overflow

Summary

The overflow CSS property specifies whether to clip content, render scroll bars or display overflow content of a block-level element.

Using the overflow property with a value different than visible, its default, will create a new block formatting context. This is technically necessary as if a float would intersect with the scrolling element it would force to rewrap the content of the scrollable element around intruding floats. The rewrap would happen after each scroll step and would be lead to a far too slow scrolling experience. Note that, by programmatically setting scrollTop to the relevant HTML element, even when overflow has the hidden value an element may need to scroll.

  • Initial value visible
  • Applies to non-replaced block-level elements and non-replaced inline-block elements
  • Inherited no
  • Media visual
  • Computed value as specified
  • Animatable no
  • Canonical order the unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar

Syntax

Formal syntax: visible | hidden | scroll | auto
overflow: visible
overflow: hidden
overflow: scroll
overflow: auto

overflow: inherit

Values

visible
Default value. Content is not clipped, it may be rendered outside the content box.
hidden
The content is clipped and no scrollbars are provided.
scroll
The content is clipped and desktop browsers use scrollbars, whether or not any content is clipped. This avoids any problem with scrollbars appearing and disappearing in a dynamic environment. Printers may print overflowing content.
auto
Depends on the user agent. Desktop browsers like Firefox provide scrollbars if content overflows.

Mozilla Extensions

-moz-scrollbars-none
Use overflow:hidden instead.
-moz-scrollbars-horizontal
Use of overflow-x and overflow-y is preferred.
-moz-scrollbars-vertical
Use of overflow-x and overflow-y is preferred.
-moz-hidden-unscrollable Non-standard
Is intended mainly for internal use and by themes. Disables scrolling of XML root elements and <html>, <body> by arrow keys and mouse wheel.

Examples

p {  
     width: 12em;
     height: 6em;
     border: dotted;
     overflow: visible;   /* append scrollbars if necessary */ 
}

visible (default)
Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium.

p { overflow: hidden; /* no scrollbars are provided */ }

overflow: hidden
Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium.

p { overflow: scroll; /* always show scrollbars */ }

overflow: scroll
Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium.

p { overflow: auto; /* append scrollbars if necessary */ }

overflow: auto
Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Basic Box Model Working Draft No change.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1) Recommendation  

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1.0 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) 4.0 7.0 1.0 (85)
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? 1.0 (1) ? ? ?

Firefox (Gecko) Notes

Through Firefox 3.6 (Gecko 1.9.2), the overflow property is incorrectly applied to table-group elements (<thead> , <tbody> , <tfoot>). This behavior is corrected in later versions.

Internet Explorer Notes

Internet Explorer 4 to 6 enlarges an element with overflow:visible (default value) to fit the content in it. height/width behaves like min-height/min-width.

See also

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