Treehouse

CSS :target

By on  

One interesting CSS pseudo selector is :target.  The target pseudo selector provides styling capabilities for an element whose ID matches the window location's hash.  Let's have a quick look at how the CSS target pseudo selector works!

The HTML

Assume there are any number of HTML elements with a given ID:

<h2 id="section1">Section 1</h2>

<h2 id="section2">Section 2</h2>

Take note of the ID values of the elements above -- to trigger the :target pseudo selector, the window.location.hash will need to match.

The CSS

The :target pseudo selector may be applied to classes, tags, or any other selector:

/* would apply to all targetted elements */
:target {
	color: #000;
}

/* applies to H2's */
h2:target {
	color: #f00;
}

When the window.location.hash is "section2", the element color will become red and underlined.  Simple!  Much like you can animate elements upon hover or even between media queries, you could even animate the element when targeted; Chris Coyier provides an excellent example of target animating.

:target is neat but I haven't seen it abused to do anything groundbreaking.  For a site that doesn't strive for ultimate dynamism, however, the :target pseudo selector could add a bit of native class when using window hashes.

ydkjs-1.png

Recent Features

  • Facebook Open Graph META&nbsp;Tags

    It's no secret that Facebook has become a major traffic driver for all types of websites.  Nowadays even large corporations steer consumers toward their Facebook pages instead of the corporate websites directly.  And of course there are Facebook "Like" and "Recommend" widgets on every website.  One...

  • Responsive and Infinitely Scalable JS&nbsp;Animations

    Back in late 2012 it was not easy to find open source projects using requestAnimationFrame() – this is the hook that allows Javascript code to synchronize with a web browser's native paint loop. Animations using this method can run at 60 fps and deliver fantastic...

Incredible Demos

  • MooTools Gone Wild: Element&nbsp;Flashing

    If you're like me and lay awake in bed at night, you've flipped on the TV and seen the commercials: misguided, attention-starved college girls fueled by alcohol ruining their futures by flashing lame camera-men on Spring Break. Why do they do it? Attention,...

  • Introducing MooTools&nbsp;LinkAlert

    One of my favorite Firefox plugins is called LinkAlert. LinkAlert shows the user an icon when they hover over a special link, like a link to a Microsoft Word DOC or a PDF file. I love that warning because I hate the surprise...

Discussion

  1. Hi David,

    I think one of the reason that make this technique hard to use in large websites could be the unability to create multi-level lists with this :

    Example :

    Four links in 2 categories
    – #category1-link1
    – #category1-link2
    – #category2-link1
    – #category2-link2

    Category 1

    Link1
    Link1

    Category 2

    Link1
    Link1

    Then, this way you can style the 2nd-level links (#categoryX-linkY), but how can you know how to style #category1 and category2? You can’t. Because #category1:target and #category2:target never happen.

    The only solution I see is parent selectors but it’s not even implemented in browsers yet.

  2. First thing for :target use that comes to mind “tabs” nothing else…

  3. SVG stacks use :target to great effect. Too bad they’re not more widely useful yet.

  4. Another valid use I’ve come across is accordion widgets.

  5. Yin

    Not sure if I can think of a good use for this yet, but it’s great to read about it. I think the code:

    h2:target {
    color: #f00;
    }

    should be

    h2:target {
    background: #f00;
    }

  6. very good idea!
    Even for dynamic pages.

    http://jsfiddle.net/b3YEk/17/

  7. The only problem right now is bad support in IE, which doesn’t remove or re-add the pseudo-class when you use back and forward navigation.

  8. Joe

    I was aware of :target, but this has prompted me to use it for a great use case: help docs.

    Now I can just link people to the ID of a specific part of a help guide and it will automatically highlight the relevant passage.

    Perfect.

  9. @DrDeath, quite limited imagination. How about a FAQ Page that has all the questions first and the answers at the bottom? If there are many, using :target to highlight the answer for the question that you clicked would make it easy, since several answers would be shown on the screen at the same time.

  10. @Gabriel Rodriguez i think accordion better for faq page

  11. Using :not(:target) gives you even more flexibility, because you can also style the elements that are not :target, and even apply transitions to them :)

    http://jsfiddle.net/SchizoDuckie/fzZ9d/

  12. When do you guys expect Internet Explorer will have full support for these kind of elements?

    • SchizoDuckie

      Probably somewhere between 2020 and 2030. And then you’ll still have to wait for adoption rate…

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!