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HTML is a just a simple programming language. The letters "HTML" are an acronym for HyperText Markup Language. Web pages are built using special HTML "tags" that instruct a browser how to display the information a webmaster wants to present.

A basic HTML tag is made up of three parts, two container brackets and an HTML element. Here's an example:

The containers are the left arrow bracket and the right arrow bracket. The HTML element is placed inside the containers—hey, I'll bet that's why they call them containers!

The code in red shown above represents the HTML paragraph element. When placed between two lines of text, that tag tells the browser to leave a blank line between the text before the tag and the text after the tag. Simple!

Paragraph tags are what separate this paragraph from the paragraph above and the paragraph below as you see them displayed on the web page.

As you can see, the HTML tags don't show up on the web page where you can see them, they are hidden in the page's source code.

If you click View on your browser's menu bar, you'll see an item called View Source or Page Source or something similar, depending on your browser. If you click View Source or whatever verbiage your browser uses, you'll see the source code for this web page.

If you looked at the source code for this page just now, don't be intimidated by the seeming complexity. Pages do not have to be as complex as this one, and this one only appears difficult to understand because you are not familiar with HTML yet.

Most HTML tags also have a closing tag. The closing tag tells the browser the previous element is cancelled. Here's how to close the paragraph tag:

As you can see, it's the same tag, only it has a forward slash in front of the letter "p" in the tag. The forward slash cancels the HTML tag.

Here are two more tag examples to show you how easy HTML is:

<b> ...the bold element, renders text in bold type.
<i> ...the italic element, renders text in italic type.
There are only a few tags that are required to make a web page, but the more you learn the more you can do. Actually, you don't even have to memorize them, you just need to know where to find them as needed and you'll learn them effortlessly as you use them. You'll find all the HTML tutorials you need to get started with my Website Design Tutorials.

Have fun with it!

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