Overflow – CSS

title: Overflow


The overflow property specifies what happens if content overflows an element’s box (this property only works for block elements with a specified height).

This property specifies whether to clip content or to add scrollbars when an element’s content is too big to fit in a specified area.

For example, a given block-level element (<div>) set to 300px wide, that contains an image that is 400px wide. The image will stick out of the div and be visible by default. However, if the overflow value is set to hidden, the image will cut off at 300px.


  • visible: This is the default value of the property. Content is not clipped when it’s bigger than the box.
  • hidden: Overflowing content will be hidden.
  • scroll: Similar to hidden, but users will be able to scroll through the hidden content.
  • auto: If the content proceeds outside its box, then that content will be hidden, whilst a scrollbar should be visible for users to read the rest of the content. Behaviour can vary according to the browser’s user-agent.
  • initial: Uses the default value which is visible.
  • inherit: Sets the overflow to the value of its parent element.



.box-element { overflow: visible; }
Example Image


.box-element { overflow: hidden; }
Example Image


.box-element { overflow: scroll; }
Example Image


.box-element { overflow: auto; }
Example Image

overflow-x and overflow-y

Different overflow properties can be set for content overflowing the width and height of an element.

  • overflow-x: Specify overflow behaviour for left and right edges.
  • overflow-y: Specify overflow behaviour for top and bottom edges.
.box-element { overflow-x: scroll; overflow-y: auto; }
Example Image

If the content overflows the y-axis, then that content will be hidden, whilst a scrollbar should be visible for users to read the rest of the content.


  • the text-overflow property the overflowed content should be displayed/signaled to the user
  • both of the following properties are required for text-overflow:
white-space: nowrap; overflow:hidden;
  • values: clip – default value, the text is not accessible and is clipped ellipsis – it renders an ellipsis (“…”) string – render the given string initial – sets the property to its default value inherit – inherits this property from its parent element

More Information:

CSS-Tricks: overflow
W3Schools: image source

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