HTML textarea tag

Introduction to Textarea

The <textarea> element in HTML plays a crucial role in web development, especially when it comes to collecting input from users. Unlike <input> elements, which are used for shorter, single-line text input, <textarea> allows for multi-line text input, making it ideal for detailed feedback, comments, and other forms of extensive text input by users. It is a versatile form element that can be adjusted in terms of size, default value, and other attributes, providing a flexible tool for web developers to enhance user interaction on websites.


Each attribute of the <textarea> element defines its behavior and appearance on the webpage. Here are some of the key attributes:

  • name: Identifies the <textarea> so that the data it holds can be easily referred to in a form submission.
  • rows and cols: Determine the size of the <textarea> in terms of how many lines of text and characters per line it can display, respectively.
  • placeholder: Provides a short hint that describes the expected input, which disappears once the user begins typing.
  • disabled and readonly: Control the editable state of the <textarea>. disabled prevents the user from interacting with the element, while read-only allows users to scroll and read the content but not modify it.
  • maxlength and minlength: Define the maximum and minimum number of characters that the <textarea> can accept.
  • autocomplete: This feature helps the browser to predict or store input for future use, enhancing user experience by making form filling faster and more convenient.
  • autofocus: Automatically focuses the <textarea> when the page loads, enabling users to start typing immediately without having to manually select the text area.
  • form: Associates the <textarea> with a form element, which is especially useful when the <textarea> is placed outside the <form> tags in the DOM.
  • wrap: Controls how text is handled when submitted in a form. Values can be "hard" or "soft", with "hard" adding line breaks to reflect the appearance in the browser.

Creating a Textarea

To create a <textarea>, simply place the opening and closing tags where you want the element to appear in your HTML document. You can specify attributes within the opening tag to customize the element’s behavior and appearance.

<textarea name="comment" rows="5" cols="30">
Default text if applicable.

This comment <textarea> allows users to enter text in a field that is 5 lines high and 30 characters wide, with any default text being overwritten once the user begins typing.

Styling Textarea

Styling a <textarea> is similar to styling any other element in HTML using CSS. Common style adjustments include changing the border, setting a background color, adjusting the width and height, and applying fonts. For a more consistent look across different web browsers, developers often reset the default styles and apply custom designs.

textarea {
  width: 100%;
  height: 150px;
  font-family: Arial, sans-serif;
  padding: 10px;

This CSS rule makes the <textarea> fill its container’s width, sets a fixed height, applies a font, and adds padding inside the text area for better readability.

Event Handling

The <textarea> element supports various events, such as onchange, oninput, and onfocus, which web developers can utilize to enhance interactivity and respond to user actions. For example, one might use the onchange event to trigger a function when the user finishes typing and moves away from the textarea, or oninput to trigger actions immediately as the user types.

document.getElementById("myTextarea").onchange = function() {alert("Content changed!")};

This JavaScript code listens for changes to the textarea with the ID myTextarea and alerts the user each time a change is completed.

Accessibility Considerations

Accessibility is a vital consideration when implementing <textarea> elements. Ensuring that every user, including those with disabilities, can interact with forms is essential for creating inclusive web experiences. Here are key considerations:

  • Labeling: Always use a <label> element or aria-label attribute to provide users of assistive technology with a clear understanding of the text area’s purpose.
  • Focus styles: Maintain visible focus styles (e.g., border or background color change on focus) to help users with keyboard navigation understand which element is active.
  • Error handling: Provide descriptive error messages and instructions to correct inputs when validation fails, which can be linked directly to the <textarea> via aria-describedby.


The <textarea> element is an indispensable tool in web development for gathering extensive text input from users. Its flexibility and customization options enable developers to create engaging, user-friendly forms. By adhering to best practices for accessibility and interactivity, developers can ensure that <textarea> elements are usable and inclusive for all web users.