The float CSS property specifies that an element should be placed along the left or right side of its container, allowing text and inline elements to wrap around it. The element is removed from the normal flow of the web page, though still remaining a part of the flow (in contrast to absolute positioning).

A floating element is one where the computed value of float is not none.

/* Keyword values */
float: left;
float: right;
float: none;
float: inline-start;
float: inline-end;

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

Initial valuenone
Applies toall elements, but has no effect if the value of display is none.
Inheritedno
Mediavisual
Computed valueas specified
Animation typediscrete
Canonical orderthe unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar

As float implies the use of the block layout, it modifies the computed value of the display values, in some cases:

Specified value Computed value
inline block
inline-block block
inline-table table
table-row block
table-row-group block
table-column block
table-column-group block
table-cell block
table-caption block
table-header-group block
table-footer-group block
flex flex, but float has no effect on such elements
inline-flex inline-flex, but float has no effect on such elements
other unchanged
Note: If you're referring to this property from JavaScript as a member of the element.style object, in Firefox 34 and older you had to spell it as cssFloat. Also note that Internet Explorer versions 8 and older spelled this styleFloat. This is an exception to the rule, that the name of the DOM member is the camel-case name of the dash-separated CSS name (due to the fact that "float" is a reserved word in JavaScript, as seen in the need to escape "class" as "className" and escape <label>'s "for" as "htmlFor").

Syntax

The float property is specified as a single keyword, chosen from the list of values below.

Values

left
The element must float on the left side of its containing block.
right
The element must float on the right side of its containing block.
none
The element must not float.
inline-start
The element must float on the start side of its containing block. That is the left side with ltr scripts, and the right side with rtl scripts.
inline-end
The element must float on the end side of its containing block. That is the right side with ltr scripts, and the left side with rtl scripts.

Formal syntax

left | right | none | inline-start | inline-end

Examples

How floated elements are positioned

As mentioned above, when an element is floated, it is taken out of the normal flow of the document (though still remaining part of it). It is shifted to the left, or right, until it touches the edge of its containing box, or another floated element.

In this example, there are three colored squares. Two are floated left, and one is floated right. Note that the second "left" square is placed to the right of the first. Additional squares would continue to stack to the right, until they filled the containing box, after which they would wrap to the next line.

HTML

<section>
  <div class="left">1</div>
  <div class="left">2</div>
  <div class="right">3</div>
  <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
     Morbi tristique sapien ac erat tincidunt, sit amet dignissim
     lectus vulputate. Donec id iaculis velit. Aliquam vel
     malesuada erat. Praesent non magna ac massa aliquet tincidunt
     vel in massa. Phasellus feugiat est vel leo finibus congue.</p>
</section>

CSS

section {
  border: 1px solid blue;
}

div {
  margin: 5px;
  width: 50px;
  height: 50px;
}

.left {
  float: left;
  background: pink;
}

.right {
  float: right;
  background: cyan;
}

Result

Clearing floats

Sometimes you may want to force an item to move below any floated elements. For instance, you may want paragraphs to remain adjacent to floats, but force headings to be on their own line. See clear for examples.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Logical Properties and Values Level 1
The definition of 'float and clear' in that specification.
Editor's Draft Adds the values inline-start and inline-end.
CSS Basic Box Model
The definition of 'float' in that specification.
Working Draft Lots of new values, not all clearly defined yet. Any differences in behavior, unrelated to new features, are expected to be unintentional; please report.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'float' in that specification.
Recommendation No change
CSS Level 1
The definition of 'float' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support1 Yes1471
Flow-relative values inline-start and inline-end No No55 No No No
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidIE mobileOpera AndroidiOS Safari
Basic support1 Yes Yes4661
Flow-relative values inline-start and inline-end No No No55 No No No

See also