abbr (HTML attribute)

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The abbr attribute is another one that makes no visual difference to the table and its contents but, like the table’s summary attribute, provides additional information that may be useful for people accessing the content using assistive technology, such as a screen reader. Its purpose is to provide a shorter version of the contents of the th, so that when content further down the table is put into context (for example, when a screen reader announces the table header to which a given cell relates), it’s not necessary to have to go through what might be a very long-winded repetition of the header content. So, in this example, a screen reader may announce, "Make: Volkswagen, Model: Golf 2.8 GTi, Revised: June 2007" rather than "Car manufacturer (make): Volkswagen, Vehicle model (name/spec): Golf 2.8 GTi, Date of last revision: June 2007".


This table lists vehicle details using the abbr attribute to contain make, model, and revision information:

<table border="1">
    <th abbr="Make">Car manufacturer (make)</th>
    <th abbr="Model">Vehicle model (name/spec)</th>
    <th abbr="Revised">Date of last revision </th>
    <td>Golf 2.8 GTi</td>
    <td>June 2007</td>


This attribute takes as its value an abbreviated (but still meaningful) form of the th content.


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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.

While the abbr attribute content does not render visually, all browsers recognised the element and exposed it via the DOM, making it possible to work with through client-side scripting.

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