HTML <var> Tag

The HTML <var> tag represents a variable within the prose of an HTML document.

The HTML5 specification states that this could be an actual variable in a mathematical expression or programming context, an identifier representing a constant, a symbol identifying a physical quantity, a function parameter, or just be a term used as a placeholder in prose..


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

Like this:


Mathematical Expression

Here we use the <var> tag to mark up variables in a mathematical expression.

Placeholder in Prose

Here, the letter "n" is being used as a variable in prose. We don't know whether the number is say, 10, 20, 30 or any other number, so the letter "n" can be used to represent the number - whatever that may be.


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 <var> element accepts the following attributes.

Element-Specific Attributes

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


Global Attributes

The following attributes are standard across all HTML5 elements. Therefore, you can use these attributes with the <var> 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 <var> 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


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


Here's a template for the <var> 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 <var> Tag and HTML4 <var> Tag.

Tag Details

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


Here are the official specifications for the <var> 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.