The <defs> element is used to store graphical objects that will be used at a later time. Objects created inside a <defs> element are not rendered directly. To display them you have to reference them (with a <use> element for example).

Graphical objects can be referenced from anywhere, however, defining these objects inside of a <defs> element promotes understandability of the SVG content and is beneficial to the overall accessibility of the document.

<svg viewBox="0 0 10 10" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
  <!-- Some graphical objects to use -->
    <circle id="myCircle" cx="0" cy="0" r="5" />

    <linearGradient id="myGradient" gradientTransform="rotate(90)">
      <stop offset="20%" stop-color="gold" />
      <stop offset="90%" stop-color="red" />

  <!-- using my graphical objects -->
  <use x="5" y="5" xlink:href="#myCircle" fill="url('#myGradient')" />


Global attributes

Core Attributes
Most notably: id lang
Styling Attributes
class, style
Event Attributes
Global event attributes, Document element event attributes, Graphical event attributes
Presentation Attributes
Most notably: clip-path, clip-rule, color, color-interpolation, color-rendering, cursor, display, fill, fill-opacity, fill-rule, filter, mask, opacity, pointer-events, shape-rendering, stroke, stroke-dasharray, stroke-dashoffset, stroke-linecap, stroke-linejoin, stroke-miterlimit, stroke-opacity, stroke-width, transform, vector-effect, visibility

Usage notes

CategoriesContainer element, Structural element
Permitted contentAny number of the following elements, in any order:
Animation elements
Descriptive elements
Shape elements
Structural elements
Gradient elements
<a>, <altGlyphDef>, <clipPath>, <color-profile>, <cursor>, <filter>, <font>, <font-face>, <foreignObject>, <image>, <marker>, <mask>, <pattern>, <script>, <style>, <switch>, <text>, <view>


Specification Status Comment
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 2
The definition of '<defs>' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation No change
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.1 (Second Edition)
The definition of '<defs>' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

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