Require headings to start at h1 and increment by one

Rule ID:
  • WCAG 2.2 (A)
  • WCAG 2.1 (A)
  • WCAG 2.0 (A)

Validates heading level increments and order. Headings must start at h1 and can only increase one level at a time.

Rule details

Examples of incorrect code for this rule:

<h1>Heading 1</h1>
error: Heading level can only increase by one, expected <h2> but got <h3> (heading-level) at inline:2:2:
  1 | <h1>Heading 1</h1>
> 2 | <h3>Subheading</h3>
    |  ^^

1 error found.

Examples of correct code for this rule:

<h1>Heading 1</h1>


This rule takes an optional object:

  "allowMultipleH1": false,
  "minInitialRank": "h1",
  "sectioningRoots": ["dialog", "[role=\"dialog\"]", "[role=\"alertdialog\"]"]


Set allowMultipleH1 to true to allow multiple <h1> elements in a document.


Sets the allowed initial heading levels (inclusive). By setting this to h2 the document may start at <h2> and later being followed by <h1>:

<h1>Heading 1</h1>

Setting this to "any" or false is equivalent to "h6", i.e. effectively disabling the check for the initial heading level as all possible levels are now allowed.

Note: this does not affect sectioning roots. Each sectioning root can either continue of the current level or restart at <h1>.


List of selectors for elements starting new sectioning roots, that is elements with their own outlines. When a new sectioning root is found the heading level may restart at <h1>. The previous heading level will be restored after the sectioning root is closed by a matching end tag.

Note that the default value does not include all elements considered by HTML5 to be sectioning roots because browsers and tools does not yet implement outline algorithms specified in the standard.

With this option the following is considered valid:

<h1>Heading 1</h1>
<h2>Subheading 2</h2>
    <!-- new sectioning root, heading level can restart at h1 -->
    <h1>Dialog header</h1>
<!-- after dialog the level is restored -->
<h3>Subheading 3</h2>

Version history