embed (HTML element)

Spec
Depr. Empty Version
No Yes N/A
Browser support (more…)
IE5.5+ FF1+ SA1.3+ OP9.2+ CH2+
Full Full Full Full Full

Syntax

<embed alt="string" height=" { number | percentage } " hidden=" { true | false } " pluginspage="uri" src="uri" type="MIME type" width="number">
</embed>

Description

embed is a non-standard but well-supported element that’s used to embed multimedia content, including media types that mightn’t usually be natively supported by the browser. It can also be used for embedding media types that are supported, such as images in .jpg, .gif, or .png format.

embed isn’t part of any currently recognized standard (it is included in HTML5 which is not yet finalized), so if you use it, your page can’t possibly validate; to create valid markup, you’ll need to use the object element, which was defined in HTML 4. That said, using embed is widely recognised as a good way to embed Flash in an accessible manner, and many believe that it’s acceptable to compromise validity for the sake of accessibility.

embed won’t work for formats that are natively supported in the browser, such as HTML and images—use the built-in, properly supported mechanisms for such formats. The formats that embed supports are generally restricted to those that would require an additional plugin in order to work.

Although embed is an empty element, an end tag is still required for the sake of browser compatibility.

Example

In this example, a super-simple embed element is used to display a video file in .mp4 format:

<embed src="volksworld-video-report.mp4">
</embed>

Use This for…

This element is used for media files (primarily movie files, such as Flash and QuickTime video).

Compatibility

Internet Explorer Firefox Safari Opera Chrome
5.5 6.0 7.0 8.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 3.0 3.5 1.3 2.0 3.1 4.0 9.2 9.5 10.0 2.0
Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full

This element is very well supported in current browsers, and has been supported in Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer as far back as versions 2 and 3, respectively. Therefore, it has a longer heritage than the relative ‘newcomer’, the object element, and refuses to disappear. The fact that very high profile video-sharing web sites like YouTube promote embed markup as a mechanism for users to share and embed videos into web pages means that this high level of support is highly unlikely to wane in the immediate future. It’s for these kind of reasons that the next version of HTML (HTML5) includes it in the standard. (The phrase "paving the cowpaths" is often used in this scenario, meaning “everyone’s using it this way anyway, so we may as well just accept it and make it official”.)

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