summary (HTML attribute)

Spec
Depr. Version
No HTML 2
Browser support (more…)
IE5.5+ FF1+ SA1.3+ OP9.2+ CH2+
Full Full Full Full Full

Syntax

summary="string"

Description

The optional summary attribute isn’t intended to be displayed on the screen (for that, you should probably use a caption element), but it may be used to provide extra information about the table’s contents for non-visual web browsers. For example, a user accessing the web page with a screen reader may find a summary useful—it lets the user decide at that point whether or not the table is of any use or interest. He or she can skip straight to the following content if the answer to that question is “no.” Of course, for sighted users, a quick glance at the table as a whole provides an adequate summary.

Example

The summary for this table provides more information about its contents:

<table summary="Interest rates start at 1.6% for Young Savers
    accounts and at 2% for Smart accounts">
  <tr>
    <th>Account Type</th>
    <th>Interest Rate</th>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Smart</td>
    <td>From 2%</td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td>Young Saver</td>
    <td>From 1.6%</td>
  </tr>
</table>

Value

The value for summary is a brief summary of the table’s structure or purpose.

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 attribute’s compatibility is debatable. No browser renders it on the page, so it’s difficult to say whether or not any browsers have difficulties with it. The biggest question regarding its compatibility is really centered on assistive technology—for example, screen readers—and whether they are capable of retrieving that useful summary information.

User-contributed notes

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