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The visibility CSS property has two purposes:

  1. The hidden value hides an element but leaves space where it would have been.
  2. The collapse value hides rows or columns of a table. It also collapses XUL elements.


Formal syntax: visible | hidden | collapse
visibility: visible
visibility: hidden
visibility: collapse

visibility: inherit


Default value, the box is visible.
The box is invisible (fully transparent, nothing is drawn), but still affects layout.  Descendants of the element will be visible if they have visibility:visible (this doesn't work in IE up to version 7).
For table rows, columns, column groups, and row groups the row(s) or column(s) are hidden and the space they would have occupied is (as if display: none were applied to the column/row of the table). However, the size of other rows and columns is still calculated as though the cells in the collapsed row(s) or column(s) are present. This was designed for fast removal of a row/column from a table without having to recalculate widths and heights for every portion of the table. For XUL elements, the computed size of the element is always zero, regardless of other styles that would normally affect the size, although margins still take effect. For other elements, collapse is treated the same as hidden.


Visiblity values are interpolable between visible and not-visible. One of the start or ending value must therefore be visible or no interpolation can happen. If one of the values is visible, interpolated as a discrete step where values of the timing function between 0 and 1 map to visible and other values of the timing function (which occur only at the start/end of the transition or as a result of cubic-bezier() functions with y values outside of [0, 1]) map to the closer endpoint.


p        { visibility: hidden; }    /* paragraphs won't be visible */
p.showme { visibility: visible; }   /* except of these with class showme */
tr.col   { visibility: collapse; }  /* table rows with class col will collapse */


The support for visibility:collapse is missing or partially incorrect in some modern browsers. In many cases it may not be correctly treated like visibility:hidden on elements other than table rows and columns.

visibility:collapse may change the layout of a table if the table has nested tables within the cells that are collapsed, unless visibility:visible is specified explicitly on nested tables.


Specification Status Comment
CSS Basic Box Model Working Draft No changes.
CSS Transitions Working Draft Defines visibility as animatable.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1) Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1.0 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) 4.0 4.0 1.0
Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 1.0 1.0 1.0 (1.0) 6.0 6.0 1.0

Support for visibility: collapse on table elements varies. Chrome and Safari treat collapse like hidden, leaving a white gap; they support it only on <tr>, <thead>, <tbody>, and <tfoot>, but not on <col> and <colgroup> elements. Firefox doesn’t hide borders when hiding <col> and <colgroup> elements if border-collapse: collapse is set. In Opera, it works on table elements, but doesn’t seem to hide a <tfoot> if it is adjacent to a visible <tbody>.

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: Sheppy
 Last updated by: Sheppy,