What is HTML’s tag default display type?

It is always display: inline by default. Horizontal margins, and padding on all sides should work without having to change its display property.

This remains true even in HTML5. If you are applying styles to an <a> element that contains flow elements or any other elements that are represented in CSS as display: block, you should set the <a> itself to a proper block container type such as block or inline-block for its layout to work as intended.

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