:where()

This is an experimental technology
Check the Browser compatibility table carefully before using this in production.

The :where() CSS pseudo-class function takes a selector list as its argument, and selects any element that can be selected by one of the selectors in that list.

The difference between :where() and :is() is that :where() always has 0 specificity, whereas :is() takes on the specificity of the most specific selector in its arguments.

Examples

This example shows how :where() works, and also illustrates the difference between :where() and :is().

Take the following HTML:

<article>
  <h2>:is()-styled links</h2>
  <section class="is-styling">
    <p>Here is my main content. This <a href="https://mozilla.org">contains a link</a>.
  </section>

  <aside class="is-styling">
    <p>Here is my aside content. This <a href="https://developer.mozilla.org">also contains a link</a>.
  </aside>

  <footer class="is-styling">
    <p>This is my footer, also containing <a href="https://github.com/mdn">a link</a>.
  </footer>
</article>

<article>
  <h2>:where()-styled links</h2>
  <section class="where-styling">
    <p>Here is my main content. This <a href="https://mozilla.org">contains a link</a>.
  </section>

  <aside class="where-styling">
    <p>Here is my aside content. This <a href="https://developer.mozilla.org">also contains a link</a>.
  </aside>

  <footer class="where-styling">
    <p>This is my footer, also containing <a href="https://github.com/mdn">a link</a>.
  </footer>
</article>

In this somewhat-contrived example, we have two articles that each contain a section, an aside, and a footer. They differ by the classes used to mark the child elements.

To make selecting the links inside them simpler, but still distinct, we could use :is() or :where(), in the following manner:

html {
  font-family: sans-serif;
  font-size: 150%;
}

:is(section.is-styling, aside.is-styling, footer.is-styling) a {
  color: red;
}

:where(section.where-styling, aside.where-styling, footer.where-styling) a {
  color: orange;
}

However, what if we later want to override the color of links in the footers using a simple selector?

footer a {
  color: blue;
}

This won't work for the red links, because the selectors inside :is() count towards the specificity of the overall selector, and class selectors have a higher specificity than element selectors.

However, selectors inside :where() have specificity 0, so the orange footer link will be overidden by our simple selector.

You can see the result below (although bear in mind that currently :is() and :where() are currently only emnabled by default in Firefox Nightly, version 77+. In other versions of Firefox it is behind a pref — layout.css.is-where-selectors.enabled).

Note: You can also find this example on GitHub; see is-where.

Syntax

:where( <complex-selector-list> )

where
<complex-selector-list> = <complex-selector>#

where
<complex-selector> = <compound-selector> [ <combinator>? <compound-selector> ]*

where
<compound-selector> = [ <type-selector>? <subclass-selector>* [ <pseudo-element-selector> <pseudo-class-selector>* ]* ]!
<combinator> = '>' | '+' | '~' | [ '||' ]

where
<type-selector> = <wq-name> | <ns-prefix>? '*'
<subclass-selector> = <id-selector> | <class-selector> | <attribute-selector> | <pseudo-class-selector>
<pseudo-element-selector> = ':' <pseudo-class-selector>
<pseudo-class-selector> = ':' <ident-token> | ':' <function-token> <any-value> ')'

where
<wq-name> = <ns-prefix>? <ident-token>
<ns-prefix> = [ <ident-token> | '*' ]? |
<id-selector> = <hash-token>
<class-selector> = '.' <ident-token>
<attribute-selector> = '[' <wq-name> ']' | '[' <wq-name> <attr-matcher> [ <string-token> | <ident-token> ] <attr-modifier>? ']'

where
<attr-matcher> = [ '~' | | | '^' | '$' | '*' ]? '='
<attr-modifier> = i | s

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
Selectors Level 4
The definition of ':where()' in that specification.
Working Draft Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

No compatibility data found. Please contribute data for "css.selectors.where" (depth: 1) to the MDN compatibility data repository.

See also