<defs>

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The <defs> element is used to store graphical objects that will be used at a later time. Objects created inside a <defs> element are not rendered directly. To display them you have to reference them (with a <use> element for example).

Graphical objects can be referenced from anywhere, however, defining these objects inside of a <defs> element promotes understandability of the SVG content and is beneficial to the overall accessibility of the document.

<svg viewBox="0 0 10 10" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
     xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink">
  <!-- Some graphical objects to use -->
  <defs>
    <circle id="myCircle" cx="0" cy="0" r="5" />

    <linearGradient id="myGradient" gradientTransform="rotate(90)">
      <stop offset="20%" stop-color="gold" />
      <stop offset="90%" stop-color="red" />
    </linearGradient>
  </defs>
 
  <!-- using my graphical objects -->
  <use x="5" y="5" xlink:href="#myCircle" fill="url('#myGradient')" />
</svg>

Attributes

Global attributes

Core Attributes
Most notably: id lang
Styling Attributes
class, style
Event Attributes
Global event attributes, Document element event attributes, Graphical event attributes
Presentation Attributes
Most notably: clip-path, clip-rule, color, color-interpolation, color-rendering, cursor, display, fill, fill-opacity, fill-rule, filter, mask, opacity, pointer-events, shape-rendering, stroke, stroke-dasharray, stroke-dashoffset, stroke-linecap, stroke-linejoin, stroke-miterlimit, stroke-opacity, stroke-width, transform, vector-effect, visibility

Usage notes

CategoriesContainer element, Structural element
Permitted contentAny number of the following elements, in any order:
Animation elements
Descriptive elements
Shape elements
Structural elements
Gradient elements
<a>, <altGlyphDef>, <clipPath>, <color-profile>, <cursor>, <filter>, <font>, <font-face>, <foreignObject>, <image>, <marker>, <mask>, <pattern>, <script>, <style>, <switch>, <text>, <view>

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 2
The definition of '<defs>' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation No change
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 (Second Edition)
The definition of '<defs>' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
defsChrome Full support 1Edge Full support YesFirefox Full support 1.5IE Full support 9Opera Full support 8Safari Full support 3.1WebView Android Full support 3Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support 3.1Samsung Internet Android ?

Legend

Full support  
Full support
Compatibility unknown  
Compatibility unknown