HTML5 <canvas> Tag

Topic: HTML5 Tags ReferencePrev|Next


The <canvas> element defines a region in the document, which can be used to draw graphics on the fly via scripting (usually JavaScript). For example, it can be used to draw path and shapes, graphs or even perform animations.

The following table summarizes the usages context and the version history of this tag.

Placement: Inline
Content: Inline, and text
Start/End Tag: Start tag: required, End tag: required
Version: New in HTML5


The basic syntax of the <canvas> tag is given with:

HTML / XHTML: <canvas> ... </canvas>

The example below shows the <canvas> tag in action.

<canvas id="myCanvas" width="300" height="200"></canvas>
<script type="text/javascript">
    window.onload = function(){
        var canvas = document.getElementById("myCanvas");
        var context = canvas.getContext("2d");
        context.moveTo(50, 150);
        context.lineTo(250, 50);

Note: You may (and should) provide alternate content inside the canvas element. That content will be rendered both on older browsers that don't support canvas and in browsers with JavaScript disabled.

Tag-Specific Attributes

The following table shows the attributes that are specific to the <canvas> tag.

Attribute Value Description
width pixels Sets the width of the canvas.
height pixels Sets the height of the canvas.

Global Attributes

Like all other HTML tags, the <canvas> tag supports the global attributes in HTML5.

Event Attributes

The <canvas> tag also supports the event attributes in HTML5.

Browser Compatibility

The <canvas> tag is supported in all major modern browsers.

Browsers Icon

Basic Support—

  • Firefox 2+
  • Google Chrome 4+
  • Internet Explorer 9+
  • Apple Safari 3.1+
  • Opera 9+

Further Reading

See tutorial on: HTML5 Canvas.

Related tags: <script>.

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