float

The float CSS property places an element on 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 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.

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
inline-flex flex
inline-grid grid
other unchanged
Note: If you're referring to this property from JavaScript as a member of the HTMLElement.style object, modern browsers support float, but in older browsers you have to spell it as cssFloat, with Internet Explorer versions 8 and older using styleFloat. This was 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

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

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

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 definition

Initial valuenone
Applies toall elements, but has no effect if the value of display is none.
Inheritedno
Computed valueas specified
Animation typediscrete

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.

A floated element is at least as tall as it's tallest nested floated children. We gave the parent width: 100% and floated it to ensure it is tall enough to encompass it's floated children, and to make sure it takes up the width of the parent so we don't have to clear it's adjacent sibling.

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;
  width: 100%;
  float: left;
}

div {
  margin: 5px;
  width: 50px;
  height: 150px;
}

.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

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also