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CSS keywords


Many CSS properties have specific keywords which may be used as values; in addition, the keywords initial and inherit may be used as the value of any CSS property.

The keywords relevant to a specific CSS property are defined in its property page. All keywords meet the requirements of CSS identifiers, and are case sensitive. Keywords should never be quoted.

CSS-wide keywords

Certain keywords can be used for any CSS property value:

  • inherit copies the value of the property in effect for the element’s parent.

  • initial represents the initial (or default) value for the property, over-riding any values set earlier in the cascade; initial values are defined on each property’s definition; it is not supported in Internet Explorer.

  • unset is equivalent to inherit if the property is normally inherited, or initial otherwise; it is not currently supported in most browsers (although Firefox implements it).


    background-image:radial-gradient(ellipse , yellow, orange 30%);
    /* a property-specific keyword */
h1 {
   /* inherit a not-normally inherited property
      (note that there is a second gradient that fits the
      heading box)
p {
   /* over-ride an inheritied property,
      if your browser supports the initial keyword */
a {
  color: inherit !important;
  /* over-ride a user stylesheet property */

  text-decoration: unset !important;
  /* over-ride a user stylesheet property,
     if your browser supports the unset keyword */

View live example

Related specifications

CSS Cascading and Inheritance Level 3
W3C Candidate Recommendation
CSS Values and Units Module Level 3
W3C Candidate Recommendation
CSS 2.1
W3C Recommendation