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The content property in CSS is used in conjunction with the pseudo elements ::before and ::after. It is used to literally insert content. There are four value types it can have.


.name::before {
  content: "Name: ";

Then an element like this:

<div class="name">Chris</div>

Would render like this:

Name: Chris

It could also be an empty string, which is commonly seen in things like the clearfix.


div::before {
  content: counter(my-counter);

More information about that.


div::before {
  content: url(image.jpg);

This is literally an image on the page like <img> would be. It could also be a gradient. Note that you cannot change the dimensions of the image when inserted this way. You could also insert an image by using an empty string for the content, making it display: block in some way, sizing it, and using background-image. That way you could re-size it with background-size.


You can use values (strings, anyway) that are taken right from attributes in the HTML.

<div data-visual-label="Widget Rating">60</div>
[data-visual-label]:before {
  content: attr(data-visual-label) ": ";

More Information

Content inserted in this was isn’t really in the DOM, so it has some limitations. For instance you can’t attach an event directly (only) to a pseudo elements. It is also inconsistant whether or not text inserted in this way is read by screen readers or if you can select it.

Browser Support

Chrome Safari Firefox Opera IE Android iOS
Any Any Any 4+ 8+ Any Any

For Opera, url() only supported in version 7+.