CSS Transforms

By  on  

CSS has become more and more powerful over the past few years and CSS transforms are a prime example. CSS transforms allow for sophisticated, powerful transformations of HTML elements.  One or more transformations can be applied to a given element and transforms can even be animated using CSS animations.

Transform Types

There are several types of CSS transforms, each performing a different function.  The following are the transform types with example value:

  • transform: none
  • transform: matrix(1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0)
  • transform: matrix3d(1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0, 10.0, 11.0, 12.0, 13.0, 14.0, 15.0, 16.0)
  • transform: rotate(0.5turn)
  • transform: rotateX(3deg)
  • transform: rotateY(3deg)
  • transform: rotateZ(3deg)
  • transform: rotate3d(1, 2.0, 3.0, 3deg)
  • transform: scale(3, 3.5)
  • transform: scaleX(3)
  • transform: scaleY(0.6)
  • transform: scaleZ(0.9)
  • transform: scale3d(2.5, 1.2, 0.3)
  • transform: skewX(44deg)
  • transform: skewY(1.9rad)
  • transform: translate(12px, 20%)
  • transform: translateX(5em)
  • transform: translateY(9in)
  • transform: translateZ(4px)
  • transform: translate3d(40px, 20%, 5em)
  • transform: perspective(40px)

All text, imagery, background imagery, and other elements will be transformed accordingly.

Multiple Transforms

Applying multiple transforms to an element is simple:

.myTransformElement {
	transform: scale(2) skewY(0.3) rotate(4deg);

Separate multiple transforms using spaces!

Sibling Property: transform-origin

Transforms have a sibling property of transform-origin.  The transform-origin property provides a point of origin for the given transform to take place:

.myTransformElement {
	transform: scale(2) skewY(0.3) rotate(4deg);

	transform-origin: 0 0;
	transform-origin: 50% 50%;
	transform-origin: -5em 3em;

As you can see above, there are several formats of transform-origin to choose from.

Animating Transforms

Animating CSS transforms is just as easy as animating any other CSS property:

.container {
	transform: rotateY(2deg);
	transition: 0.6s;
	transition-property: transform;

.container:hover {
	transform: rotateY(180deg);

@keyframe animations can also be used to animate CSS transforms.

CSS Transform Examples

Recent Features

  • By
    6 Things You Didn’t Know About Firefox OS

    Firefox OS is all over the tech news and for good reason:  Mozilla's finally given web developers the platform that they need to create apps the way they've been creating them for years -- with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.  Firefox OS has been rapidly improving...

  • By
    Chris Coyier’s Favorite CodePen Demos

    David asked me if I'd be up for a guest post picking out some of my favorite Pens from CodePen. A daunting task! There are so many! I managed to pick a few though that have blown me away over the past few months. If you...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    spellcheck Attribute

    Many useful attributes have been provided to web developers recently:  download, placeholder, autofocus, and more.  One helpful older attribute is the spellcheck attribute which allows developers to  control an elements ability to be spell checked or subject to grammar checks.  Simple enough, right?

  • By
    Comment Preview Using MooTools

    Comment previewing is an awesome addition to any blog. I've seen really simple comment previewing and some really complex comment previewing. The following is a tutorial on creating very basic comment previewing using MooTools. The XHTML You can set up your XHTML any way you'd like.


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