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fieldset (HTML element)

By Adam Roberts

HTML & CSS

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Description

The fieldset is a useful tool for organizing and grouping related items within a form, and has been used for a long time in desktop applications. When it’s combined with the legend (which is contained inside the fieldset, and is a required element if you use the fieldset), it has the effect of creating a box around the grouped items and showing a description to the right of each item, as shown below.

fieldset-legend
It’s also possible to nest fieldsets as a means to subgroup items, as shown here:

markup-maker-nested-fieldset

Example

This fieldset element is used to group three related XFN attributes (see the Microformats section regarding XFN):

<form>
  <fieldset>
      <legend>Friendship</legend>
      <input type="radio" name="radFriendship" value="Not_Applicable"
          id="radFriendNot_Applicable"/>
      <label for="radFriendNot_Applicable">Not_Applicable</label>
      <input type="radio" name="radFriendship" value="acquaintance"
          id="radFriendaquaintence"/>
      <label for="radFriendaquaintence">acquaintance</label>
      <input type="radio" name="radFriendship" value="friend"
          id="radFriendfriend"/>
     <label for="radFriendfriend">friend</label>
  </fieldset>
⋮
</form>

Use This For…

The fieldset attribute is used to logically group data items that share some characteristics. For example, you may wrap a fieldset around personal details, and another around work details, when capturing information about a visitor in an application form.

Adam is SitePoint's head of newsletters, who mainly writes Versioning, a daily newsletter covering everything new and interesting in the world of web development. He has a beard and will talk to you about beer and Star Wars, if you let him.

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