The :active CSS pseudo-class represents an element (such as a button) that is being activated by the user. When using a mouse, "activation" typically starts when the user presses down the primary mouse button and ends when it is released. The :active pseudo-class is commonly used on <a> and <button> elements, but may be used on other elements, too.

/* Selects any <a> that is being activated */
a:active {
  color: red;
}

Styles defined by the :active pseudo-class will be overridden by any subsequent link-related pseudo-class (:link, :hover, or :visited) that has at least equal specificity. To style links appropriately, put the :active rule after all other link-related rules, as defined by the LVHA-order: :link:visited:hover:active.

Note: On systems with multi-button mice, CSS3 specifies that the :active pseudo-class must only apply to the primary button; on right-handed mice, this is typically the leftmost button.

Syntax

:active

Example

HTML

<a href="#">This link will turn lime while you click on it.</a>

CSS

a:link { color: blue; }          /* Unvisited links */
a:visited { color: purple; }     /* Visited links */
a:hover { background: yellow; }  /* User hovers */
a:active { color: lime; }        /* Active links */

Result

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of ':active' in that specification.
Living Standard  
Selectors Level 4
The definition of ':active' in that specification.
Working Draft No change.
Selectors Level 3
The definition of ':active' in that specification.
Recommendation No change.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of ':active' in that specification.
Recommendation No change.
CSS Level 1
The definition of ':active' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support1 Yes1451
Non-a element support1 Yes1871
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support1 ? Yes461 ?
Non-a element support1 ? Yes4 ? Yes1 ?

1. By default, Safari on iOS does not use the :active state unless there is a touchstart event handler on the relevant element or on the <body> element.

See also