Has anybody ever used "Clear All" button on the page? Maybe someone know the history of this "magic" UI component.

I opened my eyes after this answer.


5 Answers 5


<input type="reset"> was added in HTML 2.0, along with forms in general.

I don't know the reasoning at the time for having a reset button. It may have been meant as a primitive form of undo. I'm not sure to what extent user-agents (browsers), particularly text-based user-agents, supported the undo faculties that we take for granted in todays GUIs. Note that a reset button doesn't actually "clear" the fields; it resets them to their initial values.

Initially, I think people were mostly concerned with using HTML correctly and added reset buttons by default without thinking about it. Over time, the reset button seems to have fallen out of favor.

  • 2
    I imagine one reason might have been to assure users they could remove the data they have entered (back then simply users might have wondered what happens if they just close the browser or navigate away) assuming it was somewhat sensitive... but it's just a wild guess.
    – Dan Barak
    Aug 16, 2010 at 15:24
  • @Dan Barak +1 "You have donwloaded this file from the Internet, so please, upload it back, because somebody needs it" :) (joke).
    – igor
    Aug 16, 2010 at 18:13

I've never used it, nor has any client ever asked me to. I do recall seeing them early on, like in the 90's.

I see no practical reason to include such functionality in a page, since the risk of losing data greatly outweighs any potential benefit.

  • Agree. Indeed, it has been a while since I saw them, but I did... I think it was some government site...
    – Dan Barak
    Aug 16, 2010 at 15:20

Almost all web forms used to have a submit and reset button.

You can still see old sites with them. Today you will be hard pressed to find a site with a reset button as they are useless and only mess things up.


Only place I can see a use is where operators are searching for records using sets of criteria over several fields that they want to vary a bit to get a record set back. Eventually getting to the point of clearing all of their criteria to start over again.

  • Although, infact, that may be done by explicitly resetting the specific fields. But I agree that this is the only place I would use reset form functionality Jun 18, 2012 at 7:54

Not worth the hassle. I've never had a client request a "clear all" button. Nor have I ever seen one used even when it was available. I wouldn't waste space or time with a reset button.

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