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The CSS background-image property sets one or several background images for an element. The images are drawn on successive stacking context layers, with the first specified being drawn as if it is the closest to the user. The borders of the element are then drawn on top of them, and the background-color is drawn beneath them.

How the images are drawn relative to the box and its borders is defined by the background-clip and background-origin CSS properties.

If a specified image cannot be drawn (for example when the file denoted by the specified URI cannot be loaded), browsers handle them as if it was the none value.

Note: Web developers should always specify a background-color, even if the images are opaque and the color won't be displayed in normal circumstances; if the images cannot be loaded—for instance, when the network is down—the background color will be used as a fallback.

  • Initial value none
  • Applies to all elements
  • Inherited no
  • Media visual
  • Computed value as specified, but with URIs made absolute
  • Animatable no
  • Canonical order the unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar


Formal syntax: <bg-image>#
background-image: none
background-image: url(http://www.example.com/images/bck.png)

background-image: inherit


Is a keyword denoting the absence of images.
Is an <image> denoting the image to display. There can be several of them, separated by commas, as multiple backgrounds are supported.


View the live example

body { 
  background-image: url("images/darkpattern.png"); 

div { 
  background-image: url("images/foo.png"), url("images/bar.png"); 

p { 
  background-image: none; 


Specification Status Comment
CSS Backgrounds and Borders Module Level 3 Candidate Recommendation From CSS2 Revision 1, the property has been extended to support multiple backgrounds and any <image> CSS data type.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1) Recommendation From CSS1, the way images with and without intrinsic dimensions are handled is now described.
CSS Level 1 Recommendation  

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1.0 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) 4.0 3.5 1.0
Multiple backgrounds 1.0 3.6 (1.9.2) 9.0 yes 1.3
Gradients 1.0-webkit 3.6 (1.9.2)-moz 10 11+-o 4.0-webkit
SVG images 8.0 4.0 (2.0) 9.0 9.5 5.0 [1]
element() ? (Yes)-moz Not supported Not supported Not supported
image-rect() Not supported (Yes)-moz Not supported Not supported Not supported
Any <image> value. ? Not supported ? ? ?
Feature iOS Safari Opera Mini Opera Mobile Android Browser
Basic support yes yes yes yes
Multiple backgrounds yes yes yes yes
Gradients yes -webkit
old webkit syntax for iOS 4.2 and older
? ? yes-webkit
old webkit syntax
SVG images yes [1] yes yes Not supported
element() (Yes)-moz ? ? ?
image-rect() (Yes)-moz Not supported Not supported Not supported
Any <image> value Not supported ? ? ?


[1] Support of SVG in CSS background is incomplete in the current version of iOS Safari (5.0). The same for Safari prior 5.0.

See also

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 Last updated by: Anonymous,
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