HTML Icons

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,

  1. an attempt to use the element which may not be recognized by your brower,
  2. the name of the element, which the proposal would now consider a reserved word, and
  3. an example from an .xbm image, whose exact form is still subject to discussion
If the icon entity name is duplicated on the definition line, then your browser does not recognize that icon entity name.

Primary Proposed Elements

&archive; &archive;
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; &audio;
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 synthesized voice.
&binary.document; &binary.document;
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.document; &binhex.document;
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.
&calculator; &calculator;
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.
&caution; &caution;
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."
&clock; &clock;
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; &compressed.document;
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 FTP directory.
&; &;
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.
&diskette; &diskette;
floppy disk
Represents a collection of files stored on a floppy disk. In contrast to the &; above, this is a specific disk. Usually, access is slow. Example: a disk in a jukebox, a disk in a mail-order catalogue.
&display; &display;
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 computer screens.
&document; &document;
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.
&fax; &fax;
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; &filing.cabinet;
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; &film;
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.disk; &fixed.disk;
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 machine.
&folder; &folder;
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.
&form; &form;
fill-out form
Gives access to a fill-out form, normally coded as an HTML document. Example: links to different types of tax forms.
&ftp; &ftp;
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; &glossary;
glossary of terms, etc.
Gives access to a glossary of terms. Example: a link to a technical dictionary.
&gopher; &gopher;
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 connections.
&home; &home;
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" page.
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.
&index; &index;
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 Gopher menu.
&mail; &mail;
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; &mail.out;
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; &mouse;
mouse/pointing device
The mouse as an input device. Example: label in front of instructions that are only applicable if you have a mouse.
&next; &next;
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.
¬ebook; &notebook;
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; &parent;
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; &previous;
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.
&printer; &printer;
hardcopy device
A printer as an output device.
&summary; &summary;
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; &telnet;
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.document; &text.document;
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; &tn3270;
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.
&toc; &toc;
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 contents.
&trash; &trash;
waste paper basket
&unknown.document; &unknown.document;
unrecognised document type
&uuencoded.document; &uuencoded.document;
uuencoded data

Additional Proposed Elements

&cd.rom; &cd.rom;
A collection of documents contained on a read-only CD, including music CDs. (cf. the fixed disk, disk drive, and diskette symbols).
&cd.i; &cd.i;
An interactive session with a CD-I.
&keyboard; &keyboard;
keyboard device
The keyboard as an input device
&network; &network;
a computer network
&postscript; &postscript;
a Postscript document
&sadsmiley; &sadsmiley;
a sad smiley face
Used as a postfix adverb, meaning "unfortunately", etc.
&smiley; &smiley;
a smiley face
Used as postfix adjective/adverb, meaning "for fun", "ironic", "half-serious", etc.
&stop; &stop;
error sign
A more severe warning then the &caution; symbol.
&telephone; &telephone;
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:
<IMG SRC="internal-name">
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