:empty

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The :empty CSS pseudo-class represents any element that has no children. Children can be either element nodes or text (including whitespace). Comments, processing instructions, and CSS content do not affect whether an element is considered empty.

Note: In Selectors Level 4 the :empty pseudo-class was changed to act like :-moz-only-whitespace, but no browser currently supports this yet.

/* Selects any <div> that contains no content */
div:empty {
  background: lime;
}

Syntax

:empty

Examples

HTML

<div class="box"><!-- I will be lime. --></div>
<div class="box">I will be pink.</div>
<div class="box">
	<!-- I will be pink in older browsers because of the whitespace around this comment. -->
</div>
<div class="box">
	<p><!-- I will be pink in all browsers because of the non-collapsible whitespace and elements around this comment. --></p>
</div>

CSS

.box {
  background: pink;
  height: 80px;
  width: 80px;
}

.box:empty {
  background: lime;
}

Result

Accessibility concerns

Assistive technology such as screen readers cannot parse interactive content that is empty. All interactive content must have an accessible name, which is created by providing a text value for the interactive control's parent element (anchors, buttons, etc.). Accessible names expose the interactive control to the accessibility tree, an API that communicates information useful for assistive technologies.

The text that provides the interactive control's accessible name can be hidden using a combination of properties that remove it visually from the screen but keep it parseable by assistive technology. This is commonly used for buttons that rely solely on an icon to convey purpose.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
Selectors Level 4
The definition of 'the :empty pseudo-class' in that specification.
Working Draft Changed to act like :-moz-only-whitespace.
Selectors Level 3
The definition of 'the :empty pseudo-class' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Update compatibility data on GitHub
DesktopMobile
ChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafariAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidFirefox for AndroidOpera for AndroidSafari on iOSSamsung Internet
:emptyChrome Full support 1Edge Full support 12Firefox Full support 1IE Full support 9Opera Full support 9.5Safari Full support 3.1WebView Android Full support 2Chrome Android Full support 18Firefox Android Full support 4Opera Android Full support 10.1Safari iOS Full support 3.1Samsung Internet Android Full support 1.0
Matches elements with whitespace
Experimental
Chrome No support NoEdge No support NoFirefox No support No
Notes
No support No
Notes
Notes See bug 1106296.
IE No support NoOpera No support NoSafari No support NoWebView Android No support NoChrome Android No support NoFirefox Android No support NoOpera Android No support NoSafari iOS No support NoSamsung Internet Android No support No

Legend

Full support  
Full support
No support  
No support
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
Experimental. Expect behavior to change in the future.
See implementation notes.
See implementation notes.

See also