HTML template tag


The HTML <template> tag is a mechanism for holding client-side content that you do not want to be rendered when the page loads. Instead, you use it as a template that you can access and render later on using JavaScript. This approach is particularly beneficial in web development for storing markup fragments that should be cloned and inserted into the document by scripts, allowing for dynamic and efficient content updates.


The <template> tag is invisible to the user because the content inside it is not displayed directly on the page. This invisibility is by design, as the primary purpose of the <template> tag is to hold content that will be manipulated and injected into the document dynamically. The content can include any standard HTML, including other scripts and styles, which will be parsed and rendered only when the template is activated via JavaScript. This feature makes the <template> tag incredibly useful for creating complex, dynamic web applications that require the frequent addition of new elements or entire segments of content without reloading the entire page.

Working with JavaScript

To make use of the content within a <template> tag, JavaScript comes into play. Accessing a template is straightforward: you can query it just like any other element within the document using methods like getElementById or querySelector. Once accessed, you can manipulate its content or clone it to insert somewhere else in the document. Cloning is done using the content property of the template, which returns a DocumentFragment of its DOM structure.

Here’s a simple example showing how to clone and insert template content:

<template id="example-template">
  <div>Sample content</div>
// Access the template
var template = document.getElementById("example-template");

// Clone the content of the template
var clone = document.importNode(template.content, true);

// Append the cloned content to an element

This snippet demonstrates the basic process: accessing a template, cloning its content, and inserting that content into the document. This process can be repeated multiple times, making the <template> tag exceptionally useful for tasks like generating items in a list or constructing parts of a user interface on-the-fly.


The use of the <template> tag has several advantages in web development:

  • Performance: By storing content that is not immediately necessary, the <template> helps in reducing the initial load time of the page. The browser processes the content of the template only when needed.
  • Maintainability: Keeping reusable and dynamic content in templates makes the code more organized and easier to maintain. It acts as a clear signal to developers that the enclosed markup is intended for dynamic use.
  • Flexibility: The <template> tag can hold any HTML and associated content, including script and style elements. This makes it incredibly versatile for various uses, from simple text fragments to complex UI components.

Best Practices

When working with the <template> tag, there are several best practices to keep in mind:

  • Content Organization: Use the <template> tag to encapsulate parts of your HTML that are meant to be reused. Keeping your dynamic content separate from the main document structure aids in clarity and manageability.
  • Accessibility: Remember that content within a <template> is not rendered and therefore not immediately accessible to assistive technologies. Ensure that your dynamic content management strategies consider accessibility principles.
  • Efficient Usage: Leverage templates for repetitive structures or complex elements that are frequently updated or replaced on the page. This avoids unnecessary re-rendering of similar content, improving the application’s performance.


The HTML <template> tag offers a powerful and efficient way to manage dynamic content on web pages. By allowing developers to store and later instantiate complex pieces of HTML, it supports more sophisticated, interactive web applications. Whether you are building a simple interactive form or a complex single-page application, understanding and utilizing the <template> tag can significantly enhance your project’s structure, performance, and maintainability. With the combination of JavaScript, it becomes an indispensable tool in the modern web developer’s toolkit.