4.8.13 The area element

Flow content.
Phrasing content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where phrasing content is expected, but only if there is a map element ancestor.
Content model:
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
interface HTMLAreaElement : HTMLElement {
           attribute DOMString alt;
           attribute DOMString coords;
           attribute DOMString shape;
  stringifier attribute DOMString href;
           attribute DOMString target;

           attribute DOMString rel;
  readonly attribute DOMTokenList relList;
           attribute DOMString media;
           attribute DOMString hreflang;
           attribute DOMString type;

  // URL decomposition IDL attributes
           attribute DOMString protocol;
           attribute DOMString host;
           attribute DOMString hostname;
           attribute DOMString port;
           attribute DOMString pathname;
           attribute DOMString search;
           attribute DOMString hash;

The area element represents either a hyperlink with some text and a corresponding area on an image map, or a dead area on an image map.

If the area element has an href attribute, then the area element represents a hyperlink. In this case, the alt attribute must be present. It specifies the text of the hyperlink. Its value must be text that, when presented with the texts specified for the other hyperlinks of the image map, and with the alternative text of the image, but without the image itself, provides the user with the same kind of choice as the hyperlink would when used without its text but with its shape applied to the image. The alt attribute may be left blank if there is another area element in the same image map that points to the same resource and has a non-blank alt attribute.

If the area element has no href attribute, then the area represented by the element cannot be selected, and the alt attribute must be omitted.

In both cases, the shape and coords attributes specify the area.

The shape attribute is an enumerated attribute. The following table lists the keywords defined for this attribute. The states given in the first cell of the rows with keywords give the states to which those keywords map. Some of the keywords are non-conforming, as noted in the last column.

State Keywords Notes
Circle state circle
circ Non-conforming
Default state default
Polygon state poly
polygon Non-conforming
Rectangle state rect
rectangle Non-conforming

The attribute may be omitted. The missing value default is the rectangle state.

The coords attribute must, if specified, contain a valid list of integers. This attribute gives the coordinates for the shape described by the shape attribute. The processing for this attribute is described as part of the image map processing model.

In the circle state, area elements must have a coords attribute present, with three integers, the last of which must be non-negative. The first integer must be the distance in CSS pixels from the left edge of the image to the center of the circle, the second integer must be the distance in CSS pixels from the top edge of the image to the center of the circle, and the third integer must be the radius of the circle, again in CSS pixels.

In the default state state, area elements must not have a coords attribute. (The area is the whole image.)

In the polygon state, area elements must have a coords attribute with at least six integers, and the number of integers must be even. Each pair of integers must represent a coordinate given as the distances from the left and the top of the image in CSS pixels respectively, and all the coordinates together must represent the points of the polygon, in order.

In the rectangle state, area elements must have a coords attribute with exactly four integers, the first of which must be less than the third, and the second of which must be less than the fourth. The four points must represent, respectively, the distance from the left edge of the image to the left side of the rectangle, the distance from the top edge to the top side, the distance from the left edge to the right side, and the distance from the top edge to the bottom side, all in CSS pixels.

When user agents allow users to follow hyperlinks created using the area element, as described in the next section, the href, target, attributes decide how the link is followed. The rel, media, hreflang, and type attributes may be used to indicate to the user the likely nature of the target resource before the user follows the link.

The target, rel, media, hreflang, and type attributes must be omitted if the href attribute is not present.

The activation behavior of area elements is to run the following steps:

  1. If the click event in question is not trusted (i.e. a click() method call was the reason for the event being dispatched), and the area element's target attribute is present and applying the rules for choosing a browsing context given a browsing context name, using the value of the target attribute as the browsing context name, would result in there not being a chosen browsing context, then throw an InvalidAccessError exception and abort these steps.

  2. Otherwise, the user agent must follow the hyperlink created by the area element, if any, and as determined by any expressed user preference.

The IDL attributes alt, coords, href, target, rel, media, hreflang, and type, each must reflect the respective content attributes of the same name.

The IDL attribute shape must reflect the shape content attribute.

The IDL attribute relList must reflect the rel content attribute.

The area element also supports the complement of URL decomposition IDL attributes, protocol, host, port, hostname, pathname, search, and hash. These must follow the rules given for URL decomposition IDL attributes, with the input being the result of resolving the element's href attribute relative to the element, if there is such an attribute and resolving it is successful, or the empty string otherwise; and the common setter action being the same as setting the element's href attribute to the new output value.