The CSS reference

"overflow" - css property (v. css 2)

  • To specify what happens if content overflows the box of an element
  • Initial value: visible
  • The property is not inherited
  • HTML usage: non-replaced block-level elements, table cells, inline-table, and inline-block elements
  • Browsers that support the overflow - property :
    Internet Explorer Mozilla Firefox Opera Google Chrome Apple Safari

Possible overflow values:

overflow value Comments CSS
visible Indicates that content is not clipped, i.e., it may be rendered outside the block box. 2
Indicates that the content is clipped and that no scrolling user interface should be provided to view the content outside the clipping region. 2
scroll Indicates that the content is clipped and uses a scrolling mechanism that is visible on the screen (such as a scroll bar or a panner), that mechanism should be displayed for a box whether or not any of its content is clipped. 2
auto The behavior of this value is user agent-dependent, but should cause a scrolling mechanism to be provided for overflowing boxes. 2
inherit Will inherit the value from parent specification. 2

Property "overflow" example:

    <script type="text/javascript">
      function changeOverflow(value) {
    <style   type="text/css">
      #p1 { width: 190px; height: 80px;
  <body >
    <h1 >CSS Selectors</h1>
    <p id="p1">One of the primary advantages of
      CSSparticularly to designersis its ability to
      easily apply a set of styles to all elements
      of the same type. Unimpressed? Consider this:
      by editing a single line of CSS, you can change
      the colors of all your headings.</p>
      <input type="button" onclick="changeOverflow('hidden')"
             value="Paragraph to overflow: hidden" /><br/>
      <input type="button" onclick="changeOverflow('visible')"
             value="Paragraph to overflow: visible" /><br/>
      <input type="button" onclick="changeOverflow('auto')"
             value="Paragraph to overflow: auto" /><br/>
      <input type="button" onclick="changeOverflow('scroll')"
             value="Paragraph to overflow: scroll" /><br/>

Javascript access:

// To SET values ([o] is the target object)
[o].style.overflow="overflow value"
// To GET values you must first get the computed style object
// To get that object in IE or Opera:
var cStyle=[o].currentStyle;
// To get that object in Firefox, Chrome or Safari (w3c-type):
var cStyle=window.getComputedStyle([o],null)
// To GET the property value:;
var value=cStyle.overflow;
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