HTML summary tag

Introduction to the Summary Tag

The HTML <summary> tag serves as an essential element within the realm of web development, specifically used as a child element within a <details> tag. Its primary purpose is to provide a clickable summary or caption for the <details> tag, which in turn reveals or hides additional information or content. This feature is inherently designed to enhance the user experience on web pages by allowing content to be collapsible, making the page cleaner and more navigable.

The <summary> tag is instrumental in creating FAQs, product descriptions, or any content that benefits from an expandable and collapsible format. Its simplicity and native support across modern web browsers make it an attractive choice for web developers looking to implement interactive elements without relying heavily on JavaScript.

Basic Usage

The basic structure of using the <summary> tag involves nesting it inside a <details> tag. The content inside the <summary> element acts as the "label" or "headline" for the collapsible content area. Once clicked, it reveals the content enclosed within the <details> tag.

  <summary>More about me</summary>
  Here is some more information about me.

In this example, "More about me" serves as a clickable summary. When clicked, it expands to reveal the content "Here is some more information about me."


The <summary> tag itself does not possess any attributes unique to it; however, it inherits global attributes common to all HTML elements, such as id, class, style, and title. These attributes can be used to further manipulate or style the <summary> tag using CSS or JavaScript. For instance, adding a class attribute can help in applying specific styles to customize the appearance of the summary and its details.


Styling the <summary> tag can greatly improve the user interface and experience. CSS can be used to change the appearance of the summary text, including its color, font size, and even the icon indicating the expandable state. Custom icons can replace the default arrow symbol, making the expandable sections more visually appealing and aligned with the overall design of the web page.

Below is an example of how CSS can be applied to style the <summary> tag:

summary {
  font-size: 20px;
  color: darkcyan;

summary::marker {
  content: "➤";
  color: black;
  font-size: 25px;

This CSS snippet changes the font size and color of the summary text and customizes the default marker icon to a different symbol.


Accessibility is a crucial aspect of web development, and the <summary> tag plays a significant role in making web content accessible. When using the <summary> tag, it is important to ensure that the summary provides enough information to all users, including those using screen readers, about what content will be revealed once the summary is activated.

The <details> and <summary> tags are natively accessible, which means they work well with keyboard navigation out of the box. Users can tab to a <summary> element and press Enter or Space to expand or collapse the details. This built-in functionality ensures that users with disabilities can interact with the content without any additional effort from the developer to make it accessible.

Best Practices

When implementing the <summary> tag, consider the following best practices to enhance usability and accessibility:

  • Descriptive Summaries: Ensure the summary clearly describes the content that will be revealed. This assists users in deciding whether they want to engage with the content.
  • Consistent Styling: Apply consistent styling rules for all <summary> tags across the website to maintain a uniform user experience.
  • Avoid Nesting <details> Tags: While it’s technically possible to nest <details> tags within one another, it can complicate accessibility and user experience. Aim for a flat structure whenever possible.
  • Test Across Browsers: Although the <summary> tag is widely supported, variations in how different browsers render it necessitates testing across multiple platforms to ensure a consistent appearance and functionality.


The <summary> tag is a powerful HTML element designed to make web content more manageable and navigable. By allowing developers to create collapsible sections easily, it significantly enhances the user experience and accessibility of web pages. Given its simplicity and effectiveness, the <summary> tag is an invaluable tool in the arsenal of modern web development, facilitating the creation of intuitive and engaging web interfaces. When used thoughtfully, in conjunction with best practices discussed, it can elevate the overall quality and usability of a web page.