A frameset is an HTML structure used to divide a web page into multiple, resizable sections called frames. Each frame can display a different web document, allowing for simultaneous viewing of multiple web pages within a single browser window. Framesets have become largely outdated, with modern web techniques like CSS and JavaScript providing more advanced and responsive design alternatives.


The phonetic representation of the keyword “Frameset” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is: /ˈfreɪmˌsɛt/

Key Takeaways

  1. Frameset is used to divide a web page into multiple frames, each containing different content or web pages.
  2. Frameset has been deprecated in HTML5 in favor of more modern and accessible layout techniques like CSS grid and flexbox.
  3. Using frameset can create accessibility and usability issues including difficulty in bookmarking specific content and navigation problems for screen readers.


The technology term “frameset” holds significant importance as it is an HTML feature that enables web developers to divide a browser window into multiple sections or frames, each displaying different web pages simultaneously.

Frameset enhances user experience and navigation by providing easy access to related content without needing to open multiple windows or reload pages.

As part of the early web’s evolution and HTML 4.0 standard, frameset allowed more dynamic and organized layouts, promoting better content management and presentation on websites.

However, it is crucial to note that the use of frameset has declined in recent years due to advancements in web technologies like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, providing more versatile alternatives for designing web layouts and improving user experience.


The frameset is a noteworthy concept in web design that gained prominence with the advent of HTML 4.0, serving a specific purpose in organizing the layout and navigation of a web page. Essentially, it enables developers to divide the browser window into a series of sections, referred to as frames, with each frame designed to display separate HTML documents simultaneously. This results in a more streamlined browsing experience for users, as frames allow content to be loaded and updated in one area, while remaining consistent and unchanged in other sections of the page.

Framesets greatly contributed to enhanced navigation capabilities and improved design flexibility, particularly in the early days of web development. However, despite their initial popularity, framesets have since become an antiquated method of web design, largely due to the development and widespread adoption of more advanced technologies, such as HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. These newer approaches allow for greater responsiveness, an essential consideration in an era of mobile browsing and rapidly evolving screen sizes.

Additionally, framesets sometimes pose issues for search engines, as their multiple pages—or frames—could make it difficult for crawlers to index the site accurately. Meanwhile, they also generated accessibility challenges for those relying on assistive technology. As a result, web designers have turned to more modern techniques that ensure the delivery of consistent user experiences across a variety of devices and compatibility with accessibility standards.

Examples of Frameset

A frameset is an HTML layout technique that allows dividing a browser window into multiple sections called frames. Each frame can load its website or HTML content independently. Though the use of framesets has become less common due to the rise of responsive web design and HTML5, they were popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. Here are three real-world examples of frameset usage from that time:

Online Documentation: In the late 90s and early 2000s, software documentation and help manuals often used framesets to create a split view. One frame would contain a navigation menu or table of contents, and the other frame would load the content for the selected topic. This allowed users to quickly navigate between topics without reloading the entire page.

Website Navigation: Some websites used framesets as a means to keep their navigation menus consistent and present on every page, allowing for quick access to other website sections. The main content of each page would load in a separate frame, ensuring that the header, footer, or navigation menu remained unchanged as users browsed the site.

Online Portals: Framesets were sometimes employed in online portals or web-based applications that needed to manage multiple content sources or views. For example, an email portal might use one frame for accessing a list of emails and another frame for reading the selected email. Similarly, a project management tool might have used frames to separate the project navigation menus from the main content.

Frameset FAQ

1. What is a frameset in HTML?

A frameset is a way to divide the browser window into multiple sections called “frames,” each capable of displaying a separate HTML document. Framesets were used to display multiple pages at once, but they have been deprecated in HTML5 in favor of more modern design techniques.

2. How do I create a frameset in HTML?

Although framesets are deprecated, to create a frameset you can use the <frameset> tag to define the layout and the <frame> tag for individual frames. For example:

<frameset rows="50%,50%">
  <frame src="page1.html">
  <frame src="page2.html">

This creates a frameset with 2 rows and displays “page1.html” in the top frame and “page2.html” in the bottom frame.

3. How do I control the size of frames within a frameset?

You can control the size of frames using the “rows” and “cols” attributes of the <frameset> tag. You can define frames as a percentage or in pixels. For example:

<frameset cols="30%,70%">
  <frame src="left.html">
  <frame src="right.html">

In this example, the browser window is divided into two columns, where the left frame takes up 30% of the width, and the right frame takes up 70%.

4. Can I nest framesets within other framesets?

Yes, you can nest one frameset inside another frameset. This is called a nested frameset. For example:

<frameset cols="25%,75%">
  <frame src="left.html">
  <frameset rows="50%,50%">
    <frame src="top_right.html">
    <frame src="bottom_right.html">

This example creates a main frameset with two columns and a nested frameset with two rows within the right column.

5. What are the alternatives to framesets in modern web design?

Modern web design utilizes CSS, JavaScript, and responsive design techniques to achieve layouts similar to those previously created with framesets. CSS Grid, Flexbox, and iframes are common alternatives that allow for more flexibility, better accessibility, and responsive designs that adjust to different devices and screen sizes.

Related Technology Terms

  • Frame
  • Src
  • Noresize
  • Frameborder
  • Scrolling

Sources for More Information


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