Reset CSS display property to default value


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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...


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    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 revert, but it is not final). Information about browser support for revert can be found on caniuse.com.

    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.)


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    If using javascript is allowed, you can set the display property to an empty string. This will cause it to use the default for that particular element.

    var element = document.querySelector('span.selector');
    
    // Set display to empty string to use default for that element
    element.style.display = '';
    

    Here is a link to a jsbin.

    This is nice because you don't have to worry about the different types of display to revert to (block, inline, inline-block, table-cell, etc).

    But, it requires javascript, so if you are looking for a css-only solution, then this is not the solution for you.

    Note: This overrides inline styles, but not styles set in css


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    Unset display:

    You can use the value unset which works in both Firefox and Chrome.

    display: unset;
    

    .foo     { display: none;  }
    .foo.bar { display: unset; }
    

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    No, it is generally not possible. Once some CSS (or HTML) code sets a value for a property on an element, there is no way to undo it and tell the browser to use its default value.

    It is of course possible to set a property a value that you expect to be the default value. This may work rather widely if you check the Rendering section of HTML5 CR, mostly reflecting what browsers actually do.

    Still, the answer is “No”, because browsers may have whatever default values they like. You should analyze what was the reason for wanting to reset to defaults; the original problem may still be solvable.


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    If you have access to JavaScript, you can create an element and read its computed style.

    function defaultValueOfCssPropertyForElement(cssPropertyName, elementTagName, opt_pseudoElement) {
        var pseudoElement = opt_pseudoElement || null;
        var element = document.createElement(elementTagName);
        document.body.appendChild(element);
        var computedStyle = getComputedStyle(element, pseudoElement)[cssPropertyName];
        element.remove();
        return computedStyle;
    }
    
    // Usage:
    defaultValueOfCssPropertyForElement('display', 'div'); // Output: 'block'
    defaultValueOfCssPropertyForElement('content', 'div', ':after'); // Output: 'none'
    

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    Concerning the answer by BoltClock and John, I personally had issues with the initial keyword when using IE11. It works fine in Chrome, but in IE it seems to have no effect.

    According to this answer IE does not support the initial keyword: Div display:initial not working as intended in ie10 and chrome 29

    I tried setting it blank instead as suggested here: how to revert back to normal after display:none for table row

    This worked and was good enough for my scenario. Of course to set the real initial value the above answer is the only good one I could find.