# ::first-letter (:first-letter)

The `::first-letter` CSS pseudo-element applies styles to the first letter of the first line of a block-level element, but only when not preceded by other content (such as images or inline tables).

```/* Selects the first letter of a <p> */
p::first-letter {
font-size: 130%;
}```

The first letter of an element is not always trivial to identify:

• Punctuation that precedes or immediately follows the first letter is included in the match. Punctuation includes any Unicode character defined in the open (Ps), close (Pe), initial quote (Pi), final quote (Pf), and other punctuation (Po) classes.
• Some languages have digraphs that are always capitalized together, like the `IJ` in Dutch. In these cases, both letters of the digraph should be matched by the `::first-letter` pseudo-element. (This is poorly supported by browsers; see the browser compatibility table below.)
• A combination of the `::before` pseudo-element and the `content` property may inject some text at the beginning of the element. In that case, `::first-letter` will match the first letter of this generated content.

CSS3 introduced the `::first-letter` notation (with two colons) to distinguish pseudo-classes from pseudo-elements. Browsers also accept `:first-letter`, introduced in CSS2.

## Allowable properties

Only a small subset of CSS properties can be used with the `::first-letter` pseudo-element:

## Syntax

```/* CSS3 syntax */
::first-letter

/* CSS2 syntax */
:first-letter```

## Example

Make the first letter of every paragraph red and big.

### HTML

```<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt
ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo
dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est.</p>
<p>Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit esse molestie consequat.</p>
<p>Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut
aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis autem vel eum iriure dolor in hendrerit in vulputate velit
esse molestie consequat.</p>
<p>-The beginning of a special punctuation mark.</p>
<p>_The beginning of a special punctuation mark.</p>
<p>"The beginning of a special punctuation mark.</p>
<p>'The beginning of a special punctuation mark.</p>
<p>*The beginning of a special punctuation mark.</p>
<p>#The beginning of a special punctuation mark.</p>
<p>「特殊的汉字标点符号开头。</p>
<p>《特殊的汉字标点符号开头。</p>
<p>“特殊的汉字标点符号开头。</p>```

### CSS

```p::first-letter {
color: red;
font-size: 130%;
}```

## Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Pseudo-Elements Level 4
The definition of '::first-letter' in that specification.
Working Draft Generalizes allowed properties to typesetting, text decoration, inline layout properties, `opacity`, and `box-shadow`.
CSS Text Decoration Module Level 3
The definition of 'text-shadow with ::first-letter' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation Allows the use of `text-shadow` with `::first-letter`.
Selectors Level 3
The definition of '::first-letter' in that specification.
Recommendation Introduction of the two-colon syntax. Definition of edge-case behavior, such as in list items or with specific languages (e.g., the Dutch digraph `IJ`).
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of '::first-letter' in that specification.
Recommendation No change.
CSS Level 1
The definition of '::first-letter' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition, using the one-colon syntax.

## Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support

1

11

Yes

Yes1

1

11

9

5.51

7

3.51

1

11

Support for the Dutch digraph `IJ` No No No2 No No No
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support ? ?

Yes

Yes1

4

41

? ? ?
Support for the Dutch digraph `IJ` ? ? No No2 ? ? ?

1. Supported as `:first-letter`.

2. See bug 92176.