand, develops a "living standard" that is updated on a regular basis. In general, you will probably find that the HTML living standard will be more closely aligned to the current W3C draft than to the HTML5 specification.