The :dir() CSS pseudo-class matches elements based on the directionality of the text contained in them.

/* Selects any element with right-to-left text */
:dir(rtl) {
  background-color: red;

The :dir() pseudo-class uses only the semantic value of the directionality, i.e., the one defined in the document itself. It doesn't account for styling directionality, i.e., the directionality set by CSS properties such as direction.

Note: Be aware that the behavior of the :dir() pseudo-class is not equivalent to the [dir=…] attribute selectors. The latter match the HTML dir attribute, and ignore elements that lack it — even if they inherit a direction from their parent. (Similarly, [dir=rtl] and [dir=ltr] won't match the auto value.) In contrast, :dir() will match the value calculated by the user agent, even if inherited.

Note: In HTML, the direction is determined by the dir attribute. Other document types may have different methods.


The :dir() pseudo-class requires one parameter, representing the text directionality you want to target.


Target left-to-right elements.
Target right-to-left elements.

Formal syntax

:dir( [ ltr | rtl ] )



<div dir="rtl">
  <div dir="ltr">test2
    <div dir="auto">עִבְרִית</div>


:dir(ltr) {
  background-color: yellow;

:dir(rtl) {
  background-color: powderblue;



Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of ':dir(ltr)' in that specification.
Living Standard No changes.
Selectors Level 4
The definition of ':dir()' in that specification.
Working Draft Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also