Changing the Size of Text

The big and small tags change the relative size of a given word or phrase with respect to the surrounding text.

To make the text bigger or smaller than the surrounding text:


Type <big> or <small>.


Type the text that should be bigger or smaller.


Type </big> or </small> depending on the tag used in step 1.

Figure 4.4. The big and small tags are a fast and easy way to make text stand out.

Figure 4.5. The big and small elements enjoy wide support. They have identical effects in most browsers. (This is Internet Explorer 7 for Windows.)


  • Of course, "big" and "small" are relative, and the specifications do not dictate just how much bigger or smaller browsers are supposed to make the text. In general, they stick to typical font sizes, like 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 24, 36, and 48, moving one step up or down the ladder depending on the element used. The default size for most browsers is 16px.

  • Although the big and small tags have not been deprecated in (X)HTML, you may still want to use style sheets in order to have more control over the size of the text. For more information, consult Setting the Font Size on page 156.

  • Both the big and small tags have a cumulative effect if used more than once. So <small><small>teensy text</small> </small> would be two sizes smaller than surrounding text.

HTML, XHTML, & CSS(c) Visual QuickStart Guide
HTML, XHTML, and CSS, Sixth Edition
ISBN: 0321430840
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 340

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