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This is an experimental technology
Because this technology's specification has not stabilized, check the compatibility table for usage in various browsers. Also note that the syntax and behavior of an experimental technology is subject to change in future versions of browsers as the specification changes.


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

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


/* 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;


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

Formal syntax

normal | [ <number> <integer>? ]


CSS content

.normal {
  initial-letter: normal;
.onefive {
  initial-letter: 1.5;
.three {
  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

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support No support No support No support No support AppleWebKit/603
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support No support No support No support No support No support

Document Tags and Contributors

 Contributors to this page: OlofT, Sebastianz, Ruggero
 Last updated by: OlofT,