This is an experimental technology
Check the Browser compatibility table carefully before using this in production.

The element() CSS function defines an <image> value generated from an arbitrary HTML element. This image is live, meaning that if the HTML element is changed, the CSS properties using the resulting value are automatically updated.

A particularly useful scenario for using this would be to render an image in an HTML <canvas> element, then use that as a background.

On Gecko browsers, you can use the non-standard document.mozSetImageElement() method to change the element being used as the background for a given CSS background element.

Syntax

element( id )

where:

id
The ID of an element to use as the background, specified using the HTML attribute #id on the element.

Examples

These examples can be viewed live in builds of Firefox that support -moz-element().

A somewhat realistic example

This example uses a hidden <div> as a background. The background element uses a gradient, but also includes text that is rendered as part of the background.

<div style="width:400px; height:400px; background:-moz-element(#myBackground1) no-repeat;">
  <p>This box uses the element with the #myBackground1 ID as its background!</p>
</div>

<div style="overflow:hidden; height:0;">
  <div id="myBackground1" style="width:1024px; height:1024px; background-image: linear-gradient(to right, red, orange, yellow, white);">
  <p style="transform-origin:0 0; transform: rotate(45deg); color:white;">This text is part of the background. Cool, huh?</p>
  </div>
</div>

The <div> element with the ID "myBackground1" is used as the background for the content including the paragraph "This box uses the element with the #myBackground1 ID as its background!".

example1.png

A somewhat more bizarre example

This example uses a hidden <button> element in a repeating pattern as its background. This demonstrates that you can use arbitrary elements as background, but doesn't necessarily demonstrate good design practices.

<div style="width:400px; height:100px; background:-moz-element(#myBackground2);">
</div>

<div style="overflow:hidden; height:0;">
  <button id="myBackground2" type="button">Evil button!</button>
</div>

example2.png

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Images Module Level 4
The definition of 'Using Elements as Images: the element() notation' in that specification.
Working Draft Actually now deferred to CSS4.

Browser compatibility

 

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge MobileFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support
Experimental
Chrome No support NoEdge ? Firefox Full support 4
Prefixed Notes
Full support 4
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Requires the vendor prefix: -moz-
Notes element() is limited to background-image and background.
IE No support NoOpera No support NoSafari No support NoWebView Android No support NoChrome Android ? Edge Mobile ? Firefox Android Full support 4
Prefixed Notes
Full support 4
Prefixed Notes
Prefixed Requires the vendor prefix: -moz-
Notes element() is limited to background-image and background.
Opera Android No support NoSafari iOS No support NoSamsung Internet Android No support No

Legend

Full support  
Full support
No support  
No support
Compatibility unknown  
Compatibility unknown
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.
Requires a vendor prefix or different name for use.
Requires a vendor prefix or different name for use.

 

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: fscholz,