HTML var tag

The var tag in HTML is used to define a piece of computer code, with the specific purpose of indicating a variable. This tag is part of the family of HTML tags that format text as computer code, offering a way to semantically differentiate variables from other text elements in web documentation or instructional content. The var tag not only semantically signifies variables but also typically presents them in an italicized format, although the exact styling can be changed through CSS.


The var tag is primarily used in technical documentation, programming tutorials, and educational material where indicating variables is necessary. It helps in making the distinction between regular text and variables clearer, which is particularly helpful for readers new to programming. By default, most browsers will render text enclosed in the var tag in italics, signifying its importance and differentiating it from surrounding text. However, it’s essential to note that the var tag should be used judiciously, focusing on variables rather than any code elements, for which other tags, like <code>, <samp>, and <pre>, are more appropriate.


To understand how the var tag functions within HTML, consider the following example:

<p>To declare a variable in JavaScript, use the <var>let</var> or <var>const</var> keyword.</p>

In this example, the var tag is used to highlight the keywords let and const, which are JavaScript variables, distinguishing them from the rest of the text. This visual distinction helps to emphasize the terms, facilitating better comprehension.

Styling with CSS

While the default styling for the var tag is italics, it’s common to personalize this through CSS to ensure the presentation aligns with the overall design of the documentation or website. Here is a simple example of how CSS can be used to change the appearance of elements within the var tag:

var {
  font-style: normal;
  color: #007bff;

This CSS rule removes the italic styling from the var elements and changes their color to a shade of blue. Such customization enhances readability and can be tailored to fit the visual theme of the document or site.


Accessibility is an important consideration when using the var tag. Since it semantically denotes variable names, screen readers can interpret this tag differently, aiding users with disabilities in understanding the content correctly. However, to further improve accessibility, consider using additional descriptive text or the <abbr> tag with the title attribute for abbreviations and acronyms. Ensuring content is accessible means considering semantic HTML elements and how they contribute to the overall understanding of the document.

Best Practices

When incorporating the var tag into your HTML documents, adhere to the following best practices to optimize both readability and accessibility:

  • Semantic Appropriateness: Use the var tag exclusively for variables. For inline code snippets, consider the <code> tag, and for output samples, the <samp> tag.
  • CSS Styling: Utilize CSS to ensure that the var tag’s styling is consistent with your document’s design theme, enhancing readability without compromising the semantic meaning.
  • Accessibility Considerations: Support screen reader users by employing semantic HTML correctly, potentially complementing the var tag with explanatory text or the <abbr> tag for abbreviated terms.

Understanding and applying the var tag correctly within HTML documents is crucial for creating clear, effective technical documentation and programming tutorials. By following the practices outlined above, developers and content creators can ensure their materials are accessible, semantically correct, and visually consistent, thereby enhancing the learning experience for their audience.