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

The initial-letter CSS property specifies styling for dropped, raised, and sunken initial letters.

/* Keyword values */
initial-letter: normal;

/* Numeric values */
initial-letter: 1.5;    /* Initial letter occupies 1.5 lines */
initial-letter: 3.0;    /* Initial letter occupies 3 lines */
initial-letter: 3.0 2;  /* Initial letter occupies 3 lines and
                           sinks 2 lines */

/* Global values */
initial-letter: inherit;
initial-letter: initial;
initial-letter: unset;

Initial valuenormal
Applies to::first-letter pseudo-elements and inline-level first child of a block container
Computed valueas specified
Animation typediscrete
Canonical orderthe unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar


The keyword value normal, or a <number> optionally followed by an <integer>.


No special initial-letter effect. Text behaves as normal.
Defines the size of the initial letter, in terms of how many lines it occupies. Negative values are not allowed.
Defines the number of lines the initial letter should sink when the size of it is given. Values must be greater than zero. If omitted, it duplicates the size value, floored to the nearest positive whole number.

Formal syntax

normal | [ <number> <integer>? ]


CSS content

.normal {
  -webkit-initial-letter: normal;
  initial-letter: normal;

.onefive {
  -webkit-initial-letter: 1.5;
  initial-letter: 1.5;

.three {
  -webkit-initial-letter: 3.0;
  initial-letter: 3.0;

HTML content

<p class="normal">Initial letter is normal</p>
<p class="onefive">Initial letter occupies 1.5 lines</p>
<p class="three">Initial letter occupies 3 lines</p>



Specification Status Comment
CSS Inline Layout
The definition of 'initial-letter' in that specification.
Working Draft Initial definition

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support No ? No1 No No9
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support No No ? No1 No9 No

1. See bug 1223880

Document Tags and Contributors

Last updated by: chrisdavidmills,