The <image> CSS data type represents a two-dimensional image. There are two kinds of images: plain images, referenced with a <url>, and dynamically-generated images, generated with <gradient> or element(). Additional CSS image functions include image(), image-set(), and cross-fade(). Images can be used with numerous CSS properties, such as background-image, border-image, content, cursor, and list-style-image.

Image types

CSS can handle the following kinds of images:

  • Images with intrinsic dimensions (a natural size), like a JPEG, PNG, or other raster format.
  • Images with multiple intrinsic dimensions, existing in multiple versions inside a single file, like some .ico formats. (In this case, the intrinsic dimensions will be those of the image largest in area and the aspect ratio most similar to the containing box.)
  • Images with no intrinsic dimensions but with an intrinsic aspect ratio between its width and height, like an SVG or other vector format.
  • Images with neither intrinsic dimensions, nor an intrinsic aspect ratio, like a CSS gradient.

CSS determines an object's concrete size using (1) its intrinsic dimensions; (2) its specified size, defined by CSS properties like width, height, or background-size; and (3) its default size, determined by the kind of property the image is used with:

Kind of Object (CSS Property) Default object size
background-image The size of the element's background positioning area
list-style-image The size of a 1em character
border-image-source The size of the element's border image area
cursor The browser-defined size matching the usual cursor size on the client's system
mask-image ?
shape-outside ?
mask-border-source ?
symbols for @counter-style At risk feature. If supported, the browser-defined size matching the usual cursor size on the client's system
content for a pseudo-element (::after/::before) A 300px × 150px rectangle

The concrete object size is calculated using the following algorithm:

  • If the specified size defines both the width and the height, these values are used as the concrete object size.
  • If the specified size defines only the width or only the height, the missing value is determined using the intrinsic ratio, if there is any, the intrinsic dimensions if the specified value matches, or the default object size for that missing value.
  • If the specified size defines neither the width nor the height, the concrete object size is calculated so that it matches the intrinsic aspect ratio of the image but without exceeding the default object size in any dimension. If the image has no intrinsic aspect ratio, the intrinsic aspect ratio of the object it applies to is used; if this object has none, the missing width or height are taken from the default object size.
Note: Not all browsers support every type of image on every property. See the browser compatibility section for details.

Syntax

The <image> data type can be represented with any of the following:

  • An image denoted by the <url> data type
  • A <gradient> data type
  • A part of the webpage, defined by the element() function
  • An image, image fragment or solid patch of color, defined by the image() function
  • A blending of two or more images defined by the cross-fade() function.
  • A selection of images chosed based on resolution defined by the image-set() function.

Examples

Valid images

url(test.jpg)               /* A <url>, as long as test.jpg is an actual image */
linear-gradient(blue, red)  /* A <gradient> */
element(#realid)            /* A part of the webpage, referenced with the element() function,
                               if "realid" is an existing ID on the page */ 
image(ltr 'arrow.png#xywh=0,0,16,16', red) 
                            /* A section 16x16 section of <url>, starting from the top, left of the original
                               image as long as arrow.png is a supported image, otherwise a solid 
                               red swatch. If language is rtl, the image will be horizontally flipped. */ 
cross-fade(20% url(twenty.png), url(eighty.png)) 
                            /* cross faded images, with twenty being 20% opaque 
                               and eighty being 80% opaque. */ 
image-set('test.jpg' 1x, 'test-2x.jpg' 2x)  
                            /* a selection of images with varying resolutions */

Invalid images

nourl.jpg            /* An image file must be defined using the url() function. */
url(report.pdf)      /* A file pointed to by the url() function must be an image. */
element(#fakeid)     /* An element ID must be an existing ID on the page. */ 
image(z.jpg#xy=0,0)  /* The spatial fragment must be written in the format of xywh=#,#,#,# */
image-set('cat.jpg' 1x, 'dog.jpg' 1x) /* every image in an image set must have a different resolutions */

Accessibility concerns

Assistive technology cannot parse background images. If the image contains information critical to understanding the page's overall purpose, it is better to describe it semantically in the document.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Images Module Level 4
The definition of '<image>' in that specification.
Working Draft Adds element(), image(), image-set(), conic-gradient(), repeating-conic-gradient(), and image-resolution.
CSS Images Module Level 3
The definition of '<image>' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation Initial definition. Before this, there was no explicitly defined <image> data type. Images could only be defined using the url() functional notation.

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge MobileFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
<image>Chrome Full support YesEdge Full support 12Firefox Full support YesIE Full support 10Opera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesEdge Mobile Full support 12Firefox Android Full support YesOpera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes
<gradient>Chrome Full support Yes
Prefixed
Full support Yes
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Edge Full support 12
Prefixed
Full support 12
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -ms-
Firefox Full support Yes
Notes
Full support Yes
Notes
Notes Gradients are limited to background-image, border-image, and mask-image.
IE Full support 10
Prefixed
Full support 10
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -ms-
Opera Full support YesSafari Full support YesWebView Android Full support YesChrome Android Full support YesEdge Mobile Full support 12
Prefixed
Full support 12
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -ms-
Firefox Android Full support Yes
Notes
Full support Yes
Notes
Notes Gradients are limited to background-image, border-image, and mask-image.
Opera Android Full support YesSafari iOS Full support YesSamsung Internet Android Full support Yes
element()
Experimental
Chrome No support NoEdge No support NoFirefox Full support 57
Prefixed
Full support 57
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -moz-
No support 29 — 57
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -moz-
Notes -moz-element() is limited to background-image, background, border-image and border-image-source.
No support 4 — 29
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -moz-
Notes -moz-element() is limited to background-image and background.
IE No support NoOpera No support NoSafari No support NoWebView Android No support NoChrome Android No support NoEdge Mobile No support NoFirefox Android Full support 60
Prefixed
Full support 60
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -moz-
No support 29 — 60
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -moz-
Notes -moz-element() is limited to background-image, background, border-image and border-image-source.
No support 4 — 29
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -moz-
Notes -moz-element() is limited to background-image and background.
Opera Android No support NoSafari iOS No support NoSamsung Internet Android No support No
image()
Experimental
Chrome No support NoEdge ? Firefox No support No
Notes
No support No
Notes
Notes The -moz-image-rect() function supports fragments as of Firefox 4.
IE No support NoOpera No support NoSafari ? WebView Android No support NoChrome Android No support NoEdge Mobile ? Firefox Android No support No
Notes
No support No
Notes
Notes The -moz-image-rect() function supports fragments as of Firefox 4.
Opera Android No support NoSafari iOS ? Samsung Internet Android No support No
image-set()
Experimental
Chrome Full support 21
Prefixed
Full support 21
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Edge ? Firefox No support No
Notes
No support No
Notes
Notes See bug 1107646.
IE No support NoOpera Full support 15
Prefixed
Full support 15
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Safari Partial support 6
Prefixed Notes
Partial support 6
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Support for url images only and x is the only supported resolution unit. See bug 160934.
WebView Android Full support 4.4
Prefixed
Full support 4.4
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Chrome Android Full support Yes
Prefixed
Full support Yes
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android No support No
Notes
No support No
Notes
Notes See bug 1107646.
Opera Android Full support 14
Prefixed
Full support 14
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Safari iOS Partial support 6
Prefixed Notes
Partial support 6
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Support for url images only and x is the only supported resolution unit. See bug 160934.
Samsung Internet Android Full support 4.0
Prefixed
Full support 4.0
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
cross-fade()
Experimental
Chrome Full support 17
Prefixed Notes
Full support 17
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Supports the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
Edge ? Firefox No support NoIE No support NoOpera Full support 15
Prefixed Notes
Full support 15
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Supports the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
Safari Full support 10
Notes
Full support 10
Notes
Notes Supports the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
Full support 5.1
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Supports the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
WebView Android Full support Yes
Prefixed Notes
Full support Yes
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Supports the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
Chrome Android Full support Yes
Prefixed Notes
Full support Yes
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Supports the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android No support NoOpera Android Full support 14
Prefixed Notes
Full support 14
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Supports the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
Safari iOS Full support 9.3
Notes
Full support 9.3
Notes
Notes Support for the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
Full support 5
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Supports the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.
Samsung Internet Android Full support Yes
Prefixed Notes
Full support Yes
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -webkit-
Notes Support for the original dual-image with percentage implementation only.

Legend

Full support  
Full support
Partial support  
Partial support
No support  
No support
Compatibility unknown  
Compatibility unknown
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.
Requires a vendor prefix or different name for use.
Requires a vendor prefix or different name for use.

See also

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