outline

The outline CSS shorthand property set all the outline properties in a single declaration.

Constituent properties

This property is a shorthand for the following CSS properties:

Syntax

/* style */
outline: solid;

/* color | style */
outline: #f66 dashed;

/* style | width */
outline: inset thick;

/* color | style | width */
outline: green solid 3px;

/* Global values */
outline: inherit;
outline: initial;
outline: unset;

The outline property may be specified using one, two, or three of the values listed below. The order of the values does not matter.

Note: The outline will be invisible for many elements if its style is not defined. This is because the style defaults to none. A notable exception is input elements, which are given default styling by browsers.

Values

<'outline-color'>
Sets the color of the outline. Defaults to currentcolor if absent. See outline-color.
<'outline-style'>
Sets the style of the outline. Defaults to none if absent. See outline-style.
<'outline-width'>
Sets the thickness of the outline. Defaults to medium if absent. See outline-width.

Description

Borders and outlines are very similar. However, outlines differ from borders in the following ways:

  • Outlines never take up space, as they are drawn outside of an element's content.
  • According to the spec, outlines don't have to be rectangular, although they usually are.

As with all shorthand properties, any omitted sub-values will be set to their initial value.

Accessibility concerns

Assigning outline a value of 0 or none will remove the browser's default focus style. If an element can be interacted with it must have a visible focus indicator. Provide obvious focus styling if the default focus style is removed.

Formal definition

Initial valueas each of the properties of the shorthand:
Applies toall elements
Inheritedno
Computed valueas each of the properties of the shorthand:
  • outline-color: For the keyword invert, the computed value is invert. For the color value, if the value is translucent, the computed value will be the rgba() corresponding one. If it isn't, it will be the rgb() corresponding one. The transparent keyword maps to rgba(0,0,0,0).
  • outline-width: an absolute length; if the keyword none is specified, the computed value is 0
  • outline-style: as specified
Animation typeas each of the properties of the shorthand:

Formal syntax

[ <'outline-color'> || <'outline-style'> || <'outline-width'> ]

Examples

Using outline to set a focus style

HTML

<a href="#">This link has a special focus style.</a>

CSS

a {
  border: 1px solid;
  border-radius: 3px;
  display: inline-block;
  margin: 10px;
  padding: 5px;
}

a:focus {
  outline: 4px dotted #e73;
  outline-offset: 4px;
  background: #ffa;
}

Result

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Basic User Interface Module Level 3
The definition of 'outline' in that specification.
Recommendation No change.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'outline' 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
outlineChrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1.5
Notes
Full support 1.5
Notes
Notes Firefox includes absolutely positioned elements inside the outline (see bug 687311).
No support 1 — 3.6
Prefixed
Prefixed Implemented with the vendor prefix: -moz-
IE Full support 8Opera Full support 7Safari Full support 1.2WebView Android Full support 1Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support 10.1Safari iOS Full support 3.1Samsung Internet Android Full support 1.0

Legend

Full support  
Full support
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.
Requires a vendor prefix or different name for use.
Requires a vendor prefix or different name for use.