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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

The pointer-events property allows for control over how HTML elements respond to mouse/touch events – including CSS hover/active states, click/tap events in Javascript, and whether or not the cursor is visible.

.avoid-clicks {
  pointer-events: none;

While the pointer-events property takes eleven possible values, all but three of them are reserved for use with SVG. The three valid values for any HTMl element are:

  • none prevents all click, state and cursor options on the specified HTML element
  • auto restores the default functionality (useful for use on child elements of an element with pointer-events: none; specified
  • inherit will use the pointer-events value of the element’s parent
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As demonstrated above, the prime use case for pointer-events is to allow click or tap behavior to “pass through” an element to another element below it on the Z axis. For example, this would be useful for graphic overlays, or hiding elements with opacity (eg. tooltips) and still allowing text-selection on the content below it.

Points of Interest

  • “The use of pointer-events in CSS for non-SVG elements is experimental. The feature used to be part of the CSS3 UI draft specification but, due to many open issues, has been postponed to CSS4.” — Mozilla MDN
  • “If you add a click event listener to an element, then remove the pointer-events style (or change its value to auto, the click event will fire the designated functionality. Basically, the click event respects the pointer-events value.” — David Walsh

Other Resources

Browser Support

This browser support data is from Caniuse, which has more detail. A number indicates that browser supports the feature at that version and up.



Mobile / Tablet

Android ChromeAndroid FirefoxAndroidiOS Safari

The support is a bit deeper in some browsers when used on <svg>, for instance, IE 9 supports that.