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<pre class='metadata'>
Title: CSS Display Module Level 3
Status: ED
Status Text: A <a href="">preliminary implementation report</a> is available. Further tests will be added during the CR period.
Work Status: Testing
Shortname: css-display
Group: csswg
Level: 3
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Implementation Report:
Editor: Tab Atkins Jr., Google,, w3cid 42199
Editor: Elika J. Etemad / fantasai, Invited Expert,, w3cid 35400
Abstract: This module describes how the CSS formatting box tree is generated from the document element tree and defines the 'display' property that controls it.
Ignored Terms: display-model, display-role, table row group box, absolutely positioned, table formatting context
At Risk: Application of ''::first-letter'' in the presence of run-ins
At Risk: ''display: run-in''
At Risk: All multi-keyword values of 'display'
<pre class="link-defaults">
spec:css-align-3; type:value; text:stretch
spec:css-break-3; type:dfn; text:fragment;
type:property; text:overflow;
spec: html;
type: dfn; text: rendered legend
type: element; text: a
spec:css-pseudo-4; type:selector;
text: ::first-letter
text: ::first-line
text: ::before
text: ::after
spec: svg2;
text: container element
text: text content child element
text: renderable element
text: non-rendered element
text: rendered element
text: presentation attribute
.code-and-figure {
display: table;
margin: 0 auto;
border-spacing: 1em;
.code-and-figure > div {
display: table-cell;
vertical-align: middle;
.code-and-figure img {
background: transparent;
<h2 id="intro">
<p><em>This section is normative.</em>
CSS takes a source document organized as
a <dfn id="element-tree" oldids="css-element-tree" export for=CSS lt="element tree">tree</dfn>
of <dfn id="elements" oldids="css-element" export for=CSS lt="element">elements</dfn>
(which can contain a mix of other [=CSS/elements=] and [=text nodes=])
and <dfn id="text-nodes" oldids="css-text-node" export for=CSS lt="text node">text nodes</dfn>
(which can contain text),
and renders it onto a <a href="">canvas</a>
such as your screen, a piece of paper, or an audio stream.
Although any such source document can be rendered with CSS,
the most commonly used type is the the DOM. [[DOM]]
(Some of these more complex tree types might have additional types of nodes,
such as the comment nodes in the DOM.
For the purposes of CSS,
all of these additional types of nodes are ignored,
as if they didn't exist.)
To do this, it generates an intermediary structure,
the <dfn id="box-tree" oldids="css-box-tree" export for=CSS>box tree</dfn>,
which represents the formatting structure of the rendered document.
Each <dfn id="box" oldids="css-box" export for=CSS>box</dfn> in the <a>box tree</a>
represents its corresponding [=CSS/element=] (or <a>pseudo-element</a>)
in space and/or time on the canvas,
while each <dfn id="text-run" oldids="css-text-run" export for=CSS>text run</dfn> in the <a>box tree</a>
likewise represents the contents of its corresponding <a>text nodes</a>.
To create the <a>box tree</a>,
CSS first uses <a href="">cascading and inheritance</a>,
to assign a <a>computed value</a> for each CSS property
to each [=CSS/element=] and <a>text node</a> in the source tree.
(See [[!CSS-CASCADE-3]].)
Then, for each [=CSS/element=],
CSS generates zero or more <a>boxes</a>
as specified by that element's 'display' property.
Typically, an element generates a single <a>box</a>,
the <a>principal box</a>,
which represents itself and contains its contents in the <a>box tree</a>.
However, some 'display' values
(e.g. ''display: list-item'')
generate more than one box
(e.g. a <a href="">principal block box</a> and a child <a href="">marker box</a>).
And some values
(such as ''display/none'' or ''display/contents'')
cause the [=CSS/element=] and/or its descendants to not generate any <a>boxes</a> at all.
<a>Boxes</a> are often referred to by their 'display' type--
e.g. a <a>box</a> generated by an element with ''display: block'' is called a “block box” or just a “block”.
A <a>box</a> is assigned the same styles as its generating [=CSS/element=], unless otherwise indicated.
In general, <a>inherited properties</a> are assigned to the <a>principal box</a>,
and then inherit through the box tree
to any other boxes generated by the same element.
Non-inherited properties default to applying to the <a>principal box</a>,
but when the element generates multiple boxes,
are sometimes defined to apply to a different box:
for example, the 'border' properties applied to a table element
are applied to its <a>table grid box</a>,
not to its <a lt="principal box">principal</a> <a>table wrapper box</a>.
If the value computation process alters the styles of those boxes,
and the element's style is requested
(such as through {{getComputedStyle()}}),
the element reflects,
for each property,
the value from the box to which that property was applied.
Similarly, each contiguous sequence of sibling <a>text nodes</a> generates a <a>text run</a>
containing their text contents,
which is assigned the same styles as the generating <a>text nodes</a>.
If the sequence contains no text, however, it does not generate a <a>text run</a>.
In constructing the box tree,
boxes generated by an element are descendants of
the principal box of any ancestor elements.
In the general case,
the direct <dfn export for=CSS>parent box</dfn>
of an element’s <a>principal box</a>
is the <a>principal box</a>
of its nearest ancestor element that generates a <a>box</a>;
however, there are some exceptions,
such as for ''run-in'' boxes,
display types (like tables) that generate multiple container boxes,
and intervening <a>anonymous boxes</a>.
An <dfn id="anonymous" oldids="css-anonymous" for=CSS lt="anonymous|anonymous box" export>anonymous box</dfn> is a box that is not associated with any element.
<a>Anonymous boxes</a> are generated in certain circumstances
to fix up the <a>box tree</a> when it requires a particular nested structure
that is not provided by the boxes generated from the <a>element tree</a>.
For example, a <a href="">table cell box</a>
requires a particular type of parent box (the <a href="">table row box</a>),
and will generate an <a>anonymous</a> <a href="">table row box</a> around itself
if its parent is not a <a href="">table row box</a>.
(See [[CSS2]] &sect; <a href="">17.2.1</a>.)
Unlike element-generated boxes, whose styles inherit strictly through the element tree,
anonymous boxes (which only exist in the <a>box tree</a>)
<a href="">inherit</a> through their <a>box tree</a> parentage.
In the course of layout,
<a>boxes</a> and <a>text runs</a> can be broken into multiple <a>fragments</a>.
This happens, for example, when an <a>inline box</a> and/or <a>text run</a>
is broken across lines,
or when a <a>block box</a> is broken across pages or columns,
in a process called <a>fragmentation</a>.
It can also happen due to bidi reordering of text
(see [[css-writing-modes-3#bidi-algo|Applying the Bidirectional Reordering Algorithm]]
in [[css-writing-modes-3#text-direction|CSS Writing Modes]])
or higher-level <a>display type</a> box splitting,
e.g. <a href="">block-in-inline splitting</a>
(see <a href="">CSS2&sect;9.2</a>)
or <a href="">column-spanner-in-block</a> splitting
(see <a href="">CSS Multi-column Layout</a>).
A <a>box</a> therefore consists of one or more <a>box fragments</a>,
and a <a>text run</a> consists of one or more <a lt=fragment>text fragments</a>.
See [[CSS-BREAK-3]] for more information on <a>fragmentation</a>.
Note: Many of the CSS specs were written before this terminology was ironed out,
or refer to things incorrectly,
so view older specs with caution when they're using these terms.
It should be possible to infer from context which term they really mean.
Please <a href="#status">report errors</a> in specs when you find them,
so they can be corrected.
Note: Further information on the “aural” box tree
and its interaction with the 'display' property
can be found in the <a href="">CSS Speech Module</a>.
<h3 id="placement">
Module interactions</h3>
This module replaces and extends the definition of the 'display' property defined in [[!CSS2]] section 9.2.4.
None of the properties in this module apply to the <code>::first-line</code> or <code>::first-letter</code> pseudo-elements.
<h3 id="values">
Value Definitions</h3>
This specification follows the <a href="">CSS property definition conventions</a> from [[!CSS2]]
using the <a href="">value definition syntax</a> from [[!CSS-VALUES-3]].
Value types not defined in this specification are defined in CSS Values &amp; Units [[!CSS-VALUES-3]].
Combination with other CSS modules may expand the definitions of these value types.
In addition to the property-specific values listed in their definitions,
all properties defined in this specification
also accept the <a>CSS-wide keywords</a> as their property value.
For readability they have not been repeated explicitly.
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<h2 id='the-display-properties'>
Box Layout Modes: the 'display' property</h2>
<pre class="propdef">
Name: display
Value: [ <<display-outside>> || <<display-inside>> ] | <<display-listitem>> | <<display-internal>> | <<display-box>> | <<display-legacy>>
Initial: inline
Applies to: all elements
Inherited: no
Computed value: a pair of keywords representing the [=inner display type|inner=] and [=outer display type|outer=] display types plus optional ''list-item'' flag, or a <<display-internal>> or <<display-box>> keyword; see prose in a variety of specs for computation rules
Animation type: not animatable
<p class=all-media>User agents are expected to support this property on all media, including non-visual ones.
The 'display' property defines an element's <dfn export>display type</dfn>,
which consists of the two basic qualities of how an element generates boxes:
* the <dfn export local-lt="inner">inner display type</dfn>,
which defines (if it is a <a lt="replaced element">non-replaced element</a>) the kind of <a>formatting context</a> it generates,
dictating how its descendant boxes are laid out.
(The inner display of a <a>replaced element</a> is outside the scope of CSS.)
* the <dfn export local-lt="outer">outer display type</dfn>,
which dictates how the [=principal box=] itself participates in <a>flow layout</a>.
<a>Text runs</a> have no <a>display type</a>.
Some 'display' values have additional side-effects:
such as ''list-item'', which also generates a ''::marker'' pseudo-element,
and ''display/none'', which causes the element's entire subtree to be left out of the box tree.
<div class="advisement">
The 'display' property has no effect on an element’s semantics:
these are defined by the <a spec=selectors-4>document language</a> and <em>are not affected by CSS</em>.
Aside from the ''display/none'' value,
which also affects the aural/speech output [[!CSS-SPEECH-1]]
and interactivity of an element and its descendants,
the 'display' property only affects visual layout:
its purpose is to allow designers freedom
to change the layout behavior of an element
<em>without</em> affecting the underlying document semantics.
Values are defined as follows:
<pre class='prod'>
<dfn>&lt;display-outside></dfn> = block | inline | run-in
<dfn>&lt;display-inside></dfn> = flow | flow-root | table | flex | grid | ruby
<dfn>&lt;display-listitem></dfn> = <<display-outside>>? && [ flow | flow-root ]? && list-item
<dfn>&lt;display-internal></dfn> = table-row-group | table-header-group |
table-footer-group | table-row | table-cell |
table-column-group | table-column | table-caption |
ruby-base | ruby-text | ruby-base-container |
<dfn>&lt;display-box></dfn> = contents | none
<dfn>&lt;display-legacy></dfn> = inline-block | inline-table | inline-flex | inline-grid
The following informative table summarizes the values of 'display':
#display-value-summary td,
#display-value-summary th { text-align: left; }
<table class='data' id="display-value-summary">
<th>Short 'display'
<th>Full 'display'
<th>Generated box
<tbody title="Box Suppression Display Types">
<td>subtree omitted from <a>box tree</a>
<td>element replaced by contents in <a>box tree</a>
<tbody title="Flow Layout Display Types">
<td>''block flow''
<td><a>block-level</a> <a>block container</a>
<abbr title="also known as">aka</abbr> <a>block box</a>
<td>''block flow-root''
<td><a>block-level</a> <a>block container</a>
that establishes a new <a>block formatting context</a> (<a>BFC</a>)
<td>''inline flow''
<td><a>inline box</a>
<td>''inline flow-root''
<td><a>inline-level</a> <a>block container</a>
<abbr title="also known as">aka</abbr> <dfn export lt="inline block | inline block box">inline block</dfn>
<td>''run-in flow''
<td><a>run-in box</a> (<a>inline box</a> with special box-tree-munging rules)
<td>''block flow list-item''
<td><a>block box</a>
with additional <a href="">marker box</a>
<td>''inline list-item''
<td>''inline flow list-item''
<td><a>inline box</a>
with additional <a href="">marker box</a>
<tbody title="Formatting Context Root Display Types">
<td>''block flex''
<td><a>block-level</a> <a>flex container</a>
<td>''inline flex''
<td><a>inline-level</a> <a>flex container</a>
<td>''block grid''
<td><a>block-level</a> <a>grid container</a>
<td>''inline grid''
<td><a>inline-level</a> <a>grid container</a>
<td>''inline ruby''
<td><a>inline-level</a> <a>ruby container</a>
<td>''block ruby''
<td>''block ruby''
<td><a>block box</a> containing <a>ruby container</a>
<td>''block table''
<td><a>block-level</a> <a>table wrapper box</a> containing <a>table grid box</a>
<td>''inline table''
<td><a>inline-level</a> <a>table wrapper box</a> containing <a>table grid box</a>
<tbody title="Layout-internal display types">
<td>''table-cell flow-root''
<td>table cell <a>block container</a>
<td>''table-caption flow-root''
<td>table cell <a>block container</a>
<td>''ruby-base flow''
<td><a href="#layout-specific-display">layout-specific internal box</a>
<td>''ruby-text flow''
<td><a href="#layout-specific-display">layout-specific internal box</a>
<td><<display-internal>> types
<td><a href="#layout-specific-display">layout-specific internal box</a>
Note: Following the precedence rules of “most backwards-compatible, then shortest”,
serialization of equivalent 'display' values uses the “Short 'display'” column.
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<h3 id="outer-role">
Outer Display Roles for Flow Layout: the ''block'', ''inline'', and ''run-in'' keywords</h3>
The <<display-outside>> keywords specify the element's <a>outer display type</a>,
which is essentially its [=principal box’s=] role in <a>flow layout</a>.
They are defined as follows:
<dl dfn-type="value" dfn-for="display, <display-outside>">
The element generates a box that is
<dfn export dfn for lt="block-level box">block-level</dfn>
when placed in <a>flow layout</a>. [[!CSS2]]
The element generates a box that is
<dfn export dfn for lt="inline-level box">inline-level</dfn>
when placed in <a>flow layout</a>. [[!CSS2]]
The element generates an <a>run-in box</a>,
which is a type of <a>inline-level box</a>
with special behavior that attempts to merge it into a subsequent block container.
See [[#run-in-layout]] for details.
Note: [=Outer display types=] do affect [=replaced elements=].
If a <<display-outside>> value is specified but <<display-inside>> is omitted,
the element's <a>inner display type</a> defaults to ''flow''.
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<h3 id="inner-model">
Inner Display Layout Models: the ''flow'', ''flow-root'', ''table'', ''flex'', ''grid'', and ''ruby'' keywords</h3>
The <<display-inside>> keywords specify the element's <a>inner display type</a>,
which defines the type of formatting context that lays out its contents
(assuming it is a <a lt="replaced element">non-replaced element</a>).
They are defined as follows:
<dl dfn-type="value" dfn-for="display, <display-inside>">
The element lays out its contents using <dfn dfn for export>flow layout</dfn>
(<a href="">block-and-inline layout</a>).
If its <a>outer display type</a> is ''inline'' or ''run-in'',
and it is participating in a
<a lt="block formatting context">block</a>
or <a lt="inline formatting context">inline</a>
formatting context,
then it generates an <a>inline box</a>.
Otherwise it generates a <a>block container</a> box.
Depending on the value of other properties (such as 'position', 'float', or 'overflow')
and whether it is itself participating in a block or inline <a>formatting context</a>,
it either establishes a new <a>block formatting context</a> for its contents
or integrates its contents into its parent <a>formatting context</a>.
See <a href="">CSS2.1 Chapter 9</a>. [[!CSS2]]
A <a>block container</a> that establishes a new <a>block formatting context</a>
is considered to have a used <a>inner display type</a> of ''flow-root''.
The element generates a <a>block container</a> box,
and lays out its contents using <a>flow layout</a>.
It always establishes a new <a>block formatting context</a> for its contents. [[!CSS2]]
The element generates a principal <a>table wrapper box</a>
that establishes a <a>block formatting context</a>,
and which contains
an additionally-generated <a>table grid box</a>
that establishes a <a>table formatting context</a>. [[!CSS2]]
The element generates a principal <a>flex container</a> box
and establishes a <a>flex formatting context</a>. [[!CSS-FLEXBOX-1]]
The element generates a principal <a>grid container</a> box,
and establishes a <a>grid formatting context</a>. [[!CSS-GRID-1]]
(Grids using ''subgrid'' might not generate a new [=grid formatting context=];
see [[CSS-GRID-2]] for details.)
The element generates a <a>ruby container</a> box
and establishes a <a>ruby formatting context</a>
in addition to integrating its base-level contents
into its parent <a>formatting context</a>
(if it is inline)
or generating a wrapper box of the appropriate <a>outer display type</a>
(if it is not). [[!CSS-RUBY-1]]
If a <<display-inside>> value is specified but <<display-outside>> is omitted,
the element's <a>outer display type</a> defaults to ''block''--
except for ''ruby'', which defaults to ''inline''.
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<h3 id="list-items">
Generating Marker Boxes: the ''list-item'' keyword</h3>
The <dfn value for="display, <display-list-item>">list-item</dfn> keyword
causes the element to generate a ''::marker'' pseudo-element [[!CSS-PSEUDO-4]]
with the content specified by its <l spec=css2>'list-style'</l> properties
(<a href="">CSS 2.1§12.5 Lists</a>) [[!CSS2]]
together with a principal box of the specified type for its own contents.
If no <a>inner display type</a> value is specified,
the principal box's <a>inner display type</a> defaults to ''flow''.
If no <a>outer display type</a> value is specified,
the principal box's <a>outer display type</a> defaults to ''block''.
Note: In this level, as restricted in the grammar,
list-items are limited to the <a>Flow Layout</a> display types
(''block''/''inline''/''run-in'' with ''flow''/''flow-root'' inner types).
This restriction may be relaxed in a future level of this module.
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<h3 id="layout-specific-display">
Layout-Internal Display Types: the ''table-*'' and ''ruby-*'' keywords</h3>
Some layout models, such as ''table'' and ''ruby'',
have a complex internal structure,
with several different roles that their children and descendants can fill.
This section defines those “<dfn export>layout-internal</dfn>” 'display' values,
which only have meaning within that particular layout mode.
Unless otherwise specified,
both the <a>inner display type</a> and the <a>outer display type</a>
of elements using these 'display' values
are set to the given keyword.
When the 'display' property of a [=replaced element=] computes to
one of the [=layout-internal=] values,
it is handled as having a used value of ''display/inline''.
White space collapsing and anonymous box generation must happen around those replaced elements
based on that ''display/inline'' value,
as if they never had a [=layout-internal=] display value applied to them.
Advisement: Authors should not assign a [=layout-internal=] display value to [=replaced elements=].
The <<display-internal>> keywords are defined as follows:
<dl export dfn-type=value dfn-for="display, <display-internal>">
<dt><dfn>table-row-group</dfn>, <dfn>table-header-group</dfn>, <dfn>table-footer-group</dfn>, <dfn>table-row</dfn>, <dfn>table-cell</dfn>, <dfn>table-column-group</dfn>, <dfn>table-column</dfn>
The element is an <dfn dfn for>internal table element</dfn>.
It generates the appropriate <dfn dfn for>internal table box</dfn>
which participates in a <a>table formatting context</a>.
See <a href="">CSS2&sect;17.2</a> [[!CSS2]].
''table-cell'' boxes have a ''flow-root'' <a>inner display type</a>.
The element generates a <dfn dfn for>table caption box</dfn>,
which is a <a>block box</a> with special behavior with respect to table and table wrapper boxes.
See <a href="">CSS2&sect;17.2</a> [[!CSS2]].
''table-caption'' boxes have a ''flow-root'' <a>inner display type</a>.
<dt><dfn>ruby-base</dfn>, <dfn>ruby-text</dfn>, <dfn>ruby-base-container</dfn>, <dfn>ruby-text-container</dfn>
The element is an <dfn dfn for>internal ruby element</dfn>.
It generates the appropriate <dfn dfn for>internal ruby box</dfn>
which participates in a <a>ruby formatting context</a>. [[!CSS-RUBY-1]]
''ruby-base'' and ''ruby-text'' have a ''flow'' <a>inner display type</a>.
Boxes with layout-specific display types generate anonymous wrapper boxes around themselves
when placed in an incompatible parent,
as defined by their respective specifications.
<div class='example'>
For example, Table Layout requires that a ''table-cell'' box
must have a ''table-row'' parent box.
If it is misparented, like so:
<pre class="lang-markup">
&lt;div style="display:block;">
&lt;div style="display:table-cell">...&lt;/div>
It will generate wrapper boxes around itself,
producing a structure like:
block box
└anonymous table box
└anonymous table-row-group box
└anonymous table-row box
└table-cell box
Even if the parent is another <a>internal table element</a>,
if it's not the <em>correct</em> one,
wrapper boxes will be generated.
For example, in the following markup:
<pre class="lang-markup">
&lt;div style="display:table;">
&lt;div style="display:table-row">
&lt;div style="display:table-cell">...&lt;/div>
Anonymous wrapper box generation will produce:
table box
└anonymous table-row-group box
└table-row box
└table-cell box
This "fix-up" ensures that table layout has a predictable structure to operate on.
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<h3 id="box-generation">
Box Generation: the ''display/none'' and ''display/contents'' keywords</h3>
While 'display' can control the <em>types</em> of boxes an element will generate,
it can also control whether an element will generate any boxes at all.
The <<display-box>> keywords are defined as follows:
<dl dfn-type=value dfn-for="display, <display-box>">
The element itself does not generate any boxes,
but its children and pseudo-elements still generate <a>boxes</a> and <a>text runs</a> as normal.
For the purposes of box generation and layout,
the element must be treated as if it had been replaced in the [=element tree=]
by its contents
(including both its source-document children and its pseudo-elements,
such as ''::before'' and ''::after'' pseudo-elements,
which are generated before/after the element's children as normal).
Note: As only the box tree is affected,
any semantics based on the document tree,
such as selector-matching, event handling,
and property <a>inheritance</a>,
are not affected.
<strong>As of writing, however,
<a href="">this is not implemented correctly in major browsers</a>,
so using this feature on the Web must be done with care
as it can prevent accessibility tools
from accessing the element’s semantics.</strong>
This value computes to ''display: none'' on replaced elements
and other elements whose rendering is not entirely controlled by CSS;
see [[#unbox]] for details.
Note: Replaced elements and form controls are treated specially
because removing only the element’s own generating box
is a more-or-less undefined operation.
As this behavior may be refined if use cases
(and more precise rendering models) develop,
authors should use ''display: none'' rather than ''display: contents''
on such elements for forward-compatibility.
The [=CSS/element=] and its descendants generate no <a>boxes</a> or <a>text runs</a>.
Similarly, if a <a>text node</a> is defined to behave as ''display: none'',
it generates no <a>text runs</a>.
Elements with either of these values do not have <a>inner</a> or <a>outer display types</a>,
because they don't generate any boxes at all.
Note: As these values cause affected elements to not generate a box,
anonymous box generation rules will ignore the elided elements entirely,
as if they did not exist in the box tree.
Markup-based relationships, however, are not affected by these values,
as they are solely rendering-time effects.
<span class=non-normative>
For example,
although they may affect which table cell <em>appears</em> in a column,
they do not affect which table cell is associated with a particular column <em>element</em>.
Similarly, they cannot affect which HTML <{summary}> element is associated with a particular table
or whether a <{legend}> is considered to be labelling the contents of a particular <{fieldset}>.
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<h3 id='legacy-display'>
Precomposed Inline-level Display Values</h3>
CSS level 2 used a single-keyword syntax for 'display',
requiring separate keywords for block-level and inline-level variants of the same layout mode.
These <<display-legacy>> keywords map as follows:
<dl dfn-type=value dfn-for="display, <display-legacy>">
Computes to ''inline flow-root''.
Computes to ''inline table''.
Computes to ''inline flex''.
Computes to ''inline grid''.
Note: Although these keywords and their equivalents compute to the same value,
their [=specified values=] remain distinct.
Note: The {{Window/getComputedStyle()}} serialization rules
will always output these precomposed keywords
rather than the equivalent two-keyword pairs
due to the [[cssom#serializing-css-values|shortest, most backwards-compatible serialization principle]].
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<h3 id='transformations'>
Automatic Box Type Transformations</h3>
Some layout effects require <dfn export lt="blockify|blockification">blockification</dfn>
or <dfn export lt="inlinify|inlinification">inlinification</dfn> of the box type,
which sets the box’s [=computed value|computed=] <a>outer display type</a>
to ''block'' or ''inline'' (respectively).
(This has no effect on <a>display types</a> that generate no box at all,
such as ''display/none'' or ''display/contents''.)
* If a [=block box=] (''block flow'') is <a>inlinified</a>,
its <a>inner display type</a> is set to ''flow-root''
so that it remains a block container.
* If an [=inline box=] (''inline flow'') is <a>inlinified</a>,
it recursively <a>inlinifies</a> all of its in-flow children,
so that no block-level descendants
break up the inline formatting context in which it participates.
* For legacy reasons,
if an [=inline block box=] (''inline flow-root'')
is <a>blockified</a>,
it becomes a ''block'' box
(losing its ''flow-root'' nature).
For consistency,
a ''run-in flow-root'' box
also [=blockifies=]
to a ''block'' box.
* If a [=layout-internal=] box is <a>blockified</a>,
its [=inner display type=] converts to ''flow''
so that it becomes a <a>block container</a>.
<a>Inlinification</a> has no effect on <a>layout-internal</a> boxes.
(However, placement in such an inline context
will typically cause them to be wrapped
in an appropriately-typed anonymous inline-level box.)
Note: There are two methods used to fix up box types when a box is mismatched to its context.
One is transformation of the <a>computed value</a> of 'display', such as <a>blockification</a> and <a>inlinification</a> described here.
The other, taking place during [[#intro|box tree construction]] (after computed values have been determined),
is the creation of intermediary anonymous boxes,
such as happens in <a href="">tables</a>,
and <a href="">flow</a> layout.
<div class='example'>
Some examples of computed-value fixup include:
<li>Absolute positioning or floating an element <a>blockifies</a> the box’s display type. [[CSS2]]
<li>Containment in a <a spec=css-ruby>ruby container</a> <a>inlinifies</a> the box’s display type, as described in [[CSS-RUBY-1]].
<li>A parent with a ''grid'' or ''flex'' 'display' value <a>blockifies</a> the box’s display type. [[CSS-GRID-1]] [[CSS-FLEXBOX-1]]
The root element’s display type is always <a>blockified</a>.
Additionally, a 'display' of ''display/contents'' computes to ''block'' on the root element.
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<h2 id='box-suppress'>
Toggling Box Generation: the 'display-or-not' property</h2>
<pre class="propdef">
Name: display-or-not
Value: show | discard | hide
Initial: show
Applies to: all elements
Inherited: no
Percentages: n/a
Computed value: as specified
<p class=all-media>User agents are expected to support this property on all media, including non-visual ones.
The ''display: none'' value was historically used as a "toggle"
to switch between showing and hiding an element.
Making this reversible requires either setting up the CSS <a>cascade</a> carefully,
or remembering what the 'display' value was before it was set to ''display/none''.
To make this common use-case easier,
this module introduces the separate 'display-or-not' property to do the same thing,
so that toggling whether or not an element appears in the formatting tree
can now be done without affecting its display type when it <em>is</em> displayed.
Issue: This property (which needs a better name)
along with a <css>display-type</css> (or possibly <css>display-as</css>) longhand
which takes all values of 'display' other than ''display/none'',
are intended to be longhands of 'display'.
This has not yet been edited in, as this split feature is likely to be deferred to the next level
in order to have time to thoroughly work through and accommodate the
<a href="">various use cases</a> for showing/hiding an element.
Values have the following meanings:
<dl dfn-type="value" dfn-for="display-or-not">
The element generates boxes as normal,
per its 'display-*' properties.
The element generates no boxes at all.
The element generates boxes as normal,
but those boxes do not participate in layout in any way,
and must not be displayed.
For the purpose of any layout-related information,
such as querying for the computed value of the element's 'width' property,
it must be treated as if it did not generate any boxes.
Properties that rely on boxes but do not rely on layout,
such as animations, 'counter-increment', etc.,
must work as normal on this element and its descendants.
Issue: This needs more clarity about what "layout-related" and "participates in layout" means.
Does the box still generate anonymous boxes, etc.? How does it affect speech?
See <a href="">proposal</a>.
Issue: We welcome better naming suggestions on this property.
Issue: Please send use cases (examples of where this property or something close to it is useful and necessary)
<a href="">to the CSSWG</a> so that we can be sure we're designing the details of its behavior correctly.
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<h2 id='order-property'>
Display Order: the 'order' property</h2>
<pre class='propdef'>
Name: order
Value: <<integer>>
Initial: 0
Applies to: [=flex items=] and [=grid items=]
Inherited: no
Computed value: specified integer
Animation type: by computed value type
<wpt pathprefix="css/css-flexbox/">
Boxes are generally displayed and laid out
in the same order as they appear in the source document.
In some [=formatting contexts=],
the 'order' property can be used to rearrange the order of boxes
to deliberately create a divergence
of the logical order of elements
and their spatial arrangement on the 2D visual canvas.
(See [[#order-accessibility]].)
the 'order' property controls the order in which
[=flex items=] or [=grid items=] appear within their container,
by assigning them to ordinal groups.
It takes a single <dfn value for=order><<integer>></dfn> value,
which specifies which ordinal group the item belongs to.
<div class='example'>
Here's an example of a catalog item card
which has a title, a photo, and a description.
Within each entry, the source document content is ordered logically
with the title first, followed by the description and the photo.
This provides a sensible ordering for speech rendering and in non-CSS browsers.
For a more compelling visual presentation, however,
'order' is used to pull the image up from later in the content to the top of the card.
<pre class="lang-css"> {
display: flex;
flex-flow: column;
} > img {
order: -1; /* Shift image before other content (in visual order) */
align-self: center;
<pre class="lang-markup">
&lt;article class="sale-item">
&lt;h1>Computer Starter Kit&lt;/h1>
&lt;p>This is the best computer money can buy, if you don’t have much money.
&lt;img src="images/computer.jpg"
alt="You get: a white desktop computer with matching peripherals.">
<div id="order-example">
<img src="images/computer.jpg" alt='You get: a white desktop computer with matching keyboard and monitor.'>
<h1 id=quiet-pubrules-1 style="font-size: 1.4em;">Computer Starter Kit</h1>
This is the best computer money can buy,
if you don't have much money.
An example rendering of the code above.
#order-example {
flex-flow: column;
margin: 0 auto 1em;
color: black;
background: white;
max-width: 250px;
padding: 0 1rem;
text-align: left;
border: thick solid;
#order-example > h1 {
color: black;
#order-example > img {
order: -1;
align-self: center;
max-width: 100%;
margin-inline: -1em;
[=flex container|Flex=] and [=grid containers=] lay out their contents
in <dfn export>order-modified document order</dfn>,
starting from the lowest numbered ordinal group and going up.
Items with the same ordinal group are laid out in the order they appear in the source document.
This also affects the <a href="">painting order</a> [[!CSS2]],
exactly as if the [=flex item|flex=]/[=grid items=] were reordered in the source document.
Absolutely-positioned children of a [=flex container|flex=]/[=grid container=]
are treated as having ''order: 0''
for the purpose of determining their painting order relative to [=flex item|flex=]/[=grid items=].
Unless otherwise specified by a future specification,
this property has no effect on boxes that are not [=flex items=] or [=grid items=].
<h3 id="order-accessibility">
Reordering and Accessibility</h3>
The 'order' property <em>does not</em> affect ordering in non-visual media
(such as <a href="">speech</a>).
Likewise, 'order' does not affect
the default traversal order of sequential navigation modes
(such as cycling through links, see e.g. <a href=""><code>tabindex</code></a> [[HTML]]).
Authors <em>must</em> use 'order' only for visual, not logical, reordering of content.
Style sheets that use 'order' to perform logical reordering are non-conforming.
Note: This is so that non-visual media and non-CSS UAs,
which typically present content linearly,
can rely on a logical source order,
while 'order' is used to tailor the visual order.
(Since visual perception is two-dimensional and non-linear,
the desired visual order is not always logical.)
In order to preserve the author's intended ordering in all presentation modes,
authoring tools--
including WYSIWYG editors as well as Web-based authoring aids--
must reorder the underlying document source
and not use 'order' to perform reordering
unless the author has explicitly indicated that the underlying
document order (which determines speech and navigation order) should be
<em>out-of-sync</em> with the visual order.
<div class="example">
For example, a tool might offer both drag-and-drop reordering of flex items
as well as handling of media queries for alternate layouts per screen size range.
Since most of the time, reordering should affect all screen ranges
as well as navigation and speech order,
the tool would perform drag-and-drop reordering at the DOM layer.
In some cases, however, the author may want different visual orderings per screen size.
The tool could offer this functionality by using 'order' together with media queries,
but also tie the smallest screen size's ordering to the underlying DOM order
(since this is most likely to be a logical linear presentation order)
while using 'order' to determine the visual presentation order in other size ranges.
This tool would be conformant, whereas a tool that only ever used 'order'
to handle drag-and-drop reordering
(however convenient it might be to implement it that way)
would be non-conformant.
Note: User agents, including browsers, accessible technology, and extensions,
may offer spatial navigation features.
This section does not preclude respecting the 'order' property
when determining element ordering in such spatial navigation modes;
indeed it would need to be considered for such a feature to work.
But 'order' is not the only (or even the primary) CSS property
that would need to be considered for such a spatial navigation feature.
A well-implemented spatial navigation feature would need to consider
all the layout features of CSS that modify spatial relationships.
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<h2 id="visibility">
Invisibility: the 'visibility' property</h2>
<pre class="propdef">
Name: visibility
Value: visible | hidden | collapse
Initial: visible
Applies to: all elements
Inherited: yes
Percentages: N/A
Media: visual
Computed Value: as specified
Animation type: discrete
The 'visibility' property specifies whether the box is rendered.
[=Invisible=] boxes still affect layout.
(Set the 'display' property to ''display/none'' to suppress box generation altogether.).
Values have the following meanings:
<dl dfn-for=visibility dfn-type=value>
The generated box is visible, as normal.
Any boxes generated by the element are [=invisible=].
Descendants of the element can, however, be visible
if they have ''visibility: visible''.
Indicates that the box is <dfn dfn for noexport>collapsed</dfn>,
which can cause it to take up less space than otherwise
in a formatting-context&ndash;specific way.
See <a href="">dynamic row and column effects in tables</a> [[!CSS2]]
and [[css-flexbox-1#visibility-collapse|collapsed flex items]] in flex layout [[!CSS-FLEXBOX-1]].
In all other cases, however,
(i.e. unless otherwise specified)
this simply makes the box [=invisible=],
just like ''visibility/hidden''.
Note: Currently, many user agents and/or accessibility tools
don't correctly implement the accessibility implications of
visible elements with semantic relationships to [=invisible=] elements,
so, for example,
making parent elements with special roles (such as table rows) [=invisible=]
while leaving child elements with special roles (such as table cells) visible
can be problematic for users of those tools.
Authors should avoid creating these situations
until the tooling situation improves.
<dfn>Invisible</dfn> boxes are not rendered
(as if they were fully transparent),
cannot be interacted with
(and behave as if they had ''pointer-events: none''),
are removed from navigation
(similar to ''display: none''),
and are also not rendered to speech
(except when 'speak' is ''speak/always'' [[CSS-SPEECH-1]]).
However, as with ''display: contents'',
their semantic role as a container is not affected,
to ensure that any ''visibility/visible'' descendants
are properly interpreted.
Note: If 'speak' is ''speak/always'',
an otherwise [=invisible=] box
<em>is</em> rendered to speech,
and may be interacted with using non-visual/spatial methods.
<div class=example>
While temporarily hiding things with ''display: none''
is often sufficient,
doing so removes the elements from layout entirely,
possibly causing unwanted movement or reflow of the page
when an element is hidden or shown.
''visibility: hidden'' can instead be used
to keep the page's layout stable
as something is hidden and displayed.
For example,
here is a (deliberately simplified) possible implementation of a "spoiler" element
that can be revealed by clicking on the hidden text:
<xmp highlight=markup>
<p>The symbolism earlier in the movie becomes obvious at the end,
when it's revealed that <spoiler-text><span>Luke is his own father</span></spoiler-text>,
making the wizard's cryptic riddles meaningful.
spoiler-text { border-bottom: 1px solid; }
spoiler-text > span { visibility: hidden; }
spoiler-text.shown > span { visibility: visible; }
el.addEventListener("click", e=>el.classList.toggle("shown"));
Advisement: This example is deliberately significantly simplified.
It is missing a number of accessiblity and UX features
that a well-designed spoiler element would have
to show off the 'visibility' usage more plainly.
Don't copy this code for a real site.
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<h2 id='run-in-layout'>
Run-In Layout</h2>
A <dfn export lt="run-in | run-in box">run-in box</dfn>
is a box that <em>merges into</em> a block that comes after it,
inserting itself at the beginning of that block’s inline-level content.
This is useful for formatting compact headlines, definitions, and other similar things,
where the appropriate DOM structure is to have a headline preceding the following prose,
but the desired display is an inline headline laying out with the text.
<div class="example">
For example, dictionary definitions are often formatted so that the word is inline with the definition:
&lt;dl class='dict'>
&lt;dd>a book that lists the words of a language in alphabetical
order and gives their meaning, or that gives the equivalent
words in a different language.
&lt;dd>an alphabetical list of terms or words found in or relating
to a specific subject, text, or dialect, with explanations; a
brief dictionary.
.dict > dt {
display: run-in;
.dict > dt::after {
content: ": "
Which is formatted as:
<b>dictionary:</b> a book that lists the words of a language
in alphabetical order and explains their meaning.
<b>glossary:</b> an alphabetical list of terms or words found
in or relating to a specific subject, text, or dialect,
with explanations; a brief dictionary.
A <a>run-in box</a> behaves exactly as any other <a>inline-level box</a>, except:
A <a>run-in box</a> with a ''flow'' <a>inner display type</a> <a>inlinifies</a> its contents.
If a <a>run-in sequence</a> is immediately followed by a block box
that does not establish a new <a>block formatting context</a>,
it is inserted as direct children of that block box:
after its ''::marker'' pseudo-element's boxes (if any),
but preceding any other boxes generated by the contents of the block
(including the box generated by the ''::before'' pseudo-element, if any).
This re-parenting recurses if possible
(so that the run-in effectively becomes
part of the deepest subsequent “paragraph” in its formatting context,
collecting newly-adjacent run-ins as it goes).
The reparented content is then formatted as if originally parented there.
<span class='note'>Note that only layout is affected, not inheritance,
because property inheritance for non-anonymous boxes is based only on the element tree.</span>
(if the <a>run-in sequence</a> is <em>not</em> followed by such a block),
an anonymous block box is generated around the <a>run-in sequence</a>
and all immediately following inline-level content
(up to, but not including, the next <a>run-in sequence</a>, if any).
A <dfn>run-in sequence</dfn> is a maximal sequence of consecutive sibling <a>run-in boxes</a>
and intervening <a>white space</a> and/or out-of-flow boxes.
Note: This statement implies that out-of-flow boxes are reparented
if they are between two run-in boxes.
Another alternative would be to leave behind the intervening out-of-flow boxes,
or to have out-of-flow boxes impede the running-in of earlier boxes.
Implementers and authors are encouraged to contact the CSSWG if they have a preferred behavior, as this one was picked somewhat at random.
This fixup occurs before the anonymous block and inline box fixup described in <a href="">CSS2&sect;9.2</a>,
and affects the determination of the <a>first formatted line</a>
of the affected elements
as if the <a>run-in sequence</a> were originally
in its final location in the box tree.
Note: As the earliest run-in represents the first text on the <a>first formatted line</a> of its containing block,
a ''::first-letter'' pseudo-element applied to that block element
selects the first letter of the run-in,
rather than the first letter of its own contents.
Note: This run-in model is slightly different from the one proposed in earlier revisions of [[!CSS2]].
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<h2 id='glossary' class=no-num>
Appendix A: Glossary</h2>
The following terms are defined here for convenience:
<dl export>
<dt><dfn>principal box</dfn>
When an [=CSS/element=] generates one or more [=boxes=],
one of them is the [=principal box=],
which contains its descendant boxes and generated content,
and is also the box involved in any positioning scheme.
Some elements may generate additional boxes in addition to the principal box
(such as ''display/list-item'' elements,
which generate an additional marker box,
or ''display/table'' elements,
which generate a [=principal box|principal=] [=table wrapper box=]
and an additional [=table grid box=]).
These additional boxes are placed with respect to the principal box.
<dt><dfn lt="inline-level|inline-level content">inline-level</dfn>
Content that participates in inline layout.
Specifically, inline-level boxes and [=text runs=].
<dt><dfn lt="block-level|block-level content">block-level</dfn>
Content that participates in [=block layout=].
Specifically, block-level boxes.
<dt><dfn>inline box</dfn>
A non-replaced <a>inline-level</a> box whose <a>inner display type</a> is ''flow''.
The contents of an inline box participate in the same inline formatting context as the inline box itself.
Used as a shorthand for <a>inline box</a> or <a>inline-level box</a>
where unambiguous,
or as an adjective meaning <a>inline-level</a>.
The latter usage is deprecated.
<dt><dfn lt="atomic inline|atomic inline box">atomic inline</dfn>
An inline-level box that is replaced (such as an image)
or that establishes a new formatting context (such as an ''inline-block'' or ''inline-table'')
and cannot split across lines
(as <a>inline boxes</a> and <a>ruby containers</a> can).
Any inline-level box whose <a>inner display type</a> is not ''flow''
establishes a new formatting context of the specified <a>inner display type</a>.
<dt><dfn lt="block container|block container box">block container</dfn>
A block container either contains only inline-level boxes
participating in an <a>inline formatting context</a>,
or contains only block-level boxes
participating in a <a>block formatting context</a>
(possibly generating anonymous block boxes to ensure this constraint,
as defined in <a href="">CSS2&sect;</a>).
A block container that contains only inline-level content
establishes a new <a>inline formatting context</a>.
The element then also generates a <a>root inline box</a>
which wraps all of its inline content.
<span class=note>Note, this <a>root inline box</a> concept
effectively replaces the "anonymous inline element" concept
introduced in <a href="">CSS2&sect;</a>.</span>
A block container establishes a new <a>block formatting context</a>
if its parent formatting context is <em>not</em> a <a>block formatting context</a>;
otherwise, when participating in a <a>block formatting context</a> itself,
it either establishes a new <a>block formatting context</a> for its contents
or continues the one in which it participates,
as determined by the constraints of other properties
(such as 'overflow' or 'align-content').
Note: A block container box can both establish a block formatting context
<em>and</em> an inline formatting context simultaneously.
<dt><dfn>block box</dfn>
A <a>block-level box</a> that is also a <a>block container</a>.
Note: Not all <a>block container</a> boxes are <a>block-level</a> boxes:
non-replaced <a>inline blocks</a> and non-replaced table cells,
for example, are block containers
but not block-level boxes.
Similarly, not all block-level boxes are block containers:
block-level replaced elements (''display: block'')
and flex containers (''display: flex''), for example,
are not block containers.
Used as a shorthand for <a>block box</a>, <a>block-level box</a>, or <a>block container box</a>,
where unambiguous.
<dt><dfn lt="replaced element|replaced">replaced element</dfn>
An element whose content is outside the scope of the CSS formatting model,
such as an image or embedded document.
<span class=non-normative>
For example, the content of the HTML <{img}> element
is often replaced by the image that its <{img/src}> attribute designates.
Replaced elements often have [=natural dimensions=].
For example, a bitmap image has a natural width and a natural height specified in absolute units
(from which the natural ratio can obviously be determined).
On the other hand, other objects may not have any natural dimensions
(for example, a blank HTML document).
See [[css-images-3]].
User agents may consider a [=replaced element=] to not have any [=natural dimensions=]
if it is believed that those dimensions could leak sensitive information to a third party.
For example, if an HTML document changed natural size depending on the user's bank balance,
then the UA might want to act as if that resource had no [=natural dimensions=].
The content of replaced elements is not considered in the CSS formatting model;
however, their [=natural dimensions=] are used in various layout calculations.
Replaced elements always establish an [=independent formatting context=].
A <dfn lt="non-replaced | non-replaced element">non-replaced</dfn> element is one that is not <a>replaced</a>,
i.e. whose rendering is dictated by the CSS model.
<dt><dfn>containing block</dfn>
A rectangle that forms the basis of sizing and positioning
for the [=boxes=] associated with it.
Notably, a [=containing block=] is <em>not a [=box=]</em>
(it is a rectangle),
however it is often derived from the dimensions of a [=box=].
Each [=box=] is given a position with respect to its [=containing block=],
but it is not confined by this [=containing block=];
it can [=overflow=].
The phrase “a box’s containing block” means
“the [=containing block=] in which the box lives,”
not the one it generates.
In general, the [=box edge|edges=] of a [=box=]
act as the [=containing block=] for descendant boxes;
we say that a box “establishes”
the [=containing block=] for its descendants.
If properties of a [=containing block=] are referenced,
they reference the values on the [=box=] that generated the [=containing block=].
(For the <a>initial containing block</a>,
values are taken from the root element
unless otherwise specified.)
See [[CSS2]] <a href="">Section 9.1.2</a>
and <a href="">Section 10.1</a>
and [[CSS-POSITION-3#def-cb]] for details.
<dt><dfn>containing block chain</dfn>
A sequence of successive <a>containing blocks</a>
that form an ancestor-descendant chain
through the <a>containing block</a> relation.
For example, an <a>inline box</a>’s containing block is the content box of its closest <a>block container</a> ancestor;
if that block container is an in-flow <a>block</a>,
then <em>its</em> containing block is formed by its parent <a>block container</a>;
if that grandparent <a>block container</a> is <a>absolutely positioned</a>,
then <em>its</em> containing block is the padding edges of its closest <em>positioned</em> ancestor (not necessarily its parent),
and so on up to the <a>initial containing block</a>.
<dt><dfn>initial containing block</dfn>
The <a>containing block</a> of the root element.
See <a href="">CSS2.1&sect;10.1</a> for [=continuous media=];
and [[!CSS-PAGE-3]] for [=paged media=].
<dt><dfn>formatting context</dfn>
A <a>formatting context</a> is the environment
into which a set of related boxes are laid out.
Different [=formatting contexts=] lay out their boxes
according to different rules.
For example, a <a>flex formatting context</a>
lays out boxes according to the <a>flex layout</a> rules [[CSS-FLEXBOX-1]],
whereas a <a>block formatting context</a>
lays out boxes according to the block-and-inline layout rules [[CSS2]].
Additionally, some types of [=formatting contexts=] interleave and co-exist:
for example, an [=inline formatting context=] exists within
and interacts with the [=block formatting context=]
of the element that establishes it,
and a [=ruby container=] overlays a [=ruby formatting context=]
over the [=inline formatting context=] in which its [=ruby base container=] participates.
A box either establishes a new [=independent formatting context=]
or continues the [=formatting context=] of its containing block.
In some cases,
it might additionally establish a new (non-independent) co-existing formatting context.
Unless otherwise specified, however,
establishing a new <a>formatting context</a>
creates an <a>independent formatting context</a>.
The type of formatting context established by the box
is determined by its <a>inner display type</a>.
E.g. a <a>grid container</a> establishes a new <a>grid formatting context</a>,
a <a>ruby container</a> establishes a new <a>ruby formatting context</a>,
and a <a>block container</a> can establish a new <a>block formatting context</a>
and/or a new <a>inline formatting context</a>.
See the 'display' property.
<dt><dfn>independent formatting context</dfn>
When a box establishes an independent formatting context
(whether that [=formatting context=] is of the same type as its parent or not),
it essentially creates a new, independent layout environment:
except through the sizing of the box itself,
the layout of its descendants is (generally)
not affected by the rules and contents of
the [=formatting context=] outside the box, and vice versa.
<p class="example">
For example, in a <a>block formatting context</a>,
floated boxes affect the layout of surrounding boxes.
But their effects do not escape their <a>formatting context</a>:
the box establishing their <a>formatting context</a> grows to fully contain them,
and floats from outside that box
are not allowed to protrude into and affect the contents
inside the box.
<p class="example">
As another example, margins do not collapse across [=formatting context=] boundaries.
<p class="note">
Exclusions are able to affect content across [=independent formatting context=] boundaries.
(At time of writing, they are the only layout feature that can.)
Certain properties can force a box to
<dfn lt="establish an independent formatting context|
establishes an independent formatting context|
establishing an independent formatting context|
established an independent formatting context">
establish an independent formatting context</dfn>
in cases where it wouldn't ordinarily.
For example,
making a box <a>out-of-flow</a>
causes it to <a>blockify</a> as well as to [=establish an independent formatting context=].
As another example,
certain values of the 'contain' property
can cause a box to <a>establish an independent formatting context</a>.
Turning a block into a <a>scroll container</a>
will cause it to <a>establish an independent formatting context</a>;
however turning a <a>subgrid</a> into a <a>scroll container</a> will not--
it continues to act as a subgrid,
with its contents participating in the layout of its parent <a>grid container</a>.
A [=block box=] that [=establishes an independent formatting context=]
establishes a new [=block formatting context=] for its contents.
In most other cases,
forcing a box to [=establish an independent formatting context=] is a no-op--
either the box already establishes an <a>independent formatting context</a>
(e.g. <a>flex containers</a>),
or it's not possible to establish a totally independent new formatting context on that type of box
(e.g. non-replaced <a>inline boxes</a>).
<dt><dfn>block formatting context</dfn>
<dt><dfn>inline formatting context</dfn>
[=block formatting context|Block=] and [=inline formatting contexts=] are defined in
<a href="">CSS 2.1 Section 9.4</a>.
[=Inline formatting contexts=] exist within
(are part of their containing)
[=block formatting contexts=];
for example, line boxes belonging to the [=inline formatting context=]
interact with floats belonging to the [=block formatting context=].
<dt><dfn>block layout</dfn>
The layout of [=block-level boxes=],
performed within a [=block formatting context=].
<dt><dfn>block formatting context root</dfn>
A <a>block container</a>
that establishes a new <a>block formatting context</a>.
Abbreviation for <a>block formatting context</a> or
<a>block formatting context root</a>.
Has various informal definitions referring to boxes which
contain internal floats, exclude external floats, and suppress margin collapsing,
and may therefore refer specifically to one of:
* a <a>block container</a>
that establishes a new <a>block formatting context</a> for its contents
* a <a>block box</a> (i.e. a <a>block-level</a> block container)
that establishes a [=block formatting context=] for its contents
(as distinguished from a block box which does not)
* (very loosely) any block-level box that establishes a new [=formatting context=]
(other than an inline formatting context)
<dt><dfn lt="out of flow | out-of-flow">out-of-flow</dfn>
<dt><dfn lt="in flow | in-flow">in-flow</dfn>
A box is <a>out-of-flow</a> if it is
extracted from its expected position and interaction with surrounding content
and laid out using a different paradigm
outside the normal flow of content in its parent formatting context.
This occurs if the box is floated (via 'float')
or [=absolutely positioned=] (via 'position').
A box is <a>in-flow</a> if it is not <a>out-of-flow</a>.
Note: Some [=formatting contexts=] inhibit floating,
so that an element with ''float: left'' is not necessarily <a>out-of-flow</a>.
<dt><dfn>document order</dfn>
The order in which boxes or content occurs in the document
(which can be different from the order in which it appears for rendering).
For the purpose of determining the relative order of pseudo-elements,
the box-tree order is used,
see [[css-pseudo-4#treelike]].
See [[!CSS2]] <a href="">Chapter 9</a> for a fuller definition of these terms.
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<h2 class="no-num non-normative" id="unbox">
Appendix B: Effects of ''display: contents'' on Unusual Elements</h2>
<em>This section is (currently) non-normative.</em>
Some elements aren't rendered purely by CSS box concepts;
for example, replaced elements (such as <{img}>),
many form controls (such as <{input}>),
and SVG elements.
This appendix defines how they interact with ''display: contents''.
HTML Elements {#unbox-html}
: <{br}>
: <{wbr}>
: <{meter}>
: <{progress}>
: <{canvas}>
: <{embed}>
: <{object}>
: <{audio}>
: <{iframe}>
: <{img}>
: <{video}>
: <{frame}>
: <{frameset}>
: <{input}>
: <{textarea}>
: <{select}>
''display: contents'' computes to ''display: none''.
: <{legend}>
Per HTML, a <{legend}> with ''display: contents'' is not a [=rendered legend=],
so it does not have magical display behavior.
(Thus, it reacts to ''display: contents'' normally.)
: <{button}>
: <{details}>
: <{fieldset}>
These elements don't have any special behavior;
''display: contents'' simply removes their [=principal box=],
and their contents render as normal.
: any other HTML element
Behaves as normal for ''display: contents''.
SVG Elements {#unbox-svg}
: An <{svg}> element that has CSS box layout
(this includes all <{svg}> whose parent is an HTML element,
as well as document root elements)
''display: contents'' computes to ''display: none''.
: All other SVG [=container elements=] that are also [=renderable elements=]
: SVG [=text content child elements=]
: <{use}>
''display: contents'' strips the element from the formatting tree,
and hoists its contents up to display in its place.
These contents include the shadow-DOM content for <{use}>.
: any other SVG elements
''display: contents'' computes to ''display: none''.
<div class="note">
The intention here is that
the ''display: none'' behavior applies
whenever the "rendering context" inside the element
is different than the context outside of it.
If the element's child elements would not be valid children
of the element's parent,
you cannot simply hoist them up the formatting tree.
For example, text content and text formatting elements in SVG
require a <{text}> element context;
if you remove a <{text}>,
its child text content and elements are no longer valid.
For that reason, ''display: contents'' on <{text}>
prevents the entire text element from being rendered.
In contrast, any valid content inside a <{tspan}> or <{textPath}>
is also valid content inside the parent text formatting context,
so the hoisting behavior applies for these elements.
Similarly, if hoisting would convert the children from
[=non-rendered elements=]
(e.g., a shape inside a <{pattern}> or <{symbol}>)
to [=rendered elements=]
(e.g., a shape that is a direct child of the <{svg}>),
that is an invalid change of rendering context.
Never-rendered container elements therefore cannot be "un-boxed"
by ''display: contents''.
When an element is stripped from the formatting tree,
then any SVG attributes on that element
that control layout and visual formatting
are ignored when rendering the contents.
However, SVG [=presentation attributes=]--
which map to CSS properties--
continue to affect value processing and inheritance [[CSS-CASCADE-3]];
thus such attributes can affect
the layout and visual formatting of the element’s descendants
by influencing the values of such properties on those descendants.
The rule here should be,
if this attribute were mapped to a CSS property,
would it inherit or no?
If it wouldn't inherit, then it goes away with display: contents.
If it would inherit, then it behaves as if it did.
(Because there's been an ongoing trend of converting SVG attributes to CSS properties,
we wouldn't want to have any difference in behavior as that process continued.)
Note that some CSS properties that affect descendant content aren't inherited
because we needed to know exactly at which point in the tree they were applied
and/or because their effects accumulate.
The same is likely to be true of some SVG attributes.
MathML Elements {#unbox-mathml}
For all MathML elements,
''display: contents'' computes to ''display: none''.
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<h2 class=no-num id="box-guidelines">
Appendix C: Box Construction Guidelines for Spec Authors</h2>
<em>This section is non-normative guidance for specification authors.</em>
* A box cannot be <a>blockified</a> and <a>inlinified</a> at the same time;
if such a thing would occur,
define which wins over the other.
* Non-principal non-anonymous boxes can't be <a>blockified</a>:
blockification affects the element’s computed values
and thus determines the type of its <a>principal box</a>.
* Boxes which <a>blockify</a> their contents
can't directly contain <a>inline-level</a> content;
any boxes or text runs generated within such an element
must be <a>blockified</a>
or wrapped in an <a>anonymous</a> <a>block container</a>.
* Boxes which <a>inlinify</a> their contents
can't directly contain <a>block-level</a> boxes;
any boxes generated within such an element
must be <a>inline-level</a>.
* Boxes that fundamentally cannot establish an [=independent formatting context=]
(such as non-replaced inlines)
must not be asked to [=establish an independent formatting context=].
Blockify them first,
or otherwise change their box type to one that can establish an [=independent formatting context=].
<h2 class=no-num id="acknowledgments">
We would like to thank the many people who have attempted to separate out the disparate details of box generation over the years,
most particularly Bert Bos,
whose last attempt with 'display-model' and 'display-role' didn't get anywhere,
but primed us for the current spec;
Anton Prowse,
whose relentless assault on CSS2.1 Chapter 9 forced some order out of the chaos;
and Oriol Brufau,
who teased apart dozens of fine distinctions and errors in this spec.
Honorable mentions also go to David Baron, Mats Palmgren, Ilya Streltsyn,
and Boris Zbarsky for their feedback.
We would also like to thank the many JavaScript libraries such as jQuery
which have hacked around the "what 'display' should I give it when you call .show()?" problem,
making it extremely clear that something needed to be done on our part.
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<h2 class=no-num id="changes">
<h3 id="changes-2020">
Changes Since 2020 Candidate Recommendation</h3>
A <a href="">Disposition of Comments</a>
since the <a href="">19 May 2020 Candidate Recommendation</a> is available.
Changes since the <a href="">18 December 2020 Candidate Recommendation Draft</a>
<li id="change-move-order">
Pulled in the 'order' property definition from [[CSS-FLEXBOX-1]],
since it also applies to [=grid items=].
(<a href="">Issue 5865</a>)
<li id="change-import-visibility">
Imported the 'visibility' property definition from [[CSS2]]
and updated it to be more thorough and complete.
(<a href="">Issue 6123</a>)
<li id="change-internal-replaced">
Defined that [=replaced elements=] with a [=layout-internal=] 'display'
are treated as ''display: inline''.
(<a href="">Issue 6000</a>)
<li id="change-legacy-computation">
Clarified that the <<display-legacy>> values actually [=computed value|compute=]
to the same value as their two-keyword equivalents.
(<a href="">Issue 5575</a>)
<del>Behaves as</del> <ins>Computes to</ins> ''inline &hellip;''.
<p class="note"><ins>Note: Although these keywords and their equivalents compute to the same value,
their [=specified values=] remain distinct.</ins> <p class="note"><ins>Note: The {{Window/getComputedStyle()}} serialization rules
will always output these precomposed keywords
rather than the equivalent two-keyword pairs
due to the [[cssom#serializing-css-values|shortest, most backwards-compatible serialization principle]].</ins> </blockquote>
<li id="change-blockification-computed">
Clarified that [=blockification=] and [=inlinification=] are [=computed value=] changes.
(<a href="">Issue 6251</a>)
<p>Some layout effects require [=blockification=]
or [=inlinification=] of the box type,
which sets the box’s <ins>[=computed value|computed=]</ins> <a>outer display type</a>
to ''block'' or ''inline'' (respectively).
<li id="change-block-layout-def">
Added definition for [=block layout=] to glossary, for convenience.
<li id="change-grid-refs">
Updated references to <a href="">CSS Grid Layout</a>.
Previous changes since the <a href="">19 May 2020 Candidate Recommendation</a>
consist only of minor editorial clarifications and cross-linking improvements.
<h3 id="changes-2019">
Changes Since 2019 Candidate Recommendation</h3>
Changes since the <a href="">11 July 2019 Candidate Recommendation</a>
<li id="change-containing-block">
Merged in additional prose from [[!CSS2]] into the definition of [=containing block=].
<li id="change-dom-ignore">
Clarified that, for the purpose of CSS, DOM nodes other than elements and text are ignored.
<p><ins>(Some source documents start from more complex trees,
such as the DOM,
which can have comment nodes
and other types of things.
For the purposes of CSS,
all of these additional types of nodes are ignored,
as if they didn't exist.)</ins>
<li id="change-abspos-glossary">
Improved/moved glossary definitions relating to [=absolute positioning=].
Changes since the <a href="">28 August 2018 Candidate Recommendation</a>
<li id="change-parent">
Defined box tree parentage; see <a>parent box</a>.
<li id="change-abspos">
Added definition of <a>absolutely positioned</a> to the glossary;
<a href="">copied from CSS2</a> for easier referencing.
<li id="change-bidi-fragment">
Added cross-references to various forms of fragmentation in [[#intro]].
<li id="change-table-grid-box">
Renamed “table box” to “table grid box” to more easily distinguish from “table wrapper box”.
<li id="change-body-propagation">
Added “unless otherwise specified” to root &rarr; initial containing block propagation,
since there are some regrettable special exceptions for the HTML <{body}> element.
<h3 id="changes-wd">
Changes Prior to Candidate Recommendation Status</h3>
A <a href="">Disposition of Comments</a> is available.
Changes since the <a href="">20 April 2018 Working Draft</a> include:
Elements with ''display: contents'' that behave as ''display: none'' now <em>compute to</em> ''display: none''.
(<a href="">Issue 2755</a>)
Distinguished “new” <a>formatting context</a> from <a>independent formatting context</a> since certain formatting contexts layer.
(<a href="">Issue 2597</a>,
<a href="">Issue 1457</a>)
Defined that <a>block boxes</a> that establish an <a>independent formatting context</a>
have a used 'display' of ''flow-root'',
to provide an easier point of reference.
(<a href="">Issue 1550</a>)
Clarified that 'display' is not animatable (as opposed to discretely animatable).
(<a href="">Issue 2938</a>)
Minor editorial fixes.
Changes since the <a href="">20 July 2017 Working Draft</a> include:
* Tightened up rules for the <a>blockification</a> of ''display/inline-block'' / ''inline flow-root''
to ensure compatibility with CSS2.
(<a href="">Issue 1246</a>)
Updated handling of ''run-in flow-root'' to match.
(<a href="">Issue 1715</a>)
* Adjusted grammar of 'display' to list the ''display/list-item'' keyword last. This affects the expected serialization order.
(<a href="">Issue 1621</a>)
* Added better definition of interaction between <a>block formatting contexts</a> and <a>inline formatting contexts</a> in block containers that establish inline formatting contexts.
(<a href="">Issue 1553</a>)
* More clearly defined the way property values are reflected
between an element and its boxes (in the case of an element generating multiple boxes).
(<a href="">Issue 1643</a>)
* Clarified that empty text objects are ignored for CSS rendering.
(<a href="">Issue 1808</a>)
* Clarified that 'display' has no effect on document semantics, since this is a common bug in UAs.
(<a href="">Issue 2355</a>)
* Fixed error in definition of 'display'’s <a>computed value</a>
(which is definitely not “as specified”, due to <a>blockification</a> and <a>inlinification</a> rules triggered by various properties).
(<a href="">Issue 1716</a>)
* Added definition for <a>document order</a>.
* Added missing SVG elements to <a href="#unbox">Appendix B</a>’s details on ''display: contents''
(<a href="">Issue 2118</a>),
clarified effect of SVG attributes
(<a href="">Issue 2502</a>),
and defined behavior for MathML
(<a href="">Issue 2167</a>).
* Added some <a href="#box-guidelines">guidance</a> to future spec authors of anonymous box construction rules.
(<a href="">Issue 1643</a>)
* Pushed the section about “becoming a formatting context” back to <a href="">CSS Containment</a> where it is used.
* Various minor wording fixes and clarifications.
Changes since the <a href="">26 January 2017 Working Draft</a> include:
* Remove <css>inline-list-item</css> value that is equivalent to ''inline list-item''.
* Added the notion of “<a>text nodes</a>” to the <a>element tree</a>,
and “<a>text runs</a>” to the <a>box tree</a>
to define behavior in the context of ''display: contents''.
(<a href="">Issue 19</a>,
<a href="">Issue 32</a>)
* Defined that the root element is “in flow”.
(<a href="">Issue 3</a>)
* Defined interaction of ''::first-line''/''::first-letter'' and ''run-in''.
(<a href="">Issue 5</a>,
<a href="">Issue 42</a>)
* Clarified that block/inline/run-in only dictates behavior in <a>flow layout</a>; it is ignored in other contexts.
* Run-ins are a type of inline box, not just "like" an inline box.
* Fixed the lack of recursion in of run-in's box-tree munging.
(<a href="">Issue 45</a>)
* Added an appendix on how ''display: contents'' works on “unusual elements”.
(<a href="">Issue 8</a>,
<a href="">Issue 18</a>)
* Fix <a>blockification</a> and <a>inlinification</a> rules,
particularly handling of layout-internal types.
(<a href="">Issue 35</a>,
<a href="">Issue 57</a>)
* Clarified interaction of various box tree fixups.
(<a href="">Issue 38</a>,
<a href="">Issue 48</a>)
* Added the definition of “becoming a formatting context”.
* Miscellaneous minor fixes and minor clarifications.
A <a href="">Disposition of Comments</a> is also available.
Changes since the <a href="">15 October 2015 Working Draft</a> include:
<li>Deferred the <css>box-suppress/display-or-not</css> property to the next level of Display,
in order to provide time for further discussion of use cases.
<li>Specified the effects of ''display: contents'' on unusual elements such as replaced elements and form controls.
<li>Clarified that an element’s ''::before'' and ''::after'' pseudo-elements still exist if its own box is not generated due to ''display: contents''.
<li>Clarified that event bubbling is not affected by ''display: contents''.
<li>Clarified interaction of run-ins with out-of-flow elements and ''::first-letter''.
<li>Switched ''table-caption'' and ''table-cell'' to use ''flow-root'' as their <a>inner display type</a>, since they always form a formatting context root.
<li>Closed off remaining issues and added at-risk list.
Changes since the <a href="">21 July 2015 Working Draft</a> include:
<li>Added definitions for <a>in-flow</a> and <a>out-of-flow</a> to glossary.
Changes since the <a href="">11 September 2014 Working Draft</a> include:
<li>Removed <css>display-inside</css>, <css>display-outside</css>, and <css>display-extras</css> longhands,
in favor of just making 'display' multi-value.
(This was done to impose constraints on what can be combined.
Future levels of this specification may relax some or all of those restrictions
if they become unnecessary or unwanted.)
<li>Created the ''flow'' and ''flow-root'' <a>inner display types</a>
to better express flow layout <a>display types</a>
and to create an explicit switch for making an element a <a>BFC</a> root.
(This should eliminate the need for hacks
like ''::after { clear: both; }'' and ''overflow: hidden''
that are intended to accomplish this purpose.)
<h2 id="priv" class="no-num">
Privacy Considerations</h2>
This specification introduces no new privacy considerations.
<h3 id="sec" class="no-num">
Security Considerations</h2>
This specification introduces no new security considerations.
<h3 class="no-num" id="security-privacy-self-review">
Self-Review Questionaire</h3>
Per the <a href="">
Self-Review Questionnaire: Security and Privacy: Questions to Consider</a>
<li>Does this specification deal with personally-identifiable information?
<li>Does this specification deal with high-value data?
<li>Does this specification introduce new state for an origin that persists across browsing sessions?
<li>Does this specification expose persistent, cross-origin state to the web?
<li>Does this specification expose any other data to an origin that it doesn’t currently have access to?
<li>Does this specification enable new script execution/loading mechanisms?
<li>Does this specification allow an origin access to a user’s location?
<li>Does this specification allow an origin access to sensors on a user’s device?
<li>Does this specification allow an origin access to aspects of a user’s local computing environment?
<li>Does this specification allow an origin access to other devices?
<li>Does this specification allow an origin some measure of control over a user agent’s native UI?
<li>Does this specification expose temporary identifiers to the web?
<li>Does this specification distinguish between behavior in first-party and third-party contexts?
<li>How should this specification work in the context of a user agent’s "incognito" mode?
<p>No differently.
<li>Does this specification persist data to a user’s local device?
<li>Does this specification have a "Security Considerations" and "Privacy Considerations" section?
<li>Does this specification allow downgrading default security characteristics?