Proposed HTML Icon Entity Names
This is a proposed list of standard ISO/WWW icon entity names
for an extension to RFC 1866.
This list was originally obtained from
which credited Bert Bos and Kevin Hughes with constructing the original list.
It has been updated by access to the proposal by Bert Bos at
and the downloading of his example icon images.
This proposal is intended to define a set of entity names
that will be locally known
by the browser and displayed as an appropriate small icon,
though possibly rendered differently on different browsers.
The descriptions of the entities come from that proposal.
The proposal states that these icon images are in the public domain.
The definition line has three parts,
If the icon entity name is duplicated on the definition line, then your
browser does not recognize that icon entity name.
- an attempt to use the element which may not be recognized by your brower,
- the name of the element, which the proposal would now consider a reserved word, and
- an example from an
.xbm image, whose exact form is still subject to discussion
Primary Proposed Elements
- archive server
A collection of (related) documents, that can be
manipulated as a single unit. When it is used in a link, it
retrieves either the whole archive or its table of contents.
Example: Tar files, Zip files, database files.
- audio sequence
A sound fragment, such as a piece of music or speech. When
used in a link, it will play the sound. Example:
links to audio files in Gopher menus; the current time in a
- binary data
A document that contains data that is unreadable by humans,
and of which the precise type is not known or not important.
When used in a link, the data is downloaded, but not
displayed. Example: binary files in Gopher menus.
- binhex format
A document that is encoded in Macintosh hexadecimal coding.
Hopefully this symbol can be phased out in the future, as
servers and client become smarter, since this is not
information that normal users are interested in.
Example: Binhex files in Gopher menus.
This symbol should give access to some sort of interactive
calculator. Example: a calculator could be included
in a form to allow people to do some computations before they
fill in the requested numbers.
- warning sign
Draws attention to an important piece of information. It is
normally not used in a link. Example: "Warning: the
next video fragment contains scenes of extreme cruelty."
- A clock
A clock should give access to the current time or to the
elapsed time since some event. Example: selecting the
clock returns the simulated time in a multi-user strategy game.
- compressed document
A file that is compressed with compress,
gzip, or equivalent utilities. Normally part of a
link to such a file. Example: a compressed file in an
- removable media type
Gives access to whatever disk is in the indicated drive.
The fact that it is removable means that the contents can
change or may be absent altogether. Example: a link
to the disk on the machine of a colleague.
- floppy disk
Represents a collection of files stored on a floppy disk.
In contrast to the &disk.drive; above, this is a specific
disk. Usually, access is slow. Example: a disk in a
jukebox, a disk in a mail-order catalogue.
- A computer screen
The computers display as an output device. Could be used
together with the fax and the printer to let the user select
where he want something to be printed. Example: when
a document is available in different resolutions, the display
symbol indicates that one of them version is suitable for
- unspecified document type
Some document, the exact type of which is unimportant
(contrast this with &unknown.document; below).
Example: a directory listing showing files and
subdirectories (folders); a list of titles of articles, with
document symbols replacing bullet marks.
- facsimile machine
A fax machine as an output device. Like the display and
printer symbols, this can be used to indicate the destination
of some output. Example: forwarding a message to
somebody without an e-mail address can be done by selecting
the fax symbol and entering a phone number.
- filing cabinet
A container for documents and folders. It is usually larger
than a folder, and the contents are more divers.
Example: a link to an FTP server.
- film or animation, such as MPEG movie
A timed sequence of images, optionally with a sound track,
such as a video sequence, a computer animation, a slide show,
or a live video link. Example: a video clip on a CD-I.
- fixed media drive
Either a container for folders and documents, or the
destination of some data. In the first case, there must be a
reason why the device is important (and therefore why the
symbols for folder or filing cabinet are not applicable).
Example: a link to the local files on the user"s own
- folder or directory
A container for documents and maybe other folders. As part
of a link, it should retrieve a listing of the folder"s
contents. Example: a gopher menu, a directory.
- fill-out form
Gives access to a fill-out form, normally coded as an HTML
document. Example: links to different types of tax
- ftp server
Represents a connection using the FTP protocol, when for
some reason it is important that the user is aware of the
server"s type. Example: information that is available
over a number of channels, one of which is an FTP connection.
- glossary of terms, etc.
Gives access to a glossary of terms. Example: a
link to a technical dictionary.
- gopher server
A connection using the Gopher protocol. Example:
an information provider might list alternative addresses,
indicating with the gopher symbol that some of them are Gopher
- home document
Represents the "home page" of a collection of related
nodes (not necessarily the user"s own home page). Normally
part of a hyperlink. Example: each node in somebody"s
personal collection could contain a link to his "Welcome"
- photograph, drawing or graphic
of any kind
Represents a photograph, drawing, etc. When used in a link,
it retrieves the image and displays it. Example: a
link of type I in a Gopher menu; a "submit" button in a
form that sets image parameters.
- searchable index
Represents an interactive index. When used in a link, it
gives access to a searchable document, which allows at least
keywords to be entered. Example: a link to a WAIS
index over some collection of documents; a link of type 7 in a
- e-mail messages
Represents either a single mail message or the mail
sub-system. If the context is clear, it can also be used as a
label in front of someone"s address (cf. the telephone
symbol). As part of a hyperlink, it respectively retrieves
that message or starts a (possibly integrated) mail agent.
Example: in a view of a mailbox, each message can be
prefixed with a mail icon.
- mail-in tray
A special mail folder (viz. the one in which the mail
system deposits new messages). As a hyperlink, it displays the
contents of the folder, in the form of an index.
- mail-out tray
A special mail folder (viz. the one in which the user
stores messages that are to be sent out). Note that this is
not the folder that keeps copies of messages that
have been sent. Example: a link to a special
directory in which the user"s composed messages are collected,
until he exits the mail system (at which point the messages
are sent and the directory is emptied.)
- geographical or schematic map
A document that consists of a map of some kind. In a link,
it retrieves the map and displays it. Example: a road
map with instructions how to reach some building; a schematic
representation of some production process.
- mouse/pointing device
The mouse as an input device. Example: label in
front of instructions that are only applicable if you have a
- next document in current sequence
The next document of a collection that is meant to be read
in order. Example: each chapter of a book could end
with a link to the next chapter.
- notes or annotations
Indicates the presence of notes or annotations, presumably
related to the context of the icon. When part of a link, it
displays the notes. Example: an annotated classical
text linking the commentary by means of symbols in the margin.
- parent of current document
In a more or less hierarchical collection of nodes, this
represents the parent of the current node. Should be used as a
link to that node. Example: a link to the parent
directory of an FTP directory.
- previous document in current sequence
The previous document of a collection that is meant to be
read in order. Example: each chapter of a book could
start with a link to the previous chapter.
- hardcopy device
A printer as an output device.
A summary of a document or of a collection of documents. In
a link, it retrieves the text of the summary.
Example: the table of contents of a book could
include a link to a summary.
- telnet connection
A terminal-based connection to some service, using the
Telnet protocol. When part of a link, it should start a
terminal-emulator and a telnet connection to the indicated
service. Example: a link to a library"s on-line
catalogue that still uses its own user-interface.
- text/plain, html, etc.
A document containing primarily text. This includes text
with markup instructions, if the browser is (expected to be)
able to interpret them. A part of a link, it will retrieve and
display the document. Example: a plain text file, an
HTML document, a TeX DVI file.
- tn3270 terminal session
A terminal-based connection to some service, that requires
a TN3270 terminal (-emulator) to work (cf. the telnet symbol).
When part of a link, it should start a terminal-emulator and a
telnet connection to the indicated service. Example:
a link to a database manager running on an IBM mainframe.
- table of contents
A table of contents over one or more documents. As a link,
it should display the table of contents associated with the
current document. Example: each chapter of a
hyper-book could start with a link to the book"s table of
- waste paper basket
- unrecognised document type
- uuencoded data
Additional Proposed Elements
- CD ROM
A collection of documents contained on a read-only CD,
including music CDs. (cf. the fixed disk, disk drive, and
An interactive session with a CD-I.
- keyboard device
The keyboard as an input device
- a computer network
- a Postscript document
- a sad smiley face
Used as a postfix adverb, meaning "unfortunately", etc.
- a smiley face
Used as postfix adjective/adverb,
meaning "for fun", "ironic", "half-serious", etc.
- error sign
A more severe warning then the &caution; symbol.
- telephone number
Next to a number, it indicates that the number represents a
telephone number (cf. the third meaning of the mail symbol).
Netscape 1.1 Internal Icons
The following icons are recognized as internal to most versions of
the Netscape browser. Rather than using an entity name, the browser
recognizes certain image SRC values as being known internally and
not requiring a network fetch to obtain the image. They may be displayed
by using the HTML command:
All currently identified examples follow. If you get the "unknown
image" icon for all images, then your browser does not recognize
these internal names.
Last modified: 7 Dec 1995
Michael J. Hannah
Sandia National Laboratories