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The background-image CSS property sets one or more background images on an element.

The background images are drawn on stacking context layers on top of each other. The first layer specified is drawn as if it is closest to the user.

The borders of the element are then drawn on top of them, and the background-color is drawn beneath them. How the images are drawn relative to the box and its borders is defined by the background-clip and background-origin CSS properties.

If a specified image cannot be drawn (for example, when the file denoted by the specified URI cannot be loaded), browsers handle it as they would a none value.

Note: Even if the images are opaque and the color won't be displayed in normal circumstances, web developers should always specify a background-color. If the images cannot be loaded—for instance, when the network is down—the background color will be used as a fallback.
Single quotes may work around the URL when double quotes have failed.


Each background image is specified either as the keyword none or as an <image> value.

To specify multiple background images, supply multiple values, separated by a comma:

  linear-gradient(to bottom, rgba(255,255,0,0.5), rgba(0,0,255,0.5)),


Is a keyword denoting the absence of images.
Is an <image> denoting the image to display. There can be several of them, separated by commas, as multiple backgrounds are supported.

Formal syntax


<bg-image> = none | <image>

<image> = <url> | <image()> | <image-set()> | <element()> | <cross-fade()> | <gradient>

<image()> = image( [ [ <image> | <string> ]? , <color>? ]! )
<image-set()> = image-set( <image-set-option># )
<element()> = element( <id-selector> )
<cross-fade()> = cross-fade( <cf-mixing-image> , <cf-final-image>? )
<gradient> = <linear-gradient()> | <repeating-linear-gradient()> | <radial-gradient()> | <repeating-radial-gradient()>

<color> = <rgb()> | <rgba()> | <hsl()> | <hsla()> | <hex-color> | <named-color> | currentcolor | <deprecated-system-color>
<image-set-option> = [ <image> | <string> ] <resolution>
<id-selector> = <hash-token>
<cf-mixing-image> = <percentage>? && <image>
<cf-final-image> = <image> | <color>
<linear-gradient()> = linear-gradient( [ <angle> | to <side-or-corner> ]? , <color-stop-list> )
<repeating-linear-gradient()> = repeating-linear-gradient( [ <angle> | to <side-or-corner> ]? , <color-stop-list> )
<radial-gradient()> = radial-gradient( [ <ending-shape> || <size> ]? [ at <position> ]? , <color-stop-list> )
<repeating-radial-gradient()> = repeating-radial-gradient( [ <ending-shape> || <size> ]? [ at <position> ]? , <color-stop-list> )

<rgb()> = rgb( <percentage>{3} [ / <alpha-value> ]? ) | rgb( <number>{3} [ / <alpha-value> ]? ) | rgb( <percentage>#{3} , <alpha-value>? ) | rgb( <number>#{3} , <alpha-value>? )
<rgba()> = rgba( <percentage>{3} [ / <alpha-value> ]? ) | rgba( <number>{3} [ / <alpha-value> ]? ) | rgba( <percentage>#{3} , <alpha-value>? ) | rgba( <number>#{3} , <alpha-value>? )
<hsl()> = hsl( <hue> <percentage> <percentage> [ / <alpha-value> ]? ) | hsl( <hue>, <percentage>, <percentage>, <alpha-value>? )
<hsla()> = hsla( <hue> <percentage> <percentage> [ / <alpha-value> ]? ) | hsla( <hue>, <percentage>, <percentage>, <alpha-value>? )
<side-or-corner> = [ left | right ] || [ top | bottom ]
<color-stop-list> = <color-stop>#{2,}
<ending-shape> = circle | ellipse
<size> = closest-side | farthest-side | closest-corner | farthest-corner | <length> | <length-percentage>{2}
<position> = [ [ left | center | right ] || [ top | center | bottom ] | [ left | center | right | <length-percentage> ] [ top | center | bottom | <length-percentage> ]? | [ [ left | right ] <length-percentage> ] && [ [ top | bottom ] <length-percentage> ] ]

<alpha-value> = <number> | <percentage>
<hue> = <number> | <angle>
<color-stop> = <color> <length-percentage>?
<length-percentage> = <length> | <percentage>


Note that the star image is partially transparent and is layered over the cat image.


  <p class="catsandstars">
    This paragraph is full of cats<br />and stars.
  <p>This paragraph is not.</p>
  <p class="catsandstars">
    Here are more cats for you.<br />Look at them!
  <p>And no more.</p>


p {
  font-size: 1.5em;
  color: #FE7F88;
  background-image: none;
  background-color: transparent;

div {

.catsandstars {
  background-color: transparent;


Accessibility concerns

Assistive technology cannot parse background images. If the image contains information critical to understanding the page's overall purpose, it is better to describe it semantically in the document.


Specification Status Comment
CSS Backgrounds and Borders Module Level 3
The definition of 'background-image' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation From CSS2 Revision 1, the property has been extended to support multiple backgrounds and any <image> CSS data type.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'background-image' in that specification.
Recommendation From CSS1, the way images with and without intrinsic dimensions are handled is now described.
CSS Level 1
The definition of 'background-image' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Initial valuenone
Applies toall elements. It also applies to ::first-letter and ::first-line.
Computed valueas specified, but with <url> values made absolute
Animation typediscrete
Canonical orderthe unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support1121143.51
Multiple backgrounds1123.69 Yes1.3
SVG images812499.555
element() No No Yes6 No No No
image-rect() No No Yes -moz- 7 No No No
Any <image> value Yes ? No ? ? ?
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Multiple backgrounds Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gradients Yes Yes2 Yes Yes3 Yes4 Yes2 Yes
SVG images No Yes Yes Yes Yes55 Yes
element() No No No Yes6 No No No
image-rect() No No No Yes -moz- 7 No No No
Any <image> value Yes Yes ? No ? ? Yes

1. If the browser.display.use_document_colors user preference in about:config is set to false, background images will not be displayed.

2. Some versions support only experimental gradients prefixed with -webkit.

3. Some versions support only experimental gradients prefixed with -moz.

4. Some versions support only experimental gradients prefixed with -o.

5. Support of SVG in CSS background is incomplete.

6. element() is supported only in its -moz-element() prefixed version

7. image-rect() is supported only in its -moz-image-rect() prefixed version.

See also