HTML <rtc> Tag: Usage, Attributes, and Examples

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

Let’s plunge right into the depths of HTML, more specifically, the <rtc> tag. This is a relatively unknown and less discussed component in the world of web development, but it holds its own importance. As part of HTML5, the <rtc> tag serves as an essential tool to provide enhanced semantic value to your code when working with ruby annotations.

In plain English? The <rtc> tag helps you annotate East Asian typography – think Chinese or Japanese characters – right within your webpage’s text! It helps make these languages accessible on your site by providing pronunciation guides called ruby texts. However, this isn’t all that there is to this versatile little tag; it comes with its own set of attributes that can be manipulated for various outcomes.

Now then, let’s move ahead and explore how you can incorporate this nifty HTML element into your coding toolkit. From understanding its usage to exploring different attributes and even diving into some hands-on examples – we’ll cover it all! So whether you’re a seasoned coder looking for a refresher or a newbie just starting out on their coding journey – I’ve got you covered.

Understanding the HTML <rtc> Tag

HTML is a language that’s brimming with endless possibilities. And one such gem it offers is the <rtc> tag. I’ll be delving into this specific tag, breaking down its usage, attributes, and examples to help you master it.

A part of HTML5 specifications, the <rtc> tag serves an important function: annotation of ruby characters in East Asian typography. Ruby text, if you’re wondering, refers to small annotations placed above or next to certain characters in Japanese, Chinese and other languages.

Let’s get our hands dirty with some coding action! Here’s an example:

  漢 <rt> kan </rt> 
  字 <rt> ji </rt>
  <rtc> Kanji </rtc>

In this example, “kan” and “ji” are phonetic guides (called furigana in Japanese) for the character “漢字”. The <rtc> tag here provides an explanation – ‘Kanji’.

It’s crucial to note that <rtc> tags should always be used within a <ruby> block and after any <rt> elements. A common mistake many make is placing them before <rt> tags or outside of a <ruby> block. This disrupts the proper functioning of these tags.

Also remember that there aren’t any specific attributes associated solely with the <rtc> tag. It shares global attributes available for all HTML elements like class, id, style etc.

I hope diving into this topic has given you a clearer understanding of how to use HTML’s versatile tools effectively! Stay tuned as we continue exploring more interesting facets of HTML in upcoming sections.

Diving right into the subject, let’s talk about the key attributes of the HTML <rtc> tag. It’s crucial to note that this tag doesn’t have any specific attributes of its own. However, it inherits some global attributes that are common to all HTML tags.

Here’s a quick snapshot:

This list isn’t exhaustive, and there are several other global attributes available.

Now, you might wonder how these work with <rtc>. Let me provide some examples using JavaScript and CSS.

You can use JavaScript along with the class attribute like so:

  漢 <rt><rtc class="myClass">kan</rtc></rt>
let elements = document.getElementsByClassName("myClass");

Or perhaps you want to style your <rtc> tag using CSS. Here’s how:

  漢 <rt><rtc id="myID">kan</rtc></rt>
#myID {
  color: blue;

We’ve all been there—making common mistakes while coding. One such mistake is trying to use non-global attributes with <rtc>. Remember, no specific attribute belongs inherently to this tag!

In conclusion (remember we’re avoiding those words though!), understanding and correctly implementing these global attributes in your HTML code will make your webpage more interactive and user-friendly. Happy coding!

Practical Examples of HTML <rtc> Tag Usage

Let’s dive into some practical examples to better understand how the HTML <rtc> tag works. It’s important to note that this tag is part of Ruby Annotation, which aids in East Asian typography. To grasp its application fully, I’ll provide a few instances of usage.

As an initial point, consider how we typically use the <ruby> element with <rt> and <rb>. The code below illustrates this standard use:


However, when we introduce the HTML <rtc> tag into the mix, we’re able to offer additional explanations or translations for ruby text. Let’s say you’d like to add a phonetic reading along with an English translation for “東京”. Using the <rtc> tag makes it straightforward:


Note how the English translation “Tokyo” now appears alongside the Japanese phonetic reading.

Now let’s talk about common pitfalls when utilizing this tag. One frequent mistake is using multiple rtc tags within a single ruby block without any rp (Ruby Parentheses) elements. This can lead to confusion and inconsistent browser rendering. Here’s an example of what not to do:

   <!-- Avoid doing this -->
   <rpc>New York</rpc><br/>
   <!-- And this -->

In this instance, all the rtc tags are grouped together without any separators. This results in a lack of clarity about which translation belongs to which original text. It’s best to use separate ruby blocks for each word you want to annotate.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that while the <rtc> tag is part of HTML5 and accepted by W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), support across all browsers isn’t guaranteed. Currently, Firefox provides full support for <rtc>, but Chrome doesn’t fully recognize this tag yet.

So there you have it! A few practical examples demonstrating how the HTML <rtc> tag operates alongside common errors to avoid. It’s not always smooth sailing when working with these lesser-known elements, but understanding their function can significantly enhance your web development skills.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with the HTML <rtc> Tag

When it comes to using the HTML <rtc> tag, I’ve seen a few common mistakes crop up. Let’s delve into these pitfalls so you can sidestep them in your coding journey.

First off, some folks tend to misuse the <rtc> tag as a standalone element. However, it’s crucial to remember that this tag is intended to be used alongside the <rp> and <rt> elements within a ruby annotation. Misusing the <rtc> tag outside of this context can result in improper rendering or even break your code entirely!

Here’s an incorrect example:

<rtc>This is wrong!</rtc>

And here’s how it should be done:

  Base text <rt>Annotation</rt>

Another common mistake I’ve noticed is neglecting to nest other necessary tags within the <rtc> element correctly. For instance, if you’re utilizing multiple ruby base texts and corresponding annotations, each must have its own set of properly nested tags.

Incorrect usage:

  Base text1 
  Base text2
  <rpc>Description for both</rpc></ruby>

Correct usage:

   Base text1 
   <rtc><rpc>Description for first base text/rpc></rtc>

   Base text2 
   <rtc><rpc>Description for second base text/rpc></rtc></ruby>"

The last common mistake I’d like you to avoid is forgetting about browser compatibility. Not all browsers support the use of the <rtc> tag. So, before using it, check out sites like Can I use or MDN web docs to verify compatibility with your target browsers.

Avoiding these mistakes will help you harness the power of ruby annotations effectively and ensure your web pages are displayed as intended!

Conclusion: Mastering the HTML <rtc> Tag

Becoming a pro at using the HTML <rtc> tag doesn’t have to be a daunting task. I’ve learned that it’s all about understanding the basics and then applying them consistently.

To recap, remember that this unique tag is used to provide explanations or annotations for Ruby text. Here’s an example of its usage:

  Base <rt> Annotation </rt>
  <rtc> Explanation </rtc>

One common mistake I’ve noticed is forgetting to include the <rt> element within the <ruby> when using <rtc>. It’s essential as it houses the actual annotation for your base text.

Also, keep in mind these key attributes associated with our star-tag:

Let me assure you, friends, practice makes perfect! The more you use and experiment with the <rtc> tag, the more comfortable you’ll become with it. Don’t shy away from trying different combinations of tags and attributes – there’s no one right way!

In conclusion (and without breaking my own rule against starting sentences this way), mastering HTML tags like <rtc> comes down to both knowledge and application. So keep coding, keep learning!

Cristian G. Guasch

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

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