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The <string> CSS data type represents character data surrounded with either single (') or double (") quote characters. Any unicode characters can be included in the string, but many need to be expressed with escape sequences.

The CSS escape character is the backslash (\). There are two ways to create an escape sequence:

  • as a backslash followed by the special character (e.g., \" for a double quote or \\ for a backslash);
  • as a backslash followed by a hexadecimal number representing the unicode value (e.g., \22 for a double quote, \263A for a smiley face or \a for a line break); either lowercase or uppercase letters may be used for the hexadecimal digits.

Unicode characters may also be entered directly, if the file is saved with the correct encoding and a @charset rule is declared at the top of the stylesheet file (for embedded style blocks, an equivalent charset declaration must be made in the HTML/XML).

The following characters always need to be escaped:

  • quotation marks of the same type used to delimit the string (but single quotes can be used unescaped in a double-quoted string and vice versa);
  • the backslash character;
  • line breaks (see below).

If you wish to break a long string of text across multiple lines in your source code, you can insert a \ escape character immediately before the line break. The escaped linebreak is not included in the resulting string. To include a line break character in the final string value, you will also need to add a \a escape sequence.


Escape characters in strings

body::before {
    content: "Don't you just \A \"\2665\22 \a the live \
              code examples?";
/* Displays as:
Don't you just
the live code examples?

     /* preserve line breaks but collapse spaces */

View live example

Related specifications

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