The New Feature of Background Position in CSS

Learn Something New in CSS (Series)

Hello everybody. I assume that most of you have used or have experience with the CSS background-position property, but perhaps what you didn’t know, is the positioning offset of background images.

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In background-position, prior to CSS3, you had to set the position from the top left of the element.
For Example:

background-position: 20px 40px;
/*20px from left & 40px from top*/

The problem was that it wasn’t possible to determine exact position from a different reference point, for example from bottom/right. You could only start from left top!

We used to believe we could only set values such as: background-position: right bottom, or background position:70% 80% (70% from left, 80% from top), but that we couldn’t set a value of 20px from right and 20px from the bottom, for example.

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Say Hello to the New Background Position

To solve this issue, CSS3 provided us with the option to determine a reference point for our positioning, and by doing so, determine our 0,0 point.

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How does It work?

Instead of writing only 2 values (horizontal and vertical point from left top), CSS3 now allows us to write the starting point of the horizontal and vertical positions, along with their offsets, for example: right 10px bottom 20px (4 values altogether).

Let’s create an example:

First create an empty DIV with some styles:


<div class="box">


border:solid 3px #333;

Now we’ll add a background-image with a fixed size, while using the background-size property.

background:url(images/image.jpg) no-repeat;
background-size:150px 150px;

And finally, we’ll add the New Background Position value.

First we set the horizontal starting point, for example: “right”. Then we can set the distance we want from that position, for example 20px.
Second, we set the vertical starting point, for example: “bottom” and the distance we want from that position, for example 40px.

CSS new background-position

.box{ background-position :right 20px bottom 40px;}

This is what we will get:

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Live Example

Yay! we did it.

You can also make a box with multiple background images, with every image positioned in another corner, as in this example.


  • Works in all new browsers!
  • IE — works from IE9 and above.

See support on CSS background-position edge offsets at caniuse

That’s all,

I am Elad Shechter, Web Developer specializing in CSS & HTML design and architecture, working at

More CSS post I wroted:
Say Hello to Background-Origin and Background-Clip!
CSS Position Sticky — How It Really Works!
CSS Architecture for Multiple Websites With SASS
Responsive Design Best Practices for Big Projects
Becoming a CSS Grid Ninja!

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