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CSS unicode-bidi Property

Topic: CSS3 Properties ReferencePrev|Next


The unicode-bidi CSS property along with the direction property relates to the handling of bidirectional text in a document. For example, if a block of text contains both left-to-right and right-to-left text then the user-agent applies a complex algorithm defined by the Unicode standard to determining the proper directionality of text. The direction and unicode-bidi properties allow developers to control the embedding levels and overrides for this algorithm.

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

Default value: normal
Applies to: All elements
Inherited: No
Animatable: No. See animatable properties.
Version: CSS 2, 3

Note: This property should in most cases be used only by DTD designers. In particular, authors, web designers, and users shouldn't override it.


The syntax of the property is given with:

direction bidi-override | embed | normal | initial | inherit

The example below shows the direction property in action.

p {
    unicode-bidi: bidi-override;
    direction: rtl;

Property Values

The following table describes the values of this property.

Value Description
bidi-override For inline elements this creates an override. For block container elements this creates an override for inline-level descendants not within another block container element. This means that inside the element, reordering is strictly in sequence according to the direction property; the implicit part of the bidirectional algorithm is ignored.
embed If the element is inline, this value opens an additional level of embedding with respect to the bidirectional algorithm. The direction of this embedding level is given by the direction property.
normal This value doesn't offer an additional level of embedding with respect to the bidirectional algorithm. For inline elements, implicit reordering works across element boundaries.
initial Sets this property to its default value.
inherit If specified, the associated element takes the computed value of its parent element unicode-bidi property.

Browser Compatibility

The unicode-bidi property is supported in all major modern browsers.

Browsers Icon

Basic Support—

  • Firefox 1+
  • Google Chrome 2+
  • Internet Explorer 5.5+
  • Apple Safari 1.3+
  • Opera 9.2+

Further Reading

See tutorial on: CSS Text.

Related properties: direction.

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