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What is an Unordered List?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An unordered list is a list of items on a webpage, created by using the <UL> element. When an ordered list is displayed, it shows up as a list of items marked by bullet points. People can use unordered lists to organize a variety of items so that they can be conveniently viewed by users of a website. In addition to unordered lists, people can also make ordered lists, which are identified with numbers rather than bullet points, and definition lists.

To make an unordered list, people need to enclose the list with the <UL> element, and identify each item in the list with the <LI> element. The list can be as long as the user wishes to make it, and the appearance of the list can be styled directly with HTML tags for things like bolding or underlining, or through a CSS stylesheet. People can also use CSS to change the appearance of the bullets in the list, if they dislike the generic bullets which normally appear alongside an unordered list.

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Unordered lists can be useful for a number of applications, as they help information stand out from the page. Many people like to summarize information in an ordered list; for example, someone could make an unordered list covering the key topics in an article at the top of a page, so that someone could see at a glance what the article was about, and choose to explore the article to learn more. Making an ordered list also relieves people of the difficulties which can be involved in trying to code the appearance of a list by hand with cumbersome HTML tags.

Here's an example of how to code an unordered list:

<ul> <li>Bread</li> <li>Eggs</li> <li>Milk</li> </ul>

This list would appear on a web page like this:

  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Milk

If the items in the list needed to be numbered, it could be turned into an ordered list by using the <OL> element. People can also create nested unordered lists by making an unordered list inside an ordered list, like this:

<ol> <li>Bread</li> <ul> <li>English Muffins</li> <li>Baguettes</li> </ul> <li>Eggs</li> <li>Milk</li> </ol>

Several blogging platforms and software programs which allow people to make web pages have an unordered list option in the form of a button which people can click to start an unordered list. People can see how the function works by making the unordered list, and then switching to an HTML view of the page, where they will be able to see the various items in the list and the HTML elements which are used to identify them.

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