CSS Outline

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CSS Outline

The CSS outline properties specify the style, color, and width of an outline.

An outline is a line that is drawn around elements (outside the borders) to make the element "stand out".

However, the outline property is different from the border property - The outline is NOT a part of an element's dimensions; the element's total width and height is not affected by the width of the outline.


This element has a thin black border and an outline that is 10px wide and green.

Outline Style

The outline-style property specifies the style of the outline.

The outline-style property can have one of the following values:

  • dotted - Defines a dotted outline
  • dashed - Defines a dashed outline
  • solid - Defines a solid outline
  • double - Defines a double outline
  • groove - Defines a 3D grooved outline. The effect depends on the outline-color value
  • ridge - Defines a 3D ridged outline. The effect depends on the outline-color value
  • inset - Defines a 3D inset outline. The effect depends on the outline-color value
  • outset - Defines a 3D outset outline. The effect depends on the outline-color value
  • none - Defines no outline
  • hidden - Defines a hidden outline

The following example first sets a thin black border around each <p> element, then it shows the different outline-style values:


    border: 1px solid black;
    outline-color: red;


p.dotted {outline-style: dotted;}
p.dashed {outline-style: dashed;}
p.solid {outline-style: solid;}
p.double {outline-style: double;}
p.groove {outline-style: groove;}
p.ridge {outline-style: ridge;}
p.inset {outline-style: inset;}
p.outset {outline-style: outset;}

Outline Color

The outline-color property is used to set the color of the outline.

The color can be set by:

  • name - specify a color name, like "red"
  • RGB - specify a RGB value, like "rgb(255,0,0)"
  • Hex - specify a hex value, like "#ff0000"
  • invert - performs a color inversion (which ensures that the outline is visible, regardless of color background)



Outline Width

The outline-width property specifies the width of the outline.

The width can be set as a specific size (in px, pt, cm, em, etc) or by using one of the three pre-defined values: thin, medium, or thick.


{border: 1px solid black;}

p.one {
    outline-style: double;
    outline-color: red;
    outline-width: thick;


p.two {
    outline-style: double;
    outline-color: green;
    outline-width: 3px;


Outline - Shorthand property

To shorten the code, it is also possible to specify all the individual outline properties in one property.

The outline property is a shorthand property for the following individual outline properties:

  • outline-width
  • outline-style (required)
  • outline-color


    border: 1px solid black;
    outline: 5px dotted red;