What Is an HTML Icon?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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An HTML icon is a small image that can be coded with hypertext markup language, or HTML, into a web page or browser setup. Markup languages like HTML allow for icons in various parts of a web site that often identify the source of a page or project. One common type of HTML icon is known as a favicon, or a website icon. This type of icon shows up on the browser’s address bar and in a list of bookmarks.

HTML icons can be built in various sizes. The standard for some common types of icons is 16 x 16 pixels. These generally are not high-resolution images, but small stylized images that show a simple logo representing the company or party maintaining a particular web site.

Users of HTML icons benefit from a process called standardization, which establishes how web icons are included in web projects. This sort of standard is administered by the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C, an organization responsible for maintaining a wide range of standards for HTML. The standard for HTML icons includes a link element in a specific part of an HTML document to designate the inclusion of an HTML icon.


Different kinds of browser implementation are used with HTML icons. Some browsers will take only specific kinds of image file formats. Specific sizing is also an issue. HTML icon instances come in many forms, including .jpg, .gif, or other file formats.

Developers trying to include HTML icons in a set of web pages must explore whether there are new innovative solutions for implementing these small items. The W3C establishes that a link element needs to be added to every web page, rather than being globally assigned. Specific standards for these icons can change according to the devices and browsers of the target audience.

In addition to icons that are added to represent web sources, some other kinds of HTML icons simply represent HTML elements. One example is an HTML sound icon. It usually features a small speaker cone image, and represents sound elements on a web page.

Some elements that are similar to HTML icons are sometimes called character entities. These are items that don’t fit into standard text. HTML has made provisions for these symbols. They may be used in ways that are similar to the uses of some types of HTLM icons.


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