HTML and CSS Reference
6.1. Hypertext Basics
A fundamental feature of hypertext is that you can hyperlink documents;
you can point to another place inside the current document, inside an-
other document in the local collection, or inside a document anywhere
on the Internet. The documents become an intricately woven web of in-
formation. (Get the name analogy now?) The target document usually is
somehow related to and enriches the source; the linking element in the
source should convey that relationship to the reader.
You can use hyperlinks for all kinds of effects. You can use them inside
tables of contents and lists of topics. With a click of the mouse on their
browser screen or a press of a key on their keyboard, readers select and
automatically jump to a topic of interest in the same document or to
another document located in an entirely different collection somewhere
around the world.
Hyperlinks also point readers to more information about a mentioned
topic. "For more information, see Kumquats on Parade," for example.
Authors use hyperlinks to reduce repetitive information. For instance, we
recommend you sign your name to each document. Instead of includ-
ing full contact information in each document, you can use a hyperlink
to connect your name to a single document that contains your address,
phone number, and so forth.
A hyperlink, or anchor in standard parlance, is marked by the <a> tag
and comes in two flavors. As we describe in detail later, one type of an-
chor creates a hotspot in the document that, when activated and selec-
ted (usually with a mouse) by the user, causes the browser to link. It
automatically loads and displays another portion of the same or another
document or triggers some Internet service-related action, such as send-
ing email or downloading a special file. The other type of anchor creates
a label, a place in a document that can be referenced as a hyperlink. [*]
[*] Both types of anchors use the same tag; perhaps that's why they have the same name. We find it's
easier if you differentiate them and think of the type that provides the hotspot and address of a hyperlink
as the "link" and the type that marks the target portion of a document as the "anchor."