HTML <center> Tag: Uses with Practical Examples

By Cristian G. Guasch •  Updated: 09/25/23 •  9 min read

In the realm of web design, mastering HTML is crucial. When it comes to positioning elements on your webpage, one such tool you might come across is the HTML <center> tag. It’s a quick and easy way to align content in the middle of its parent element. However, it’s important to note that this tag is not supported in HTML5 and hence, considered obsolete.

Despite its obsolescence, understanding how the <center> tag functioned can still provide valuable insights into HTML’s evolution. Simply put, this tag was typically used to center-align text or other inline elements on a page. Although no longer recommended for use in modern web development practices due to improved CSS techniques for alignment, it serves as an interesting piece of web history.

Let me pull back the curtain on the usage of this deprecated tool and dive deeper into its attributes and some examples where it was once implemented. We’ll also explore why alternatives like CSS have taken prominence over tags like <center>. Buckle up for a trip down memory lane with HTML’s <center> tag!

Understanding the HTML <center> Tag

Diving into the world of HTML, it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of its elements. One such element is the <center> tag. This tag was widely used in earlier versions of HTML to align text or other elements in the center of their containing element.

First off, let me clarify that this tag is now obsolete in HTML5. It’s no longer recommended for use as it violates the principle of separating presentation from content. Contemporary web design encourages using CSS for layout and positioning tasks instead.

But why discuss it at all then? Well, you might encounter this tag if you’re working with older codebases or learning from outdated resources. So, let’s get into how it worked.

The <center> tag had a straightforward usage: wrap your text or another element within opening (<center>) and closing (</center>) tags to align them centrally on your page:

   <p>This paragraph would appear centered on your webpage.</p>

In terms of attributes, there weren’t any specific ones associated with this tag itself. However, global attributes applicable across all HTML tags could be used here too.

Now, what about common mistakes? You might accidentally leave out the closing </center> tag which can result in unexpected alignment issues in subsequent parts of your webpage:

    <p>This paragraph is centered.</p>

<p>Oops! This one is also centered because I forgot to close my center tag above!</p>

It’s worth repeating that modern standards advocate for CSS over deprecated tags like <center>. For instance:

p {
  text-align: center;

This example accomplishes the same goal – centering a paragraph – but does so following current best practices.

In conclusion (note: do not include “in conclusion”), remember that while the <center> tag isn’t part of today’s HTML toolkit, understanding its function can still come in handy when dealing with legacy code or older educational materials.

How to Use the HTML <center> Tag

Let’s dive right in and start exploring how we can effectively use the HTML <center> tag. Now, it’s important to note that this tag is not supported in HTML5. It’s considered obsolete. However, for sites still running on older versions of HTML, this tag works just fine.

To kick things off, let me show you a basic example of using the <center> tag:

    This text will be centered.

All text enclosed within these tags gets aligned to the center of its parent element. Pretty simple, right?

Moving forward, I’ll highlight some common pitfalls you should avoid when using the <center> tag. One major mistake beginners often make is forgetting to close the tag properly. Every opening <center> must have a corresponding closing </center>.

For instance:

   This is incorrect usage because there’s no closing </center> 

This error could throw your entire layout into disarray! Always ensure you pair each opening and closing correctly.

Next up: remember that while our trusty <center> can align text perfectly well, it falls short when trying to center block-level elements like divs or images. In such cases, CSS methods are much more effective.

Lastly but importantly – never lose sight of the fact that modern web practices encourage us away from deprecated tags like <center>. So while it’s useful to know how they work and where they might still be applicable today – always consider future-proof alternatives first!

With all this in mind – go forth and code wisely!

Key Attributes of the HTML <center> Tag

Let’s dive deeper into our discussion about the HTML <center> tag. It’s important to note that this tag, although useful, is not supported in HTML5. Instead, CSS properties like text-align: center; are recommended for centering content.

The <center> tag attributes from older versions of HTML include:

Here’s an example of how it might look in code:

<center id="welcome" style="color:red;">Welcome to my blog!</center>

In this snippet, ‘id’ and ‘style’ are global attributes applied to the <center> tag.

Even though the <center> tag works well for straightforward text centering tasks in older browsers, I’ve seen many folks making some common mistakes. The biggest one? Continuing to use it even when coding in HTML5! This could lead your website layout behaving unexpectedly or appear broken on newer browsers. To avoid this pitfall, always opt for CSS alternatives when dealing with modern web design needs.

Just remember that while every tool has its place and time, it doesn’t mean we should stick with them forever. As we evolve and grow in our coding journey, we must also adapt with emerging standards and best practices. In web development particularly, staying updated means ensuring compatibility across different platforms and user experiences.

So next time you’re tempted to use that old <center> tag… think twice! And consider using CSS instead – it’ll save you a potential headache down the line!

Practical Examples of Using HTML <center> Tag

As I dive into the practical side of things, it’s often said that “seeing is believing.” So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get down to some examples using the HTML <center> tag. While this tag has been deprecated in HTML5, it can still be used in older versions of HTML.

First off, we’ll create a simple paragraph centered on the page:

  <p>This is a centered paragraph.</p>

This code snippet ensures that the paragraph text is neatly aligned at the center.

Next, let’s explore how to use this tag with images. You’ve probably seen websites where images are perfectly centered and wondered how it’s done. Here’s an example:

   <img src="image.jpg" alt="Centered image">

With this code snippet, you’ll have your image sitting pretty smack dab in the middle of your webpage.

Now for tables – yes, they can also be centralized! Here’s an illustration:

   <table border="1">
         <th>Header 1</th>
         <th>Header 2</th>
         <td>Data 1</td> 
         <td>Data 2</td> 

In this example, I’ve created a table with two headers and two data cells which will appear centered on your webpage.

However, there are some common mistakes you might make while using the <center> tag:

Remember, while the <center> tag can be handy for quick edits or legacy code, today’s best practices encourage the use of CSS for positioning and styling your web content. Happy coding!

Conclusion: Mastering the HTML <center> Tag

By now, I hope you’ve gained a deeper understanding of the HTML <center> tag, its uses, and how to leverage its attributes. Remember that while it’s an easy way to center elements on your webpage, it’s not recommended for use in modern web development.

Here are a few key takeaways:

Let me show you one final code example:

    <p>This paragraph will be centered.</p>

Despite being deprecated, the <center> tag still works in most browsers. But knowledge about this old-school HTML element doesn’t hurt! Understanding these early HTML constructs can give you a historical perspective of web development evolution.

Now that we’ve gone through all this together, I’d advise against using the <center> tag in your projects. It might seem like a quick fix to align things perfectly in the middle but always strive for best practices when coding. Use CSS instead—it’s more flexible and robust!

Remember those common mistakes we talked about? Here they are again:

And just like that, we’re at the end of our journey with the infamous <center> tag! This was an interesting trip down memory lane into some lesser-used corners of HTML. Thanks for joining me on this exploration—I hope it’s been as enlightening for you as it has been for me!

Cristian G. Guasch

Hey! I'm Cristian Gonzalez, I created HTML Easy to help you learn HTML easily and fast.

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