CSS transform-style

The CSS transform-style property is used to determine whether child elements (of a 3D element) should be 3D or flat.

If the value is preserve-3d, the children of the element will be positioned in the 3D-space (i.e. they will appear as 3D). If the value is flat, the children will appear flat (i.e. they won't appear as 3D).

Syntax

transform-style: <i>value</i>

Possible Values

flat | preserve-3d

Explanation of these values:

preserve-3d
Specifies that the children of the element should be positioned in the 3D-space.
flat
Specifies that the children of the element are lying in the plane of the element itself.

Basic Property Information

Initial Value
flat
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
Same as specified value.

Example Code

Basic CSS

transform-style: preserve-3d;

Working Example within an HTML Document

<!doctype html>
<title>Example</title>
<style>
.container {
  position: relative;
  left:80px;
  top:60px;
  height: 200px;
  width: 200px;
  margin: 1px;
  border: 1px dotted firebrick;
  perspective: 250px; 
}
.rotate {
  padding:10px;
  width: 200px;
  height: 200px;
  text-align:center;
  background-color: gold;
  opacity: 0.8;
  transform-style: preserve-3d;
  animation: rotate 7s linear 0s infinite reverse none;
}
.container:hover .rotate {
  transform-style: flat;
}
@keyframes rotate {
  from { transform: rotateX(0); }
  to   { transform: rotateX(360deg); }
}
.rotate > div {
  position: absolute;
  top: 40px;
  left: 40px;
  width: 80px;
  height: 50px;
  padding: 10px;
  box-sizing: border-box;
}
.rotate > :first-child {
  width:80px;
  height:70px;
  background-color: chartreuse;
  transform: translateZ(-80px) rotateY(35deg);
}
.rotate > :last-child {
  width:100px;
  height:50px;
  background-color: plum;
  transform: translateZ(50px) rotateX(50deg);
  transform-origin: 50% top;
}
</style>

<p>Hover over the rotating boxes to see what happens when the <code>transform-style</code> goes from <code>preserve-3d</code> to <code>flat</code>.</p>
<div class="container">
	<div class="rotate">Rotating box...
      <div>First Child</div>
      <div>Last Child</div>	
	</div>
</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.