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This video is part of a free online course from Microsoft Virtual Academy, click here to view the full course and take advantage of many additional features such as assessments, slides, learning plans and more.

Working with Paragraphs and Text - 05

48 minutes, 58 seconds


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In this lesson, Bob discusses the various semantic meanings of popular HTML5 inline tags useful for marking up text inside of paragraphs, including b, i, small, em, mark, span, and much more.

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  • Thanks Bob, really useful explanation of differences between older version of HTML elements and the new HTML5. I like a lot that the tags in HTML5 are referring to the actual semantic meaning of the content and the presentation of the content is done from CSS completely.   

  • pipopipo

    Why all of this videos are here instead of being in learnvisualstudio.com?? For all of us who paid long ago for that suscription it's been months since we've seen any new material.

  • @pipo: Hi pipo ... I'm waiting for VS2012 to drop.  No need recording videos in 2010 or 2012 beta when the full version will drop in about 10 days. Here's hoping that you felt like what little I charge was well worth the 150+ hours I provide.  If not, I'm really sorry and I would be happy to refund.  Contact me on that site and submit a ticket and we'll go from there.  Best wishes!

  • Great intro Bob - as usual clear and concise. Just one comment - the anchor tag's name attribute is obsolete in HTML5, but you can instead link to any tag with an id attribute. In this case, put id="bottom" on the h1 element. This is in keeping with the semantic aims of HTML5 - a named anchor tag is an artificial element which adds no additional meaning to the document.

  • @grahama: You are absolutely correct.  Thank you for the correction.  It is a challenge keeping up with what's in and what's out. For those catching up to this conversation, check this out:


  • Rafael OliveiraRafael Oliveira

    Great tutorials, I'm starting learning html5, and you make me feel more confortable with all that stuff. I really wanna thank you for this awesome contribution. ;)

  • I'm enjoying the tutorials, the activities do help make the concepts stick and also giving a feeling of achievement. As an absolute beginner lesson 5 has left me a bit confused as to how to use the ID attribute, particulalry with regard to using it as a way to target a specific element for CSS styling. Should I be concerned about this at this stage or will all become clear as we move on through the tutorials and get to the CSS tutorials?

  • You'll be glad to know I've worked it out Wink




  • PhilPhil

    I am an American.
    I am sitting in my apartment in China.
    I am three months into running my own business.
    I am muttling through building my own website now.
    All I have ever written is a picture website in HTML years ago.
    There is more that I don't know then what I do.
    Thanks so much.

  • Hey Bob,

    Your videos are amazingly detailed and are the best beginners videos on  HTML5!!

    I know its the best way to code, but then after completing this series, I'll end up hating notepad for sure.

    I am also interested in knowing if there will any intermediate or advanced series. (I'll be waiting for it!!)

    The other thing that I don't like(because I speak British English) is that you pronounce "often" as AWF-tin!! At first it was a bit odd for me but then its okay. But still sometimes it is comedic for me!!

    That's all I have to say!! Keep up the good work!! And thank you so much!!

  • BlaineBlaine

    First of all.
    Holy smokes thank you Bob. It really is people like you. Willing to give so freely of themselves and their knowledge that pushes us forward. The legions of people you are empowering thank you. Overdone? maybe. But sincere none the less.

    I'm sure ima get smacked in the mouth for this but. My question is...

    I can't help but notice that an awful lot of these things do or at least from the viewers point of view appear to do the same as other commands. I know you are all about semantics, but if you are looking at a heavy work load. Wouldn't it be easier just to use a uniform approach to this stuff? Specifically the <cite></cite> appears to simply be italicized print. And, when copying the text in the example for <s></s> it appears on the browser to simply be a strikethrough.

  • BlaineBlaine

    Forgot to add to previous post.

    It seems to me that all in all the end goal is that the viewer has the most pleasing experience with your page as is possible. And bearing in mind I have exactly 5 lessons with you worth of experience. Wouldn't the simplest approach be to have italics be italics and strikethrough's be strikethrough's and strong be strong? Regardless of how the code looks as long as it is easy for the author to go through and visually satisfying to the viewer?

    Realize this is pretty long and its been awhile. But this isn't the first time i have wondered this. And you appear to be <strong>VERY</strong> knowledgeable about it.


  • @Blaine: Hey Blaine, wow ... thanks for the nice words!!!

    Frankly, you can do (and many do) exactly what you suggest.  But do you honestly think they would let me teach you the down-and-dirty way on Microsoft's web site?  Wink

    Seriously though, if you're learning, why not learn the correct WEB STANDARDS way.  These standards are there to ensure that everyone's experience is the same, regardless of browser vendor, device, etc.  Sure, in IE9 or 10, <cite> may be rendered a particular way, but you can't always depend on its appearance.  Furthermore, this is more than just how things look -- we don't know what's coming tomorrow.  If there's a search engine for <cite>s, don't you want your content to be included in it?  (Bad example, but the idea is -- keep it semantically correct, don't worry about appearance -- that's what CSS is for ... you'll get to that soon!).  If you take shortcuts, you may be limiting yourself, your client, your user in the future.  I would recommend at least taking a stab at doing it "the right way" first.  When you can't achieve something semantically correct then I would give you a little wiggle room to try something different.

    Have I converted you yet?  Big Smile

  • BlaineBlaine

    I do believe I am now a faithful. Hadn't thought of what the future may bring. Thanks for replying.

  • LanaLana

    Hello Bob.
    I understand that I can Always choose later how certain tags will look like with CSS, but will semantical tags like <s> for example or <strong> be in any way styled by default (like h1 for e.g.. is already bigger by default).

  • @Lana: Absolutely ... most HTML5 elements are rendered by the browser using a default style sheet.  HOWEVER (!!!) each vendor's style sheet may be different!!!  I can't stress this enough.  For some layouts / pages, the nuanced differences will be negligible and acceptable.  For other layouts, it could be devastating.  Near the end of this lesson, I'll recommend a few CSS Frameworks that even out the rough spots -- they equalize most popular web browsers so that you can a more consistent experience across many vendor browsers.  My advice: never depend on the defaults, especially if you are pursuing a very specific layout you have in mind.  You will be disappointed when someone reports that the formatting of the page is weird (this has happened to mer personally more times than I like to admit).

  • Hi Bob

    Thanks for all the great work you did 

    I checked your website and found that most of the videos in C# and I am  interested  in getting more advanced training in VB 2010/2012. I am interested in videos like Entity Framework, LINQ , ADO.NET do you have or planing in posting some VB 2012 videos in your websites? please advise


  • @Moyacoub: In 2013 I will be creating that content in VB.  Keep checking back!

  • Mr Bob Tabor can you please recommend some books or site with pdf files with this same subject.  Also thank you very much for this high quality e learning  site.

    Muito Obrigado!

    Marco Santos

  • @marcosantos: See the very last video in this series where I give you recommendations for my favorite books.  Smiley

  • @BobTabor:Hello Sir, I want to become a programmer. Can U please guide me. Smiley
    I am in B.Tech 3rd Year, CSE.

  • @Purva_Hattekar: That's what I do ... how can I help you?

  • AliAli

    Hi Mr BobTabor
    Awesome tutorials for Beginners. . I was not familiar with even html but now you tutorials guiding me in a right track . . .
    I have a some doubt in mind,if I using a title of a book which is in quotes then which element shall I use ? Cite ? q ? or both ?


  • @Ali: Does this help?  (See the section titled "Changes in HTML5" near the bottom):


  • AliAli

    Hmm . Thanks a alot .

  • AwesomeAwesome

    Hey Bob,can u post the link in the comments section ?? www.w3.org/TR.....??

  • kamrankamran

    Thank you Sir, i really like your tutorials and learning great.
    Lesson number 3 was very comprehensive.
    Please explain some some of the styles which are very important. such as
    overflow:hidden . i am watching lesson number 5 for now.
    my objective is to learn html and Css and thus design my blog the way i want -> <a href="http://TrixKing.blogspot.com">My Blog</a>

  • @kamran: This article seems to have some background good info related to overflow:hidden and why we need it ...


  • GilbertGilbert

    BOB you are great!!!!! thanks alot

  • Cody K MercerCody K Mercer

    Previous to starting this tutorial series I "thought" I knew how to design webpages. Halfway through video 1 I was very skeptical. Starting video 2 I even more skeptical, doubtful that I would actually learn anything.

    Now, I am about to begin video 5, and I am very pleased to say I am hooked. You have convinced me that you are, indeed, very knowledgable, and I have no doubt that following you serie(s) will be very beneficial to me.

    You are very humble, precise, and your lesson structure is excellent. Thank you very much to your contribution to the community. "Absolute Beginner" might be "selling yourself short." After finishing series I will absolutely be visiting your other works.

    You are a blessing!

  • @Cody K Mercer: Wow, thanks for the nice things you said.  Made my day.  Glad the videos are helpful for you.  Hope you continue to feel they're worthwhile!

  • DHCPeteDHCPete

    My 9yr old daughter wanted to present her homework as a web page after a fellow student did. And so the homework wars began! I said we could start building her a site and we've been using these recordings along-side VS Express 2012 Web to show her how she can do this both in text editors and graphically and so I can stress the importance (and difference) of content v. layout and HTML v. CSS. Might as well start teaching best practice ;-) Now, I'm an MS Configuration Manager guy and she's a complete noob. I understand this stuff (I said understand, not know!) and she's starting from scratch. I have to say, the videos are clean, precise, methodical and well presented. There's little that without a small bit of fatherly explanation and analogy that she's not understood.

    Who knows where this will lead to? Well done, Sir. :-)

  • @DHCPete: A tip of the hat to you.  As the father of a recent high school graduate who will soon be leaving for college I can tell you exactly what this will lead to ... this one-on-one time is first and foremost great dad-and-daughter time.  And beyond that, the rest will take care of itself.  Keep it light, keep it fun and soak it all up, my friend.  It goes by way too fast.  Sad

  • Manuel from Puerto RicoManuel from Puerto Rico

    Bob, As always your presentation style is bar none. I have learned so much in such a short time. I have been looking at the comments after the videos and have learned even more from the others that have seen the videos. I was starting video 6 when I noticed there are no comments. Were these deleted? Sincerely hope the other videos have comments since they give support to the videos and to your skill in teaching. Looking forward to your comments. Manuel

  • @Manuel from Puerto Rico: Thanks for the heads up ... after 30 days of inactivity the comments will automatically lock.  I've asked Channel9 to remove this feature, at least for this series, however they don't have the functionality to restrict that feature on a per series basis.  So, every once in a while some threads get locked and I have to unlock them manually by writing a comment.  So, I need to go and do that now.  Again, thanks for calling this to my attention.

  • Ruud KuinRuud Kuin

    Hi Bob,

    In this lesson you cover the differences between <p> and <br>, would it be correct to see <p> as a hard return and <br> as a soft return?

    Best regards, Ruud

  • @Ruud Kuin: Hi Ruud, hope all is well.  Yes, perhaps that is a good way to think about it.  Keep in mind, the CSS is what gives the visual quality to the breaks ... the HTML provides the semantic meaning.  It is possible to add CSS to make the line break look like a paragraph, and vice versa (I have no idea why you would want that ... but it can be done.)

  • MphatheleniMphatheleni


  • Adobe dreamweaver ?Should i use for easy

  • What's on your back of your computer on the corner of your head?

  • I love Bob's approach to this series. While other courses often take some time to deal with semantics, he did so from the get-go and has covered some other stuff on top of this. I would like to thank Bob for creating these tutorials. I still have a way to go before I am finished the series, but its great having some of those questions I'd been left with after a previous course answered so early in this series. 

    Just in case anyone is interested, I am using Aptana Studio for my web creation. I've tried using Notepad++ but found myself a little jealous of folks with products such as Adobe Dreamweaver. Its a free cross-platform product that is panning out nicely so far. There are a few other programs out there as well. I plan on giving Maya, WDL Website Builder 4 and Brackets a go soon as well to compare them with my current choice. 

  • @keikomushi: Awesome feedback.  Thank you.  I'd love to ask which courses you've taken, but I suppose that wouldn't be polite (for their sake)  Smiley  Anywho, glad this course helped fill in a few gaps.  Best wishes to you!

  • Mister Bob Tabor i wanna thank you allot for your lessons.

    I was studying programmer in early 2000. After some years that i worked as data entry/end user i can say that i had lost contact with everything, so i deside to strart from scratch once again Thank you allot because i feel that my mind is revived and i feel start thinking again as a programmer/analyst.

    P.S. i cant understand the use of <span> and <ruby>

    I m sorry about my pure English.

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

     @ThanosKokkalis: Ruby annotations are used for East Asian typography http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_ruby.asp

    spans are typically used to provide a hook into a paragraph.  http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_span.asp 

  • @Clint: 2 thumbs up!!! Wink

  • excellent tutorials - many thxs!  per yr 12/12/12 (2:20pm) comment  r u still looking to provide VB tutorials?

  • @efbolton: You mean these?  http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/Visual-Basic-Development-for-Absolute-Beginners

  • @BobTabor: those r interesting (thx u!) but like moyacoub (ref his comment dec 12 2012 at 11:03am & below) I was looking for more advanced incl mvc 5 & windows 8 apps. i noticed that ms no longer has a cert path for vb so fear that it may b a short time b4 its deprecated in lieu of c#. also do u plan to provide more content on yr other website learnvisualstudio.net ?  fee seems INCREDIBLY reasonable!  KUDOS AGAIN ON YR GREAT WORK HERE!


    Hi Bob Thanks for all the great work you did

    I checked your website and found that most of the videos in C# and I am  interested  in getting more advanced training in VB 2010/2012. I am interested in videos like Entity Framework, LINQ , ADO.NET do you have or planing in posting some VB 2012 videos in your websites? please advise

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    @efbolton: VB isn't deprecated.  For Windows 8, there are over 100 VB samples on dev.windows.com.  http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/windowsapps/site/search?f%5B0%5D.Type=ProgrammingLanguage&f%5B0%5D.Value=VB&f%5B0%5D.Text=VB.NET

    Channel 9 even created a fundamental series + windows 8 development with VB for absolute beginners.

  • WendyWendy

    Thanks Bob, its obvious that you have complete mastery yet, you teach at such a basic level that I, completely new to the subject matter can grasp this easily. Great communication skills! I have tried programming classes before and have always been lost after the first hour because instructors can't seem to teach without assuming preexisting knowledge from their students. The way you define and explain from the ground up, makes me think I can really learn this.

  • @Clint: appreciate the link  thxs! hope yr right on vb -i've been loyal to ms all the way back to when the choice was qb45 vs turbo (now power) basic!

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    @efbolton: the next generation compiler [Codenamed Roslyn] supports VB.  http://blogs.msdn.com/b/vbteam/archive/2013/12/16/throwing-the-big-switch-on-roslyn-matt-gertz-vs-managed-languages-development-manager.aspx

    Without a doubt, you'll have to learn to read C# since a lot of community samples are in c# but VB is supported.

  • @Wendy: You *can* learn this and much more ... if you've gotten this far, the hard part is behind you!  It's just a simple (albeit tedious) matter of adding more details.  When I got started in programming, I had to learn to stick with problems longer than I was used to.  There are some geniuses out there (like @Clint) that can pick things up incredibly fast.  I *wasn't* one of those people when I first started, but the more you learn the more you have to compare new ideas to ... "Oh, I see ... it's just like this other thing I already know, with this one twist."  Keep pushing forward even if it's only an inch at a time ... you're building momentum by taking daily baby steps.  Good luck!

  • A lot of thanks sir bobTabor ...its very helpful for me...sir what is email id  .........|-)

  • anasanas

    heads off sir bob

    thanks for supporting us

  • Anna JohnstoneRandom​Tangents Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

    http://www.w3.org/standards/semanticweb/ is this the place you meant?

  • Saikat DasSaikat Das

    Hi Bob,
    Two things I noticed and pondered while watching this video -

    1) The "../" takes us up one folder level and not to the parent folder as you mentioned. This is congruent with the "cd .." command that is used in cmd while traversing folder levels.

    2) This is a doubt that's been bugging me. Which tags must absolutely have the </tag_name> ending and which tags can do without it? I noticed <br> doesnt require it and neither does <a name="some_name">. Is there a way to easily identify between the two types?

    Thanks for all the help and inspiration. Been an avid follower of your courses ever since I watched you C# Fundamentals - Development for Absolute Beginners

  • Saikat DasSaikat Das

    Hey Bob,

    It's me again. I just realised that when you say parent, you mean its immediate parent, and not some global parent thing, which was what I'd first inferred. My bad!
    Be grateful, if you'd answer my second question though.

    Thanks again. :-)

  • @Saikat Das: re #2: I found this interesting ... http://tiffanybbrown.com/2011/03/23/html5-does-not-allow-self-closing-tags/

  • Saikat DasSaikat Das

    Hey Bob,

    So I went through the article that you provided and basically what I got out of it is that self closing tags are parsed by an HTML5 capable browser and it inserts the closing tags itself as it deems necessary but the self-closing of the tag itself doesnt have any utility.

    However, my question was whether there's a definitive rule as to which tags should absolutely and necessarily be closed and which can do without. Though, after having gone through the article a few times, my understanding is that void HTML elements don't require to be closed with a closing tag. All other tags need to be closed with a closing tags.

    I'd appreciate your comments on the above inference.

    Thanks Bob.

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