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HTML <small> Tag

Topic: HTML5 Tags ReferencePrev|Next


The <small> tag decreases the text font size by one size smaller than a document's base font size; for example, from medium to small, or from x-large to large. Each nested <small> element will further decrease the size by one size smaller.

The following table summarizes the usages context and the version history of this tag.

Placement: Inline
Content: Inline and text
Start/End Tag: Start tag: required, End tag: required
Version: HTML 3.2, 4, 4.01, 5

Usage Notes

  • The <small> tag is only intended for short runs of text. It should not be used for extended spans of text, such as multiple paragraphs, or sections of text.

  • It doesn't convey any semantic information about the enclosed text — it simply renders the text in a "small" font.

  • However, this element is not deprecated and also valid in HTML5, but is used less frequently now, as there are better methods for controlling text size such as CSS font-size property.


The basic syntax of the <small> tag is given with:

HTML / XHTML: <small> ... </small>

The example below shows the <small> tag in action.

<p>It's <small>small <small>smaller <small>smallest</small></small></small></p>
<p style="font-size:small;">This is a sample text.</p>

Tag-Specific Attributes

The <small> tag doesn't have any specific attribute.

Global Attributes

Like all other HTML tags, the <small> tag supports the global attributes in HTML5.

Event Attributes

The <small> tag also supports the event attributes in HTML5.

Browser Compatibility

The <small> tag is supported in all major modern browsers.

Browsers Icon

Basic Support—

  • Firefox 1+
  • Google Chrome 1+
  • Internet Explorer 2+
  • Apple Safari 1+
  • Opera 4+

Further Reading

See tutorial on: HTML Text Formatting, CSS Fonts.

Related tag: <big>.

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