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.

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

The :active pseudo-class is commonly used on <a> and <button> elements. Other common targets of this pseudo-class include elements that contain an activated element, and form elements that are being activated through their associated <label>.

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

Examples

HTML

<p>This paragraph contains a link:
  <a href="#">This link will turn red while you click on it.</a>
  The paragraph will get a gray background while you click on it or the link.
</p>

CSS

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

p:active { background: #eee; }   /* Active paragraphs */

Result

Active form elements

HTML

<form>
  <label for="my-button">My button: </label>
  <button id="my-button" type="button">Try Clicking Me or My Label!</button>
</form>

CSS

form :active {
  color: red;
}

form button {
  background: white;
}

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