Beginner Tutorial: Basic HTML Tags

Updated on January 4, 2020
Sam Shepards profile image

I'm a software developer with a great interest in data analysis and statistics.

Headings, Paragraphs, Linebreak, Horizontal rule and Non-breaking Space, these are some of the most basic tags you’ll use for your HTML pages.

Check getting started with HTML tutorial for information on editors and how to start making .html files.

At the start of an HTML page, you probably already noticed the <html> before the HTML code. These are already examples of HTML tags. These <html> tags denote the ‘rules’ the content should follow. HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is the markup language, it is used to add “meaning” to the elements in your page.

In HTML, we provide the layout of a page by using appropriate tags. These days with HTML5 we get elements that make interactive and media-rich pages easier and better than ever. HTML elements are composed of tags which are enclosed in angle brackets (like <html>, which ends with </html>). HTML tags are the building blocks in writing HTML code.

HTML tags are very easy to learn. You can view the HTML source code of any site on the web. You can open pages in your browser and inspect it. If you are on a page in Chrome for example, right-click and select inspect element. It will show the HTML source for the part your mouse was pointing at. All modern browsers have an option to inspect or view source. Let’s start with some basic tags to see what they do.


We will be covering the following tags:

1) Headings <h1> - <h6>
2) Paragraphs <p>
3) Linebreak <br>
4) Horizontal Rule <hr>
5) Non-breaking space &nbsp;

Headings -

Headings are useful building blocks for content. Whenever you visit a site, you see the different sections described by an appropriate heading. The largest headings are generally for the title. The smaller headings are often used for sub-headings, for one or a couple of paragraphs for instance.

HTML provides 6 headings, from <h1> to <h6>. To use them, simply put your heading(s) between the tags.

<h1>Basic html tags</h1>
<h2>learning tags in html</h2>


When you add a new line (by pressing “Return” key) in a text editor, the pointer automatically moves down. Now you can continue writing on the new line. We have to provide all the layout information on our page using HTML in order for the browser to render the content correctly. We must use <p> around the section of our content to make it a “paragraph” which will automatically surround your paragraph with newlines.

<p>Do androids dream of electric sheep?</p>

A paragraph will have a newline after and before the content.


In order to break the line manually; that is, create a new line after a content, You use <br> tag after your section where you need to make a new line. You do not need to close this tag (by using </br>) like other HTML tags.

<p>What should we do? <br> Just keep coding</p>

Horizontal Rule <hr>

<hr> is used to create a horizontal line below the paragraph. It is used to separate the sections or for easing the reading of your content.

<p>How can I know what this Lion is speaking?</p>

Non-breaking space  "&nbsp"

HTML supports character entities, which are non-tag elements and are written in a different way and used for a different purpose. One of the common character entities is the non-breaking space (&nbsp;).

When the browser renders your HTML code, it tries to truncate spaces in your paragraphs. For instance, If you write 5 spaces in your text, then the browser will remove 4 spaces. That’s where the role of non-breaking space comes into play. In order to add the actual space to your content, you can use the &nbsp; character entity. It stops the browser from breaking a line in the wrong place.

<p>Mr. Sukiyabashi Jiro</p>

A more elaborate example

Now, let’s combine the tags we have learned into an HTML page. Although extremely basic it should give you a feel for it. Following is the HTML code of a simple landing page of a blog:

<!DOCTYPE html>
	<h1>My Blog</h1>
	<p>My thoughts on personal development.</p>
	<h2>About Me</h2>
	<p>My Name is Sukiyabashi Jiro.<br> I'm a famous Sushi Chef.</p>

Ok, now you've made your first very simple HTML page. If you want to learn more about web development and coding go here. I'll also release follow up articles on HTML and how to include more dynamic elements.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Sam Shepards


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