The :empty pseudo selector will select elements that contain either nothing or only an HTML comment.

div:empty {
   display: none;

Will Match


<div><!-- test --></div>

Will Not Match

<div> </div>

  <!-- test -->


It's useful for hiding empty elements that might cause weird spacing (e.g. they have padding). Or something like removing the border from the top left table cell element in a cross-referencing table.

Other Resources

Browser Support

Chrome Safari Firefox Opera IE Android iOS
any 3.1+ 1.5+ 9.5+ 9+ 2.1+ 3.1+


  1. Henry
    Permalink to comment#

    Loving the :empty pseudo selector – is especially good with BuddyPress template notices!

  2. Charles Walton
    Permalink to comment#

    For reference, puesdoelements (:after/:before) don’t count as content. Check it:

  3. Sergio Pinna

    What about that css:

    *:empty {
    • Vergil Penkov
      Permalink to comment#

      Yeah, it’s gonna work. Might wanna use !important there as well.

      One useful example would be if you have hard-coded elements.
      You can use
      p:empty+hr {
      display: none

      That would hide unneeded separators.
      Tweak to your own preference.

  4. macem
    Permalink to comment#

    *:empty rule style even hr tag and <a>img tag</a>

  5. Heath L.
    Permalink to comment#

    This selector didn’t work for me when I tested it on CodePen. Is my code incorrect? Here is the code I used to target “empty” elements. Perhaps this selector is no longer supported?

    When I targeted divs that were NOT empty, however, it worked. See here.

    • Michael Miko
      Permalink to comment#

      It works, you just don’t see it.

      :empty {
      background-color: #99ff99;
      padding: 16px;

  6. Heath L.
    Permalink to comment#

    You’re right Micheal, I can see the color when I add padding to the CSS. Can you tell I’m a beginner?

    Thx very much for the help

  7. Karthick Rajan

    It works good when an element is empty. But if atleast it had a “space” it doesn’t work. I understand it will not work as it is not empty. But my requirement is this.

    I have a parent Div and an Empty Child Div within it. So the Height of the parent Div is ‘0’. Can i in some way use a css selector to select the parent Div. I need to clear out certain css properties like padding, margin on the parent Div if it’s height is ‘0’. I can’t use Javascript or Jquery for some reason. Is this possible.

  8. mister

    If <div>0</div> is equal to zero, how it can be disabled.
    Please advise…

    • Salman
      Permalink to comment#

      0 is just a general text not wrapped inside any text
      in short div:empty only checks if there exits a sub tag inside this div or not

  9. Alex Ward
    Permalink to comment#

    Point to note: I know that a few people have suggested *:empty is a good idea. However beware that this will include inputs with no value too.

    • some_jack


      Tough you’ld still have to care for many other elements that can be empty (display only background image/color etc…)

  10. Max
    Permalink to comment#

    This came in really handy. Thanks!

    I made a class called hideif and got this cool little snippet.

    .hideif:empty {
    display:none !important;

  11. Nick van de Veerdonk
    Permalink to comment#

    Thanks yet again this is so cool!

  12. Matthijs
    Permalink to comment#

    Seems that the following cell, containing a table that has empty cells, is not triggered by :empty …

  13. dugfresh
    Permalink to comment#

    <img /> tags are considered empty, as are, I assume, any self-closing elements. found that to be interesting, though, given a tiny fraction of thought, makes total sense.
    so add this to the list of elements to keep in mind when using :empty.

  14. Roy
    Permalink to comment#

    This makes me very happy.
    I’m using box-sizing and using empty <div> box columns as spacing for my desktop alignments. With @media queries however the spacing boxes leave weird padding-type gaps where I don’t want them.
    I’ve added div:empty to my @media query using padding:0px; and it works like a charm.
    Thank you!!!!

  15. John
    Permalink to comment#

    This is a great tip – I’m fetching data from a sql database using php. When a column is empty, it left an annoying little white circle since the data being fetched was inserted into a white border with a bit of padding. Used with !important, it worked like a charm to get rid of this.

  16. Aaron Grogg
    Permalink to comment#

    FYI, the “Other Resources” link for “Vanishing Acts (use cases)” is a 404 on Dudley’s site.

    Couldn’t find anything that immediately looked like a match…


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