start (HTML attribute)

Depr. Version
Yes HTML 2
Browser support (more…)
IE5.5+ FF1+ SA1.3+ OP9.2+ CH2+
Full Full Full Full Full




The start attribute lets the web page author define the start point in the numbering sequence, rather than using the default of "1" (or "a", "A", "i", or "I", depending on the type attribute’s value), as demonstrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The start attribute lets you set the starting number for an ol example of ordered list styled with i, ii, iii etc, with a start value of 4

This attribute is now deprecated; however, the fact that it is presentational in nature is a matter of heated debate. The fact that a list continues on from a previous list, for instance, could certainly fall under the heading of semantically meaningful information, worthy of including in the HTML code of the page. Because of this, it start will make a reappearance as a fully-endorsed attribute in HTML 5.

The alternative to using this attribute should be to use CSS counters, but there is such poor support for increment counters via CSS that realistically you have no other choice but to use the start attribute.


This example shows the start attribute applied to the maintenance steps shown earlier, using a lowercase roman character sequence with a start position of 4:

<ol type="i" start="4">
  <li>Remove the outer casing by pushing the plastic rivets
  <li>Disconnect the main power harness from the inner unit
  <li>Remove connection to the glow plug.</li>
  <li>Extract unit, keeping upright at all times.</li>



The start attribute’s value is always expressed as a number, regardless of which type attribute is set. In the examples below, the start points would be "iv", "D", and "4", respectively:

<ol type="i" start="4">
<ol type="A" start="4">
<ol type="1" start="4">


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

Every browser listed supports this attribute.

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