Joeytje50 Joeytje50 - 1 year ago 162
CSS Question

Cross-browser custom styling for file upload button

I'm trying to style a file upload button to my personal preferences, but I couldn't find any really solid ways to do this without JS. I did find two other questions about this subject, but the answers there either involved JavaScript, or suggested Quirksmode's approach.

My major issue with this Quirksmode's approach is that the file button will still have the browser-defined dimensions, so it won't automatically adjust to whatever's used as button that's placed below it. I've made some code, based on it, but it will just take up the space the file button would normally take up, so it won't at all fill the parent div like I want it to.


<div class="myLabel">
<input type="file"/>
<span>My Label</span>


.myLabel {
position: relative;
.myLabel input {
position: absolute;
z-index: 2;
opacity: 0;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;

This fiddle demonstrates how this approach is quite flawed. In Chrome, clicking the
below the second demo button will open the file dialog anyway, but also in all other browsers, the file button doesn't take up the correct areas of the button.

Is there any more solid way to style the file upload button, without any JavaScript, and preferably using as little 'hacky' coding as possible (since hacking usually brings other problems along with it, such as the ones in the fiddle)?

Answer Source

I'm posting this because (to my surprise) there was no other place I could find that recommended this.

There's a really easy way to do this, without restricting you to browser-defined input dimensions. Just use the <label> tag around a hidden file upload button. This allows for even more freedom in styling than the styling allowed via webkit's built-in styling[1].

The label tag was made for the exact purpose of directing any click events on it to the child inputs[2], so using that, you won't require any JavaScript to direct the click event to the input button for you anymore. You'd to use something like the following:

label.myLabel input[type="file"] {
    position: fixed;
    top: -1000px;

/***** Example custom styling *****/
.myLabel {
    border: 2px solid #AAA;
    border-radius: 4px;
    padding: 2px 5px;
    margin: 2px;
    background: #DDD;
    display: inline-block;
.myLabel:hover {
    background: #CCC;
.myLabel:active {
    background: #CCF;
.myLabel :invalid + span {
    color: #A44;
.myLabel :valid + span {
    color: #4A4;
<label class="myLabel">
    <input type="file" required/>
    <span>My Label</span>

I've used a fixed position to hide the input, to make it work even in ancient versions of Internet Explorer (emulated IE8- refused to work on a visibility:hidden or display:none file-input). I've tested in emulated IE7 and up, and it worked perfectly.

  1. You can't use <button>s inside <label> tags unfortunately, so you'll have to define the styles for the buttons yourself. To me, this is the only downside to this approach.
  2. If the for attribute is defined, its value is used to trigger the input with the same id as the for attribute on the <label>.