CSS background-clip

The CSS background-clip property was introduced in CSS3 for the purposes of setting the clipping behavior for the background of an element. It sets the "background painting area" for the element.

The background-clip property allows you to specify whether the background will be painted to the "content box", "border box", or the "padding box".

The background-clip property is used in conjunction with other "background" related properties, such as the background-color and background-image properties.

In CSS3, the background-clip property has been added to the background shorthand property. This means that you can set the background-clip from within the background property (for example, background: url("bg.png") 40% / 10em lightblue round fixed border-box;).

Syntax

background-clip: value

The formal syntax for this property is:

background-clip: <box> [ , <box> ]*

Where

<box> = border-box | padding-box | content-box

For more information, see the Possible Values section below.

Possible Values

border-box
Specifies that the background is clipped to (i.e. painted within) the border box. The background will extend all the way to the outer edge of the border. Therefore, if your border is partially transparent (i.e. using alpha channels), you will see the background extending beneath the border.
padding-box
Specifies that the background is clipped to (i.e. painted within) the padding box. The background will extend only to the padding box. It doesn't extend beneath any borders.
content-box
Specifies that the background is clipped to (i.e. painted within) the content box. If the box contains padding, there will be a space between the background and the outer edge of the box.

If one value is present then it sets both background-origin and background-clip to that value. If two values are present, then the first sets background-origin and the second background-clip.

In addition, all CSS properties also accept the following CSS-wide keyword values as the sole component of their property value:

initial
Represents the value specified as the property's initial value.
inherit
Represents the computed value of the property on the element's parent.
unset
This value acts as either inherit or initial, depending on whether the property is inherited or not. In other words, it sets all properties to their parent value if they are inheritable or to their initial value if not inheritable.

Basic Property Information

Initial Value
border-box
Applies To
All elements
Inherited?
No
Media
Visual
Animatable
No

Example Code

Basic CSS

background-clip: content-box;

Working Example within an HTML Document

<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Example</title>
<style>
.clipped {
  width: 220px;
  height: 150px;
  padding: 10px;
  background-color: yellowgreen;
  background-image: url(/pix/byron_bay_300x225.jpg);
  border: 20px solid rgba(0,0,0,0.3);
  background-clip: border-box;
  background-origin: border-box;
}
</style>
<div class="clipped">
  Testing the <code>background-clip</code> property!
</div>
<p>Change the value to see the difference between <code>content-box</code>, <code>padding-box</code>, and <code>border-box</code>.</p>

Try it with the Online Editor

CSS Specifications

Browser Support

The following table provided by Caniuse.com shows the level of browser support for this feature.

Vendor Prefixes

For maximum browser compatibility many web developers add browser-specific properties by using extensions such as -webkit- for Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera (newer versions), -ms- for Internet Explorer, -moz- for Firefox, -o- for older versions of Opera etc. As with any CSS property, if a browser doesn't support a proprietary extension, it will simply ignore it.

This practice is not recommended by the W3C, however in many cases, the only way you can test a property is to include the CSS extension that is compatible with your browser.

The major browser manufacturers generally strive to adhere to the W3C specifications, and when they support a non-prefixed property, they typically remove the prefixed version. Also, W3C advises vendors to remove their prefixes for properties that reach Candidate Recommendation status.

Many developers use Autoprefixer, which is a postprocessor for CSS. Autoprefixer automatically adds vendor prefixes to your CSS so that you don't need to. It also removes old, unnecessary prefixes from your CSS.

You can also use Autoprefixer with preprocessors such as Less and Sass.