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Pseudo Elements

Pseudo elements suck on to selectors much like pseudo classes, taking the form of selector:pseudoelement { property: value; }. There are four of the suckers.

First Letters and First Lines

The first-letter pseudo element applies to the first letter inside a box and first-line to the top-most displayed line in a box.

As an example, you could create drop caps and a bold first-line for paragraphs with something like this:


p {
    font-size: 12px;
}

p:first-letter {
    font-size: 24px;
    float: left;
}

p:first-line {
    font-weight: bold;
}

Before and After Content

The before and after pseudo elements are used in conjunction with the content property to place content either side of a box without touching the HTML.

The value of the content property can be open-quote, close-quote, any string enclosed in quotation marks, or any image, using url(imagename).


blockquote:before {
    content: open-quote;
}

blockquote:after {
    content: close-quote;
}

li:before {
    content: "POW! ";
}

p:before {
    content: url(images/jam.jpg);
}

The content property effectively creates another box to play with so you can also add styles to the “presentational content”:


li:before {
    content: "POW! ";
    background: red;
    color: #fc0;
}