The direction CSS property sets the direction of text, table columns, and horizontal overflow. Use rtl for languages written from right to left (like Hebrew or Arabic), and ltr for those written from left to right (like English and most other languages).

Note that text direction is usually defined within a document (e.g., with HTML's dir attribute) rather than through direct use of the direction property.

The property sets the base text direction of block-level elements and the direction of embeddings created by the unicode-bidi property. It also sets the default alignment of text, block-level elements, and the direction that cells flow within a table row.

Unlike the dir attribute in HTML, the direction property is not inherited from table columns into table cells, since CSS inheritance follows the document tree, and table cells are inside of rows but not inside of columns.

The direction and unicode-bidi properties are the two only properties which are not affected by the all shorthand property.


/* Keyword values */
direction: ltr;
direction: rtl;

/* Global values */
direction: inherit;
direction: initial;
direction: unset;


Text and other elements go from left to right. This is the default value.
Text and other elements go from right to left.

For the direction property to have any effect on inline-level elements, the unicode-bidi property's value must be embed or override.

Formal definition

Initial valueltr
Applies toall elements
Computed valueas specified
Animation typediscrete

Formal syntax

ltr | rtl


Setting right-to-left direction

In the example below are two strings of text, both which are displaying using direction: rtl. While the Arabic text is displayed correctly with this setting, the English text now has a full stop in an unusual location.

blockquote {
  direction: rtl;
  width: 300px;
<p>This paragraph is in English but incorrectly goes right to left.<p>

<p>هذه الفقرة باللغة العربية ، لذا يجب الانتقال من اليمين إلى اليسار.<p>


Specification Status Comment
CSS Writing Modes Module Level 3
The definition of 'direction' in that specification.
Proposed Recommendation No change.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'direction' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also