4.10.5.2 Common input element attributes
4.10.5.2.1 The maxlength and minlength attributes

The maxlength attribute is a form control maxlength attribute.

The minlength attribute is a form control minlength attribute.

If the input element has a maximum allowed value length, then the code-unit length of the value of the element's value attribute must be equal to or less than the element's maximum allowed value length.

The following extract shows how a messaging client's text entry could be arbitrarily restricted to a fixed number of characters, thus forcing any conversation through this medium to be terse and discouraging intelligent discourse.

<label>What are you doing? <input name=status maxlength=140></label>

Here, a password is given a minimum length:

<p><label>Username: <input name=u required></label>
<p><label>Password: <input name=p required minlength=12></label>
4.10.5.2.2 The size attribute

The size attribute gives the number of characters that, in a visual rendering, the user agent is to allow the user to see while editing the element's value.

The size attribute, if specified, must have a value that is a valid non-negative integer greater than zero.

4.10.5.2.3 The readonly attribute

The readonly attribute is a boolean attribute that controls whether or not the user can edit the form control.

The difference between disabled and readonly is that read-only controls are still focusable, so the user can still select the text and interact with it, whereas disabled controls are entirely non-interactive. (For this reason, only text controls can be made read-only: it wouldn't make sense for checkboxes or buttons, for instances.)

In the following example, the existing product identifiers cannot be modified, but they are still displayed as part of the form, for consistency with the row representing a new product (where the identifier is not yet filled in).

<form action="products.cgi" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
 <table>
  <tr> <th> Product ID <th> Product name <th> Price <th> Action
  <tr>
   <td> <input readonly="readonly" name="1.pid" value="H412">
   <td> <input required="required" name="1.pname" value="Floor lamp Ulke">
   <td> $<input required="required" type="number" min="0" step="0.01" name="1.pprice" value="49.99">
   <td> <button formnovalidate="formnovalidate" name="action" value="delete:1">Delete</button>
  <tr>
   <td> <input readonly="readonly" name="2.pid" value="FG28">
   <td> <input required="required" name="2.pname" value="Table lamp Ulke">
   <td> $<input required="required" type="number" min="0" step="0.01" name="2.pprice" value="24.99">
   <td> <button formnovalidate="formnovalidate" name="action" value="delete:2">Delete</button>
  <tr>
   <td> <input required="required" name="3.pid" value="" pattern="[A-Z0-9]+">
   <td> <input required="required" name="3.pname" value="">
   <td> $<input required="required" type="number" min="0" step="0.01" name="3.pprice" value="">
   <td> <button formnovalidate="formnovalidate" name="action" value="delete:3">Delete</button>
 </table>
 <p> <button formnovalidate="formnovalidate" name="action" value="add">Add</button> </p>
 <p> <button name="action" value="update">Save</button> </p>
</form>
4.10.5.2.4 The required attribute

The required attribute is a boolean attribute. When specified, the element is required.

The following form has two required fields, one for an e-mail address and one for a password. It also has a third field that is only considered valid if the user types the same password in the password field and this third field.

<h1>Create new account</h1>
<form action="/newaccount" method=post
      oninput="up2.setCustomValidity(up2.value != up.value ? 'Passwords do not match.' : '')">
 <p>
  <label for="username">E-mail address:</label>
  <input id="username" type=email required name=un>
 <p>
  <label for="password1">Password:</label>
  <input id="password1" type=password required name=up>
 <p>
  <label for="password2">Confirm password:</label>
  <input id="password2" type=password name=up2>
 <p>
  <input type=submit value="Create account">
</form>

For radio buttons, the required attribute is satisfied if any of the radio buttons in the group is selected. Thus, in the following example, any of the radio buttons can be checked, not just the one marked as required:

<fieldset>
 <legend>Did the movie pass the Bechdel test?</legend>
 <p><label><input type="radio" name="bechdel" value="no-characters"> No, there are not even two female characters in the movie. </label>
 <p><label><input type="radio" name="bechdel" value="no-names"> No, the female characters never talk to each other. </label>
 <p><label><input type="radio" name="bechdel" value="no-topic"> No, when female characters talk to each other it's always about a male character. </label>
 <p><label><input type="radio" name="bechdel" value="yes" required> Yes. </label>
 <p><label><input type="radio" name="bechdel" value="unknown"> I don't know. </label>
</fieldset>

To avoid confusion as to whether a radio button group is required or not, authors are encouraged to specify the attribute on all the radio buttons in a group. Indeed, in general, authors are encouraged to avoid having radio button groups that do not have any initially checked controls in the first place, as this is a state that the user cannot return to, and is therefore generally considered a poor user interface.

4.10.5.2.5 The multiple attribute

The multiple attribute is a boolean attribute that indicates whether the user is to be allowed to specify more than one value.

The following extract shows how an e-mail client's "Cc" field could accept multiple e-mail addresses.

<label>Cc: <input type=email multiple name=cc></label>

If the user had, amongst many friends in his user contacts database, two friends "Arthur Dent" (with address "art@example.net") and "Adam Josh" (with address "adamjosh@example.net"), then, after the user has typed "a", the user agent might suggest these two e-mail addresses to the user.

The page could also link in the user's contacts database from the site:

<label>Cc: <input type=email multiple name=cc list=contacts></label>
...
<datalist id="contacts">
 <option value="hedral@damowmow.com">
 <option value="pillar@example.com">
 <option value="astrophy@cute.example">
 <option value="astronomy@science.example.org">
</datalist>

Suppose the user had entered "bob@example.net" into this text field, and then started typing a second e-mail address starting with "a". The user agent might show both the two friends mentioned earlier, as well as the "astrophy" and "astronomy" values given in the datalist element.

The following extract shows how an e-mail client's "Attachments" field could accept multiple files for upload.

<label>Attachments: <input type=file multiple name=att></label>
4.10.5.2.6 The pattern attribute

The pattern attribute specifies a regular expression against which the control's value, or, when the multiple attribute applies and is set, the control's values, are to be checked.

If specified, the attribute's value must match the JavaScript Pattern production. [ECMA262]

When an input element has a pattern attribute specified, authors should include a title attribute to give a description of the pattern. User agents may use the contents of this attribute, if it is present, when informing the user that the pattern is not matched, or at any other suitable time, such as in a tooltip or read out by assistive technology when the control gains focus.

For example, the following snippet:

<label> Part number:
 <input pattern="[0-9][A-Z]{3}" name="part"
        title="A part number is a digit followed by three uppercase letters."/>
</label>

...could cause the UA to display an alert such as:

A part number is a digit followed by three uppercase letters.
You cannot submit this form when the field is incorrect.

When a control has a pattern attribute, the title attribute, if used, must describe the pattern. Additional information could also be included, so long as it assists the user in filling in the control. Otherwise, assistive technology would be impaired.

For instance, if the title attribute contained the caption of the control, assistive technology could end up saying something like The text you have entered does not match the required pattern. Birthday, which is not useful.

UAs may still show the title in non-error situations (for example, as a tooltip when hovering over the control), so authors should be careful not to word titles as if an error has necessarily occurred.

4.10.5.2.7 The min and max attributes

Some form controls can have explicit constraints applied limiting the allowed range of values that the user can provide. Normally, such a range would be linear and continuous. A form control can have a periodic domain, however, in which case the form control's broadest possible range is finite, and authors can specify explicit ranges within it that span the boundaries.

Specifically, the broadest range of a type=time control is midnight to midnight (24 hours), and authors can set both continuous linear ranges (such as 9pm to 11pm) and discontinuous ranges spanning midnight (such as 11pm to 1am).

The min and max attributes indicate the allowed range of values for the element.

If the element does not have a periodic domain, the max attribute's value (the maximum) must not be less than the min attribute's value (its minimum).

An element has range limitations if it has a defined minimum or a defined maximum.

The following date control limits input to dates that are before the 1980s:

<input name=bday type=date max="1979-12-31">

The following number control limits input to whole numbers greater than zero:

<input name=quantity required="" type="number" min="1" value="1">

The following time control limits input to those minutes that occur between 9pm and 6am, defaulting to midnight:

<input name="sleepStart" type=time min="21:00" max="06:00" step="60" value="00:00">
4.10.5.2.8 The step attribute

The step attribute indicates the granularity that is expected (and required) of the value, by limiting the allowed values.

The step attribute, if specified, must either have a value that is a valid floating-point number that parses to a number that is greater than zero, or must have a value that is an ASCII case-insensitive match for the string "any".

The following range control only accepts values in the range 0..1, and allows 256 steps in that range:

<input name=opacity type=range min=0 max=1 step=0.00392156863>

The following control allows any time in the day to be selected, with any accuracy (e.g. thousandth-of-a-second accuracy or more):

<input name=favtime type=time step=any>

Normally, time controls are limited to an accuracy of one minute.

4.10.5.2.9 The list attribute

The list attribute is used to identify an element that lists predefined options suggested to the user.

If present, its value must be the ID of a datalist element in the same document.

This URL field offers some suggestions.

<label>Homepage: <input name=hp type=url list=hpurls></label>
<datalist id=hpurls>
 <option value="http://www.google.com/" label="Google">
 <option value="http://www.reddit.com/" label="Reddit">
</datalist>

Other URLs from the user's history might show also; this is up to the user agent.

This example demonstrates how to design a form that uses the autocompletion list feature while still degrading usefully in legacy user agents.

If the autocompletion list is merely an aid, and is not important to the content, then simply using a datalist element with children option elements is enough. To prevent the values from being rendered in legacy user agents, they need to be placed inside the value attribute instead of inline.

<p>
 <label>
  Enter a breed:
  <input type="text" name="breed" list="breeds">
  <datalist id="breeds">
   <option value="Abyssinian">
   <option value="Alpaca">
   <!-- ... -->
  </datalist>
 </label>
</p>

However, if the values need to be shown in legacy UAs, then fallback content can be placed inside the datalist element, as follows:

<p>
 <label>
  Enter a breed:
  <input type="text" name="breed" list="breeds">
 </label>
 <datalist id="breeds">
  <label>
   or select one from the list:
   <select name="breed">
    <option value=""> (none selected)
    <option>Abyssinian
    <option>Alpaca
    <!-- ... -->
   </select>
  </label>
 </datalist>
</p>

The fallback content will only be shown in UAs that don't support datalist. The options, on the other hand, will be detected by all UAs, even though they are not children of the datalist element.

Note that if an option element used in a datalist is selected, it will be selected by default by legacy UAs (because it affects the select), but it will not have any effect on the input element in UAs that support datalist.

4.10.5.2.10 The placeholder attribute

The placeholder attribute represents a short hint (a word or short phrase) intended to aid the user with data entry when the control has no value. A hint could be a sample value or a brief description of the expected format. The attribute, if specified, must have a value that contains no U+000A LINE FEED (LF) or U+000D CARRIAGE RETURN (CR) characters.

The placeholder attribute should not be used as an alternative to a label. For a longer hint or other advisory text, the title attribute is more appropriate.

These mechanisms are very similar but subtly different: the hint given by the control's label is shown at all times; the short hint given in the placeholder attribute is shown before the user enters a value; and the hint in the title attribute is shown when the user requests further help.

Here is an example of a mail configuration user interface that uses the placeholder attribute:

<fieldset>
 <legend>Mail Account</legend>
 <p><label>Name: <input type="text" name="fullname" placeholder="John Ratzenberger"></label></p>
 <p><label>Address: <input type="email" name="address" placeholder="john@example.net"></label></p>
 <p><label>Password: <input type="password" name="password"></label></p>
 <p><label>Description: <input type="text" name="desc" placeholder="My Email Account"></label></p>
</fieldset>

In situations where the control's content has one directionality but the placeholder needs to have a different directionality, Unicode's bidirectional-algorithm formatting characters can be used in the attribute value:

<input name=t1 type=tel placeholder="&#x202B;رقم الهاتف 1&#x202E;">
<input name=t2 type=tel placeholder="&#x202B;رقم الهاتف 2&#x202E;">

For slightly more clarity, here's the same example using numeric character references instead of inline Arabic:

<input name=t1 type=tel placeholder="&#x202B;&#1585;&#1602;&#1605; &#1575;&#1604;&#1607;&#1575;&#1578;&#1601; 1&#x202E;">
<input name=t2 type=tel placeholder="&#x202B;&#1585;&#1602;&#1605; &#1575;&#1604;&#1607;&#1575;&#1578;&#1601; 2&#x202E;">
4.10.5.3 Common input element APIs
input . value [ = value ]

Returns the current value of the form control.

Can be set, to change the value.

Throws an InvalidStateError exception if it is set to any value other than the empty string when the control is a file upload control.

input . checked [ = value ]

Returns the current checkedness of the form control.

Can be set, to change the checkedness.

input . files

Returns a FileList object listing the selected files of the form control.

Returns null if the control isn't a file control.

input . valueAsDate [ = value ]

Returns a Date object representing the form control's value, if applicable; otherwise, returns null.

Can be set, to change the value.

Throws an InvalidStateError exception if the control isn't date- or time-based.

input . valueAsNumber [ = value ]

Returns a number representing the form control's value, if applicable; otherwise, returns NaN.

Can be set, to change the value. Setting this to NaN will set the underlying value to the empty string.

Throws an InvalidStateError exception if the control is neither date- or time-based nor numeric.

input . stepUp( [ n ] )
input . stepDown( [ n ] )

Changes the form control's value by the value given in the step attribute, multiplied by n. The default value for n is 1.

Throws InvalidStateError exception if the control is neither date- or time-based nor numeric, or if the step attribute's value is "any".

input . list

Returns the datalist element indicated by the list attribute.