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CSS Pseudo-elements


CSS pseudo-elements are used to add special effects to some selectors.


Syntax

The syntax of pseudo-elements:

selector:pseudo-element {property:value;}

CSS classes can also be used with pseudo-elements:

selector.class:pseudo-element {property:value;}


The :first-line Pseudo-element

The "first-line" pseudo-element is used to add a special style to the first line of a text.

The "first-line" pseudo-element can only be applied to block-level elements.

Example

Format the first line of the text in p elements:

p:first-line
{
color:#ff0000;
font-variant:small-caps;
}

Try it yourself »

The following properties apply to the "first-line" pseudo-element:

  • font properties
  • color properties
  • background properties
  • word-spacing
  • letter-spacing
  • text-decoration
  • vertical-align
  • text-transform
  • line-height
  • clear

The :first-letter Pseudo-element

The "first-letter" pseudo-element is used to add a special style to the first letter of a text.

The "first-letter" pseudo-element can only be applied to block-level elements. 

Example

Format the first letter of the text in p elements: 

p:first-letter
{
color:#ff0000;
font-size:xx-large;
}

Try it yourself »

The following properties apply to the "first-letter" pseudo- element: 

  • font properties
  • color properties 
  • background properties
  • margin properties
  • padding properties
  • border properties
  • text-decoration
  • vertical-align (only if "float" is "none")
  • text-transform
  • line-height
  • float
  • clear

Pseudo-elements and CSS Classes

Pseudo-elements can be combined with CSS classes: 

p.article:first-letter {color:#ff0000;}

<p class="article">A paragraph in an article</p>

The example above will display the first letter of all paragraphs with class="article", in red.


Multiple Pseudo-elements

Several pseudo-elements can also be combined. 

In the following example, the first letter of a paragraph will be red, in an xx-large font size. The rest of the first line will be blue, and in small-caps. The rest of the paragraph will be the default font size and color: 

Example

p:first-letter
{
color:#ff0000;
font-size:xx-large;
}
p:first-line
{
color:#0000ff;
font-variant:small-caps;
}

Try it yourself »


CSS - The :before Pseudo-element

The ":before" pseudo-element can be used to insert some content before the content of an element.

The following example inserts an image before each <h1> element:

Example

h1:before
{
content:url(smiley.gif);
}

Try it yourself »


CSS - The :after Pseudo-element

The ":after" pseudo-element can be used to insert some content after the content of an element.

The following example inserts an image after each <h1> element:

Example

h1:after
{
content:url(smiley.gif);
}

Try it yourself »


All CSS Pseudo Classes/Elements

Selector Example Example description
:link a:link Selects all unvisited links
:visited a:visited Selects all visited links
:active a:active Selects the active link
:hover a:hover Selects links on mouse over
:focus input:focus Selects the input element which has focus
:first-letter p:first-letter Selects the first letter of every <p> element
:first-line p:first-line Selects the first line of every <p> element
:first-child p:first-child Selects every <p> elements that is the first child of its parent
:before p:before Insert content before every <p> element
:after p:after Insert content after every <p> element
:lang(language) p:lang(it) Selects every <p> element with a lang attribute value starting with "it"



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