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    The ::selection CSS pseudo-element applies rules to the portion of a document that has been highlighted (e.g. selected with the mouse or another pointing device) by the user.

    Only a small subset of CSS properties can be used in a rule using ::selection in its selector: color, background-color, cursor, outline, text-decoration, text-emphasis-color and text-shadow. Note that, in particular, background-image is ignored, like any other property.

    text-shadow in ::selection is supported by Chrome, Safari and Firefox 17+.

    Though this pseudo-element was in drafts of CSS Selectors Level 3, it was removed during the Candidate Recommendation phase,  as it appeared that its behavior was under-specified, especially with nested elements, and interoperability wasn't achieved (based on discussion in the W3C Style mailing list).

    The ::selection pseudo-element has been added again in Pseudo-Elements Level 4.


    Gecko is the only engine requiring the prefix. Due to the fact that the CSS parsing rules require dropping the whole rule when encountering an invalid pseudo-element, two separate rules must be written: ::-moz-selection, ::selection {...}. The rule would be dropped on non-Gecko browsers as ::-moz-selection is invalid on them.

    /* draw any selected text yellow on red background */
    ::-moz-selection { color: gold;  background: red; }
    ::selection      { color: gold;  background: red; } 
    /* draw selected text in a paragraph white on black */
    p::-moz-selection { color: white;  background: black; }
    p::selection      { color: white;  background: black; }


    Specification Status Comment
    CSS Pseudo-Elements Level 4
    The definition of '::selection' in that specification.
    Working Draft Initial specification

    The ::selection CSS pseudo-element was drafted for CSS Selectors Level 3 but removed before it reached the Recommendation status. It was readded as part of the Pseudo-Elements Level 4 draft.

    Browser compatibility

    Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
    Basic support 1 1.0 -moz[1] 9 9.5 1.1
    Feature Android Chrome for Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
    Basic support ? ? ? ? ? ?

    [1] Gecko currently only supports the prefixed version ::-moz-selection. It will be unprefixed in bug 509958.

    Document Tags and Contributors

    Last updated by: Sebastianz,