HTML Search Box

On this page I'll show the 4 most common search box examples in use today. The HTML search box code is included so that you can easily use these examples to build a search form on your website.

The search bar for a website is typically located on the upper right side of the page so I've added a float right style and the search box itself generally follows a style like one of these four search examples listed below.

These are mainly visual examples, you'll need to hook them up to a search engine to process the search queries. You can set the search form method parameter to use whatever script you want.

HTML Search Box Example

Standard Search Bar with some Basic CSS Style Enhancements

I've eliminated the bevel, added a gradient, rounded some corners so that the text input box and search button form one nice styled package together. The submit button also has a nice little subtle color change on hover. The rounded corners and etc for this search bar rely on CSS3 and so if you're using an old browser the appearance won't be exactly identical as something more modern but it will be a fully functional fallback rendering.

Grab the search form html code below. I have included both the necessary html and the css in a whole page example that you can easily use.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Search Box Example 1</title>
<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW" />
<!-- CSS styles for standard search box -->
<style type="text/css">
	#tfheader{
		background-color:#c3dfef;
	}
	#tfnewsearch{
		float:right;
		padding:20px;
	}
	.tftextinput{
		margin: 0;
		padding: 5px 15px;
		font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
		font-size:14px;
		border:1px solid #0076a3; border-right:0px;
		border-top-left-radius: 5px 5px;
		border-bottom-left-radius: 5px 5px;
	}
	.tfbutton {
		margin: 0;
		padding: 5px 15px;
		font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
		font-size:14px;
		outline: none;
		cursor: pointer;
		text-align: center;
		text-decoration: none;
		color: #ffffff;
		border: solid 1px #0076a3; border-right:0px;
		background: #0095cd;
		background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#00adee), to(#0078a5));
		background: -moz-linear-gradient(top,  #00adee,  #0078a5);
		border-top-right-radius: 5px 5px;
		border-bottom-right-radius: 5px 5px;
	}
	.tfbutton:hover {
		text-decoration: none;
		background: #007ead;
		background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#0095cc), to(#00678e));
		background: -moz-linear-gradient(top,  #0095cc,  #00678e);
	}
	/* Fixes submit button height problem in Firefox */
	.tfbutton::-moz-focus-inner {
	  border: 0;
	}
	.tfclear{
		clear:both;
	}
</style>
</head>
<body>
	<!-- HTML for SEARCH BAR -->
	<div id="tfheader">
		<form id="tfnewsearch" method="get" action="http://www.google.com">
		        <input type="text" class="tftextinput" name="q" size="21" maxlength="120"><input type="submit" value="search" class="tfbutton">
		</form>
	<div class="tfclear"></div>
	</div>
</body>
</html>

Placeholder Text in Search Box

This example is very similar to the code above but here we also have some default text in the search box and this text will disappear once a user clicks in to enter text for their own search.

This search text box requires some javascript to work. The javascript will make the placeholder text disappear once the focus is on the text area. I've also included a jQuery version in case that's your preference

Javascript search placeholder text version

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Search Box Example 2 - default placeholder text gets cleared on click</title>
<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW" />
<!-- JAVASCRIPT to clear search text when the field is clicked -->
<script type="text/javascript">
window.onload = function(){ 
	//Get submit button
	var submitbutton = document.getElementById("tfq");
	//Add listener to submit button
	if(submitbutton.addEventListener){
		submitbutton.addEventListener("click", function() {
			if (submitbutton.value == 'Search our website'){//Customize this text string to whatever you want
				submitbutton.value = '';
			}
		});
	}
}
</script>
<!-- CSS styles for standard search box with placeholder text-->
<style type="text/css">
	#tfheader{
		background-color:#c3dfef;
	}
	#tfnewsearch{
		float:right;
		padding:20px;
	}
	.tftextinput2{
		margin: 0;
		padding: 5px 15px;
		font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
		font-size:14px;
		color:#666;
		border:1px solid #0076a3; border-right:0px;
		border-top-left-radius: 5px 5px;
		border-bottom-left-radius: 5px 5px;
	}
	.tfbutton2 {
		margin: 0;
		padding: 5px 7px;
		font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
		font-size:14px;
		font-weight:bold;
		outline: none;
		cursor: pointer;
		text-align: center;
		text-decoration: none;
		color: #ffffff;
		border: solid 1px #0076a3; border-right:0px;
		background: #0095cd;
		background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#00adee), to(#0078a5));
		background: -moz-linear-gradient(top,  #00adee,  #0078a5);
		border-top-right-radius: 5px 5px;
		border-bottom-right-radius: 5px 5px;
	}
	.tfbutton2:hover {
		text-decoration: none;
		background: #007ead;
		background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#0095cc), to(#00678e));
		background: -moz-linear-gradient(top,  #0095cc,  #00678e);
	}
	/* Fixes submit button height problem in Firefox */
	.tfbutton2::-moz-focus-inner {
	  border: 0;
	}
	.tfclear{
		clear:both;
	}
</style>
</head>
<body>
	<!-- HTML for SEARCH BAR -->
	<div id="tfheader">
		<form id="tfnewsearch" method="get" action="http://www.google.com">
		        <input type="text" id="tfq" class="tftextinput2" name="q" size="21" maxlength="120" value="Search our website"><input type="submit" value=">" class="tfbutton2">
		</form>
		<div class="tfclear"></div>
	</div>
</body>
</html>

jQuery search placeholder text version

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<title>Search Box Example 2 - default placeholder text gets cleared on click</title>
<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW" />
<!-- Add jQuery to your website if you don't have it already -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-latest.min.js"></script>
<!-- JAVASCRIPT to clear search text when the field is clicked -->
<script type="text/javascript">
$(function() {
	$("#tfq2b").click(function() {
		if ($("#tfq2b").val() == "Search our website"){
			$("#tfq2b").val(""); 
		}
	});
});
</script>
<!-- CSS styles for standard search box with placeholder text-->
<style type="text/css">
	#tfheader{
		background-color:#c3dfef;
	}
	#tfnewsearch{
		float:right;
		padding:20px;
	}
	.tftextinput2{
		margin: 0;
		padding: 5px 15px;
		font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
		font-size:14px;
		color:#666;
		border:1px solid #0076a3; border-right:0px;
		border-top-left-radius: 5px 5px;
		border-bottom-left-radius: 5px 5px;
	}
	.tfbutton2 {
		margin: 0;
		padding: 5px 7px;
		font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
		font-size:14px;
		font-weight:bold;
		outline: none;
		cursor: pointer;
		text-align: center;
		text-decoration: none;
		color: #ffffff;
		border: solid 1px #0076a3; border-right:0px;
		background: #0095cd;
		background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#00adee), to(#0078a5));
		background: -moz-linear-gradient(top,  #00adee,  #0078a5);
		border-top-right-radius: 5px 5px;
		border-bottom-right-radius: 5px 5px;
	}
	.tfbutton2:hover {
		text-decoration: none;
		background: #007ead;
		background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#0095cc), to(#00678e));
		background: -moz-linear-gradient(top,  #0095cc,  #00678e);
	}
	/* Fixes submit button height problem in Firefox */
	.tfbutton2::-moz-focus-inner {
	  border: 0;
	}
	.tfclear{
		clear:both;
	}
</style>
</head>
<body>
	<!-- HTML for SEARCH BAR -->
	<div id="tfheader">
		<form id="tfnewsearch" method="get" action="http://www.google.com">
		        <input type="text" id="tfq2b" class="tftextinput2" name="q" size="21" maxlength="120" value="Search our website"><input type="submit" value=">" class="tfbutton2">
		</form>
		<div class="tfclear"></div>
	</div>
</body>
</html>

See More Search Bar Examples

You can download a zip file of the HTML/CSS code for all the search bars or go onto part 2 of search box examples.