CSS transform-origin

The CSS transform-origin property allows you to define the origin for the transformation of an element. In other words, it lets you define a base position for the transformation of an element.

For example, the transform-origin of the rotate() function is the centre of rotation.

The transform-origin property allows you to change the "x" and "y" axis of 2-dimensional (2D) elements, as well as the "z" axis on three-dimensional (3D) elements.

Syntax

transform-origin: x-axis y-axis z-axis

Possible Values

[ <percentage> | <length> | left | center | right | top |
      bottom]
      |
      [
        [ <percentage> | <length> | left | center | right
      ]
        &&
        [ <percentage> | <length> | top | center | bottom
      ]
      ] <length>?

Explanation of the possible values:

x-axis

Possible values for the x-axis are:

<percentage>
Defines, as a percentage value, an offset of the transform origin from the top left corner of the element's bounding box. For example, transform-origin: 30%
<length>
Defines, as a fixed length, an offset of the transform origin from the top left corner of the element's bounding box. For example, transform-origin: 30px
left
Places the transformed element at the left of the element's bounding box.
center
Places the transformed element at the center of the element's bounding box.
right
Places the transformed element at the right of the element's bounding box.

y-axis

Possible values for the y-axis are:

<percentage>
Defines, as a percentage value, an offset of the transform origin from the top left corner of the element's bounding box. For example, transform-origin: 30%
<length>
Defines, as a fixed length, an offset of the transform origin from the top left corner of the element's bounding box. For example, transform-origin: 30px
top
Places the transformed element at the top of the element's bounding box.
bottom
Places the transformed element at the bottom of the element's bounding box.

z-axis

Possible values for the z-axis are:

<length>
Defines, as a fixed length, an offset of the transform origin from the top left corner of the element's bounding box. For example, transform-origin: 30px

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
50% 50%
Applies To
This property applies only to transformable elements.

In HTML, a transformable element is either:

  • a block-level or atomic inline-level element
  • or whose CSS display property computes to table-row, table-row-group, table-header-group, table-footer-group, table-cell, or table-caption

In SVG, a transformable element is an element which has the attributes transform, patternTransform or gradientTransform.

Inherited?
No
Media
Visual
Computed Value
For <length> the absolute value, otherwise a percentage.

Example Code

Basic CSS

transform-origin: 80% 80% 0;

Working Example within an HTML Document

<!doctype html>
<title>Example</title>
<style>
div {
  width: 100px;
  padding: 30px 20px;
  margin-top: 40px;
  background: yellowgreen;
  font-family: sans-serif;
}
.rotate
{
  transform: rotate(20deg); 
  transform-origin: 80% 80% 0; 
</style>

<div class="rotate">
  Rotated box...
</div>

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.