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CSS background Property

Topic: CSS3 Properties ReferencePrev|Next


The background CSS property is a shorthand property for setting the individual background properties i.e. background-image, background-position, background-size, background-repeat, background-attachment, background-origin, background-clip and background-color in a single declaration.

The following table summarizes the usages context and the version history of this property.

Default value: See individual properties
Applies to: All elements
Inherited: No
Animatable: Yes, as some of the properties of the shorthand are animatable. See animatable properties.
Version: CSS 1, 2, 3


The syntax of the property is given with:

background [ image position/size repeat attachment origin clip color ] | initial | inherit

Note: If any property listed above is missing or omitted, the default value for that property will be inserted, if any. See individual properties for details.

The example below shows the background property in action.

body {
    background: #ffff00 url("smiley.png") no-repeat fixed center;

In CSS3 you can also add multiple backgrounds to a single element. The backgrounds are layered on the top of one another along the z-axis.

.box {
    width: 100%;
    height: 500px;
    background: url("images/birds.png") no-repeat center,  url("images/clouds.png")  no-repeat center, lightblue;

Property Values

The following table describes the values of this property.

Value Description
Specifies whether the background scrolls with the document, or remains fixed to the viewing area.
background-color Sets the background color of an element.
background-clip Specifies the area within which the background is painted.
background-image Sets one or several background images for an element.
background-origin Specifies the positioning area of the background images.
background-position Sets the initial position of the background image.
background-repeat Specifies how background images are tiled after they have been sized and positioned.
background-size Specifies the size of the background images.
initial Sets this property to its default value.
inherit If specified, the associated element takes the computed value of its parent element background property.

Browser Compatibility

The background property is supported in all major modern browsers.

Browsers Icon

Basic Support—

  • Firefox 1+
  • Google Chrome 1+
  • Internet Explorer 4+
  • Apple Safari 1+
  • Opera 3.5+

Further Reading

See tutorial on: CSS Background, CSS3 Background.

Related properties: background-attachment, background-color, background-clip, background-image, background-origin, background-position, background-repeat, background-size.

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