Svish Svish - 1 month ago 9
CSS Question

Reset CSS display property to default value

Is it possible to override the display property with its default value? For example if I have set it to none in one style, and I want to override it in a different with its default.

Or is the only way to find out what the default of that element is and then set it to that? Would like to not have to know if the element is usually block, inline or whichever...

Answer

A browser's default styles are defined in its user agent stylesheet, the sources of which you can find here. Unfortunately, the Cascading and Inheritance level 3 spec does not appear to propose a way to reset a style property to its browser default. However there are plans to reintroduce a keyword for this in Cascading and Inheritance level 4 — the working group simply hasn't settled on a name for this keyword yet (the link currently says default, but it is not final, and it conflicts with the cursor property anyway).

While the level 3 spec does introduce an initial keyword, setting a property to its initial value resets it to its default value as defined by CSS, not as defined by the browser. The initial value of display is inline; this is specified here. The initial keyword refers to that value, not the browser default. The spec itself makes this note under the all property:

For example, if an author specifies all: initial on an element it will block all inheritance and reset all properties, as if no rules appeared in the author, user, or user-agent levels of the cascade.

This can be useful for the root element of a "widget" included in a page, which does not wish to inherit the styles of the outer page. Note, however, that any "default" style applied to that element (such as, e.g. display: block from the UA style sheet on block elements such as <div>) will also be blown away.

So I guess the only way right now using pure CSS is to look up the browser default value and set it manually to that:

div.foo { display: inline-block; }
div.foo.bar { display: block; }

(An alternative to the above would be div.foo:not(.bar) { display: inline-block; }, but that involves modifying the original selector rather than an override.)