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This is an experimental technology
Because this technology's specification has not stabilized, check the compatibility table for usage in various browsers. Also note that the syntax and behavior of an experimental technology is subject to change in future versions of browsers as the specification changes.

The :dir() CSS pseudo-class matches elements based on the directionality of the text contained in it. In HTML, the direction is determined by the dir attribute. For other document types there may be other document methods for determining the language.

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

Note that the usage of the pseudo-class :dir() is not equivalent of using the [dir=…] attribute selectors. The latter matches a value of the dir and doesn't match when no attribute is set, even if in that case the element inherits the value of its parent; similarly [dir=rtl] or [dir=ltr] won't match the auto value that can be used on the dir attribute. In the opposite, :dir() will match the value calculated by the UA, being inherited or the auto value.

Also :dir() considers only the semantic value of the directionality, the one defined in the document, most of the time in HTML. It won't consider styling directionality, the one set by CSS properties like direction which are purely stylistic.


Formal syntax

:dir( ltr | rtl )


The text direction you want to select for.


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

Given the above HTML, :dir(rtl) will match the top level <div>, <span> containing test1, and the <div> with the hebrew characters. :dir(ltr) will match the <div> containing test2:

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

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

The result is as follows:


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

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Edge Opera Safari
Basic support No support[1] 17 (17) -moz
49 (49)[2]
No support No support[3] No support[1] No support[4]
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support No support[1] 17.0 (17) -moz
49.0 (49)[2]
No support No support No support[4]

[1] This feature is not implemented yet. See Chromium bug 576815.

[2] Because the standardized property is implemented since Gecko 49.0 (Firefox 49.0 / Thunderbird 49.0 / SeaMonkey 2.46), the -moz prefixed variant was removed in Gecko 53.0 (Firefox 53.0 / Thunderbird 53.0 / SeaMonkey 2.50).

[3] Microsoft Edge feature request on UserVoice.

[4] This feature is not implemented yet. See WebKit bug 64861.

See also

  • Language-related pseudo-classes: :lang, :dir

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: mfluehr,