The div is a generic block-level element. It doesn’t convey any meaning about its contents (unlike a p element that signifies a paragraph, or an h1 or h2 element that would indicate a level 1 or level 2 heading, respectively); as such, it’s easy to customize it to your needs. The div element is currently the most common method for identifying the structural sections of a document and for laying out a web page using CSS.

Some developers perceive similarities between the p and the div elements, seeing them as being interchangeable, but this isn’t the case. The p element offers more semantic information (“this is a paragraph of text, a small collection of thoughts that are grouped together; the next paragraph outlines some different thoughts”), while the
div element can be used to group almost any elements together. Indeed, it can contain almost any other element, unlike p, which can only contain inline elements.


The HTML below shows two divs being used in conjunction with id attributes to identify different sections of a web page:

<div id="main_navigation">
<div id="body_content">
  <h1>Page heading</h1>
  <p>Body content</p>

Use This For …

The div is an “anything-goes” element—it can contain any inline or block-level
elements you choose, so it has no typical content.


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 element has no compatibility issues. All the browsers listed support the
div element.

Free Guide:

How to Choose the Right Charting Library for Your Application

How do you make sure that the charting library you choose has everything you need? Sign up to receive this detailed guide from FusionCharts, which explores all the factors you need to consider before making the decision.

No Reader comments

Learn JavaScript for free!
Free course: Introduction to JavaScript

Yours when you take up a free 14-day SitePoint Premium trial.