Understanding ol Tag in HTML

Understanding ol Tag in HTML

4 mins readComment
Esha
Esha Gupta
Associate Senior Executive
Updated on Apr 19, 2024 13:50 IST

Have you ever wondered how to present steps or rank items on a webpage clearly? The <ol> tag in HTML is your solution. It creates an ordered list where each item is automatically numbered, making content like recipes, top ten lists, or procedural instructions organized and easy to follow. Let's understand more!

In HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), tags are the basic building blocks used to create web pages. They are used to define and structure the content of a webpage. In this blog, we will dive deeper into ol tag in HTML.

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Table of Content

 

What is an ol Tag in HTML?

In HTML, the <ol> tag is used to define an ordered list. An ordered list is a collection of items that are numbered with sequential numbers or letters. This contrasts with an unordered list (<ul>), where the list items are marked with bullets, and the order is not important. The <ol> tag also supports different types of numbering styles through the type attribute, such as alphabetical (lowercase or uppercase) or Roman numerals (lowercase or uppercase). The <ol> tag conveys semantic meaning about the content of the list. It tells the browser and assistive technologies that the items in the list are part of an ordered sequence.

Syntax of ol Tag in HTML

<ol>
    <li>First item</li>
    <li>Second item</li>
    <li>Third item</li>
</ol>
In the syntax example above,

  • <ol> marks the beginning of the ordered list.
  • Each item in the list is wrapped in a <li> (list item) tag.
  • </ol> marks the end of the ordered list.

By default, the list items in an ordered list are automatically numbered with Arabic numerals. However, you can change the numbering style using the type attribute, and you can start the list from a number other than 1 using the start attribute. 

Usage of HTML ol Tag with Examples

Let's see some examples showing the usage of the ol tag in HTML.

Example 1: Basic Ordered List

Problem Statement: Create a basic ordered list to display a simple three-step process.


 
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Basic Ordered List</title>
</head>
<body>
<h2>How to Bake a Cake</h2>
<ol>
<li>Preheat the oven.</li>
<li>Mix all ingredients.</li>
<li>Bake for 45 minutes.</li>
</ol>
</body>
</html>
Copy code

Output

 

Example 2: Alphabetical List

Problem Statement: Create an alphabetical list to display a ranking of three items.


 
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Alphabetical Ordered List</title>
</head>
<body>
<h2>Top 3 Favorite Fruits</h2>
<ol type="A">
<li>Apples</li>
<li>Bananas</li>
<li>Cherries</li>
</ol>
</body>
</html>
Copy code

Output

 

Example 3: Roman Numerals

Problem Statement: Use Roman numerals for an ordered list to display historical events.


 
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Roman Numeral Ordered List</title>
</head>
<body>
<h2>Important Historical Events</h2>
<ol type="I">
<li>The Invention of the Wheel</li>
<li>The Renaissance Era</li>
<li>The Industrial Revolution</li>
</ol>
</body>
</html>
Copy code

Output

 

Example 4: Starting from a Different Number

Problem Statement: Create a list of top 5 books, but start the ranking from number 6.


 
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Custom Start Number Ordered List</title>
</head>
<body>
<h2>Top 5 Books (Starting from 6)</h2>
<ol start="6">
<li>1984 by George Orwell</li>
<li>To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee</li>
<li>The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald</li>
<li>Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen</li>
<li>War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy</li>
</ol>
</body>
</html>
Copy code

Output

 

Example 5: Nested Ordered Lists

Problem Statement: Create a nested ordered list to show the sub-steps within a main step.


 
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Nested Ordered List</title>
</head>
<body>
<h2>Recipe for Lemonade</h2>
<ol>
<li>Squeeze Lemons
<ol type="a">
<li>Cut lemons in half</li>
<li>Squeeze each half to extract juice</li>
</ol>
</li>
<li>Add Water and Sugar</li>
<li>Stir and Serve</li>
</ol>
</body>
</html>
Copy code

Output

 

 

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Key Takeaways

  • The <ol> tag in HTML creates ordered lists where items are automatically numbered in sequence, which is useful for steps or rankings.

  • List items within <ol> are marked with <li> tags and can be styled with numbers, letters, or Roman numerals.

  • <ol> supports nested lists, allowing for hierarchical structures like subpoints under main points.

  • The start and type attributes of <ol> enable customization of the list's starting point and numbering style.

  • The <ol> tag improves web accessibility, as screen readers can interpret the list order, enhancing navigation for visually impaired users.

FAQs

What is an ol tag?

The ol tag in HTML is used for creating ordered lists. These are lists where each item is numbered or lettered, indicating a particular sequence or order.

How do you create a list item in an ol?

To create a list item within an ol tag, you use the li tag. Each li tag you add inside an ol tag becomes a new item in the ordered list.

Can you change the numbering type in an ol?

Yes, you can change the numbering type in an ol tag by using the type attribute. This attribute allows you to choose different styles of numbering, such as uppercase letters, lowercase letters, or Roman numerals.

Is it possible to start the list from a number other than 1?

Yes, the ol tag supports the start attribute, which lets you specify a different starting number for your list. For example, if you set start to 4, the list will begin numbering from 4.

Can you nest ol tags within each other?

Nesting ol tags is possible and is used to create sub-lists. Each nested ol tag starts its own separate sequence, allowing for multi-level ordered lists.

About the Author
author-image
Esha Gupta
Associate Senior Executive

Hello, world! I'm Esha Gupta, your go-to Technical Content Developer focusing on Java, Data Structures and Algorithms, and Front End Development. Alongside these specialities, I have a zest for immersing myself in v... Read Full Bio