display

The display CSS property sets whether an element is treated as a block or inline box and the layout used for its children, such as flow layout, grid or flex.

Formally, the display property sets an element's inner and outer display types. The outer type sets an element's participation in flow layout; the inner type sets the layout of children. Some values of display are fully defined in their own individual specifications; for example the detail of what happens when display: flex is declared is defined in the CSS Flexible Box Model specification.

Try it

Syntax

css
/* precomposed values */
display: block;
display: inline;
display: inline-block;
display: flex;
display: inline-flex;
display: grid;
display: inline-grid;
display: flow-root;

/* box generation */
display: none;
display: contents;

/* multi-keyword syntax */
display: block flex;
display: block flow;
display: block flow-root;
display: block grid;
display: inline flex;
display: inline flow;
display: inline flow-root;
display: inline grid;

/* other values */
display: table;
display: table-row; /* all table elements have an equivalent CSS display value */
display: list-item;

/* Global values */
display: inherit;
display: initial;
display: revert;
display: revert-layer;
display: unset;

The CSS display property is specified using keyword values.

Grouped values

The keyword values can be grouped into six value categories.

Outside

<display-outside>

These keywords specify the element's outer display type, which is essentially its role in flow layout:

block

The element generates a block box, generating line breaks both before and after the element when in the normal flow.

inline

The element generates one or more inline boxes that do not generate line breaks before or after themselves. In normal flow, the next element will be on the same line if there is space.

Note: When browsers that support multi-keyword syntax encounter a display property that only has an outer value (e.g., display: block or display: inline), the inner value is set to flow (e.g., display: block flow and display: inline flow).

Note: To be sure layouts work on older browsers, you may use single-value syntax, for example display: inline flex could have the following fallback

css
.container {
  display: inline-flex;
  display: inline flex;
}

See Using the multi-keyword syntax with CSS display for more information.

Inside

<display-inside>

These keywords specify the element's inner display type, which defines the type of formatting context that its contents are laid out in (assuming it is a non-replaced element):

flow

The element lays out its contents using flow layout (block-and-inline layout).

If its outer display type is inline or run-in, and it is participating in a block or inline formatting context, then it generates an inline box. Otherwise it generates a block container box.

Depending on the value of other properties (such as position, float, or overflow) and whether it is itself participating in a block or inline formatting context, it either establishes a new block formatting context (BFC) for its contents or integrates its contents into its parent formatting context.

flow-root

The element generates a block box that establishes a new block formatting context, defining where the formatting root lies.

table

These elements behave like HTML <table> elements. It defines a block-level box.

flex

The element behaves like a block-level element and lays out its content according to the flexbox model.

grid

The element behaves like a block-level element and lays out its content according to the grid model.

ruby

The element behaves like an inline-level element and lays out its content according to the ruby formatting model. It behaves like the corresponding HTML <ruby> elements.

Note: When browsers that support multi-keyword syntax encounter a display property that only has an inner value (e.g., display: flex or display: grid), the outer value is set to block (e.g., display: block flex and display: block grid).

List Item

<display-listitem>

The element generates a block box for the content and a separate list-item inline box.

A single value of list-item will cause the element to behave like a list item. This can be used together with list-style-type and list-style-position.

list-item can also be combined with any <display-outside> keyword and the flow or flow-root <display-inside> keywords.

Note: In browsers that support the multi-keyword syntax, if no inner value is specified, it will default to flow. If no outer value is specified, the principal box will have an outer display type of block.

Internal

<display-internal>

Some layout models such as table and ruby have a complex internal structure, with several different roles that their children and descendants can fill. This section defines those "internal" display values, which only have meaning within that particular layout mode.

table-row-group

These elements behave like <tbody> HTML elements.

table-header-group

These elements behave like <thead> HTML elements.

These elements behave like <tfoot> HTML elements.

table-row

These elements behave like <tr> HTML elements.

table-cell

These elements behave like <td> HTML elements.

table-column-group

These elements behave like <colgroup> HTML elements.

table-column

These elements behave like <col> HTML elements.

table-caption

These elements behave like <caption> HTML elements.

ruby-base

These elements behave like <rb> HTML elements.

ruby-text

These elements behave like <rt> HTML elements.

ruby-base-container

These elements are generated as anonymous boxes.

ruby-text-container

These elements behave like <rtc> HTML elements.

Box

<display-box>

These values define whether an element generates display boxes at all.

contents

These elements don't produce a specific box by themselves. They are replaced by their pseudo-box and their child boxes. Please note that the CSS Display Level 3 spec defines how the contents value should affect "unusual elements" — elements that aren't rendered purely by CSS box concepts such as replaced elements. See Appendix B: Effects of display: contents on Unusual Elements for more details.

none

Turns off the display of an element so that it has no effect on layout (the document is rendered as though the element did not exist). All descendant elements also have their display turned off. To have an element take up the space that it would normally take, but without actually rendering anything, use the visibility property instead.

Precomposed

<display-legacy>

CSS 2 used a single-keyword, precomposed syntax for the display property, requiring separate keywords for block-level and inline-level variants of the same layout mode.

inline-block

The element generates a block box that will be flowed with surrounding content as if it were a single inline box (behaving much like a replaced element would).

It is equivalent to inline flow-root.

inline-table

The inline-table value does not have a direct mapping in HTML. It behaves like an HTML <table> element, but as an inline box, rather than a block-level box. Inside the table box is a block-level context.

It is equivalent to inline table.

inline-flex

The element behaves like an inline-level element and lays out its content according to the flexbox model.

It is equivalent to inline flex.

inline-grid

The element behaves like an inline-level element and lays out its content according to the grid model.

It is equivalent to inline grid.

Which syntax should you use?

The CSS display module describes a multi-keyword syntax for values you can use with the display property to explicitly define outer and inner display. The single keyword values (precomposed <display-legacy> values) are supported for backward-compatibility.

For example, using two values you can specify an inline flex container as follows:

css
.container {
  display: inline flex;
}

This can also be specified using the legacy single value:

css
.container {
  display: inline-flex;
}

For more information on these changes, see the Using the multi-keyword syntax with CSS display guide.

Global

css
/* Global values */
display: inherit;
display: initial;
display: unset;

Description

The individual pages for the different types of value that display can have set on it feature multiple examples of those values in action — see the Syntax section. In addition, see the following material, which covers the various values of display in depth.

Multi-keyword values

CSS Flow Layout (display: block, display: inline)

display: flex

display: grid

Animating display

Supporting browsers animate display with a discrete animation type. This generally means that the property will flip between two values 50% through animating between the two.

There is one exception, which is when animating to or from display: none. In this case, the browser will flip between the two values so that the animated content is shown for the entire animation duration. So for example:

  • When animating display from none to block (or another visible display value), the value will flip to block at 0% of the animation duration so it is visible throughout.
  • When animating display from block (or another visible display value) to none, the value will flip to none at 100% of the animation duration so it is visible throughout.

This behavior is useful for creating entry/exit animations where you want to for example remove a container from the DOM with display: none, but have it fade out with opacity rather than disappearing immediately.

When animating display with CSS animations, you need to provide the starting display value in an explicit keyframe (for example using 0% or from). See Using CSS animations for an example.

When animating display with CSS transitions, two additional features are needed:

  • @starting-style provides starting values for properties you want to transition from when the animated element is first shown. This is needed to avoid unexpected behavior. By default, CSS transitions are not triggered on an element's first style update or when the display type changes from none to another type.
  • transition-behavior: allow-discrete needs to be set on the transition-property declaration (or the transition shorthand) to enable display transitions.

For examples of transitioning the display property, see the @starting-style and transition-behavior pages.

Accessibility concerns

display: none

Using a display value of none on an element will remove it from the accessibility tree. This will cause the element and all its descendant elements to no longer be announced by screen reading technology.

If you want to visually hide the element, a more accessible alternative is to use a combination of properties to remove it visually from the screen but still make it available to assistive technology such as screen readers.

While display: none hides content from the accessibility tree, elements that are hidden but are referenced from visible elements' aria-describedby or aria-labelledby attributes are exposed to assistive technologies.

display: contents

Current implementations in some browsers will remove from the accessibility tree any element with a display value of contents (but descendants will remain). This will cause the element itself to no longer be announced by screen reading technology. This is incorrect behavior according to the CSS specification.

Tables

In some browsers, changing the display value of a <table> element to block, grid, or flex will alter its representation in the accessibility tree. This will cause the table to no longer be announced properly by screen reading technology.

Formal definition

Initial valueinline
Applies toall elements
Inheritedno
Computed valueas the specified value, except for positioned and floating elements and the root element. In both cases the computed value may be a keyword other than the one specified.
Animation typeDiscrete behavior except when animating to or from none is visible for the entire duration

Formal syntax

display = 
[ <display-outside> || <display-inside> ] |
<display-listitem> |
<display-internal> |
<display-box> |
<display-legacy> |
<display-outside> || [ <display-inside> | math ]

<display-outside> =
block |
inline |
run-in

<display-inside> =
flow |
flow-root |
table |
flex |
grid |
ruby

<display-listitem> =
<display-outside>? &&
[ flow | flow-root ]? &&
list-item

<display-internal> =
table-row-group |
table-header-group |
table-footer-group |
table-row |
table-cell |
table-column-group |
table-column |
table-caption |
ruby-base |
ruby-text |
ruby-base-container |
ruby-text-container

<display-box> =
contents |
none

<display-legacy> =
inline-block |
inline-table |
inline-flex |
inline-grid

Examples

display value comparison

In this example we have two block-level container elements, each one with three inline children. Below that, we have a select menu that allows you to apply different display values to the containers, allowing you to compare and contrast how the different values affect the element's layout, and that of their children.

We've included padding and background-color on the containers and their children, so that it is easier to see the effect the display values are having.

HTML

html
<article class="container">
  <span>First</span>
  <span>Second</span>
  <span>Third</span>
</article>

<article class="container">
  <span>First</span>
  <span>Second</span>
  <span>Third</span>
</article>

<div>
  <label for="display">Choose a display value:</label>
  <select id="display">
    <option selected>block</option>
    <option>inline</option>
    <option>inline-block</option>
    <option>inline flow-root</option>
    <option>none</option>
    <option>flex</option>
    <option>inline-flex</option>
    <option>inline flex</option>
    <option>grid</option>
    <option>inline-grid</option>
    <option>inline grid</option>
    <option>table</option>
    <option>block table</option>
    <option>list-item</option>
  </select>
</div>

CSS

css
html {
  font-family: helvetica, arial, sans-serif;
  letter-spacing: 1px;
  padding-top: 10px;
}

article {
  background-color: red;
}

article span {
  background-color: black;
  color: white;
  margin: 1px;
}

article,
span {
  padding: 10px;
  border-radius: 7px;
}

article,
div {
  margin: 20px;
}

JavaScript

js
const articles = document.querySelectorAll(".container");
const select = document.querySelector("select");

function updateDisplay() {
  articles.forEach((article) => {
    article.style.display = select.value;
  });
}

select.addEventListener("change", updateDisplay);

updateDisplay();

Result

Note that some multi-keyword values are added for illustration which have the following equivalents:

  • inline-block = inline flow-root
  • inline-flex = inline flex
  • inline-grid = inline grid
  • table = block table

You can find more examples in the pages for each separate display data type under Grouped values

Specifications

Specification
CSS Display Module Level 3
# the-display-properties

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also