The left CSS property participates in specifying the horizontal position of a positioned element. It has no effect on non-positioned elements.

/* <length> values */
left: 3px;
left: 2.4em;

/* <percentage>s of the width of the containing block */
left: 10%;

/* Keyword value */
left: auto;

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

The effect of left depends on how the element is positioned (i.e., the value of the position property):

  • When position is set to absolute or fixed, the left property specifies the distance between the element's left edge and the left edge of its containing block. (The containing block is the ancestor to which the element is relatively positioned.)
  • When position is set to relative, the left property specifies the distance the element's left edge is moved to the right from its normal position.
  • When position is set to sticky, the left property behaves like its position is relative when the element is inside the viewport, and like its position is fixed when it is outside.
  • When position is set to static, the left property has no effect.

When both left and right are defined, the position of the element is overspecified. When this is the case, the left value has precedence when the container is left-to-right (thus, the computed value of right is set to -left); the right value has precedence when the container is right-to-left (thus, the computed value of left is set to -right).

Initial valueauto
Applies topositioned elements
Inheritedno
Percentagesrefer to the width of the containing block
Mediavisual
Computed valueif specified as a length, the corresponding absolute length; if specified as a percentage, the specified value; otherwise, auto
Animation typea length, percentage or calc();
Canonical orderthe unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar

Syntax

Values

<length>
A negative, null, or positive <length> that represents:
  • for absolutely positioned elements, the distance to the left edge of the containing block.
  • for relatively positioned elements, the distance that the element is moved to the right of its normal position.
<percentage>
A <percentage> of the containing block's width, used as described in the summary.
auto
Specifies that:
  • for absolutely positioned elements, the position of the element is based on the right property, while width: auto is treated as a width based on the content.
  • for relatively positioned elements, the distance of the element from its normal position is based on the right property, or if right is also auto, the element is not moved horizontally at all.
inherit
Specifies that the value is the same as the computed value from its parent element (which might not be its containing block). This computed value is then handled as if it were a <length>, <percentage>, or the auto keyword.

Formal syntax

<length> | <percentage> | auto

Examples

CSS

#wrap {
  width: 700px;
  margin: 0 auto;
  background: #5C5C5C;
}

pre {
  white-space: pre;
  white-space: pre-wrap;
  white-space: pre-line;
  word-wrap: break-word;
}

#example_1 {
  width: 200px;
  height: 200px;
  position: absolute;
  left: 20px;
  top: 20px;
  background-color: #D8F5FF;
}

#example_2 {
  width: 200px;
  height: 200px;
  position: relative;
  top: 0;
  right: 0;
  background-color: #C1FFDB;

}
#example_3 {
  width: 600px;
  height: 400px;
  position: relative;
  top: 20px;
  left: 20px;
  background-color: #FFD7C2;
}

#example_4 {
  width:200px;
  height:200px;
  position:absolute;
  bottom:10px;
  right:20px;
  background-color:#FFC7E4;
}

HTML

<div id="wrap">
  <div id="example_1">
    <pre>
      position: absolute;
      left: 20px;
      top: 20px;
    </pre>
    <p>The only containing element for this div is the main window, so it positions itself in relation to it.</p>
  </div>

  <div id="example_2">
    <pre>
      position: relative;
      top: 0;
      right: 0;
    </pre>
    <p>Relative position in relation to its siblings.</p>
  </div>

  <div id="example_3">
    <pre>
      float: right;
      position: relative;
      top: 20px;
      left: 20px;
    </pre>
    <p>Relative to its sibling div above, but removed from flow of content.</p>

    <div id="example_4">
      <pre>
        position: absolute;
        bottom: 10px;
        right: 20px;
      </pre>
      <p>Absolute position inside of a parent with relative position</p>
    </div>
  </div>
</div>

Live sample

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Transitions
The definition of 'left' in that specification.
Working Draft Defines left as animatable.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'left' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1.0 (Yes) 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) 5.5 5.0 1.0
Feature Android Edge Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 1.0 (Yes) 1.0 (1) 6.0 6.0 1.0

See also