Simplifying Type Kinds With `accent-color`

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I don’t learn about you, however I like it when new CSS properties arrive that make our day by day lives as builders less complicated and allow us to take away an entire lot of redundant code. aspect-ratio is one such property (lately eliminating the necessity for the padding hack). accent-color simply could be the subsequent.

Styling Type Inputs

Let’s take checkboxes. In each browser, these are styled otherwise by the consumer agent stylesheet (chargeable for the browser’s default kinds).

Traditionally there hasn’t been any actual approach to model these inputs. As an alternative, many net builders resort to a well known hack, which entails visually (however accessibly) hiding the enter itself, then styling a pseudo-element on the label. (All this is applicable to radio buttons too.)


A reasonably cool function is that the browser will mechanically decide the very best shade for the checkmark to make sure adequate shade distinction, utilizing its personal inside algorithms. Which means no additional code styling is required to make sure our checkboxes are as accessible as they are often.

Within the following demo, we’re making use of two completely different accent colours. For those who view this in Chrome, it’s best to see that the checkmark of the one on the left is white, whereas the one on the proper is black. Browsers use completely different algorithms for this, so you might expertise completely different leads to Chrome versus Firefox.

We will use color-scheme to make sure that our checkboxes tackle a lightweight or darkish model in line with desire. Setting it on the foundation ingredient in our CSS ensures that it applies to the entire web page:

:root {
color-scheme: mild darkish;

This expresses the colour schemes so as of desire. Alternatively we might implement it utilizing a meta tag in our HTML:

<meta identify=”color-scheme” content material=”mild darkish”>

That is really preferable, as it will likely be learn by the browser instantly earlier than the CSS file is parsed and executed — subsequently might assist us keep away from a flash of unstyled content material (FOUC).

In our rainbow checkbox demo, you would possibly discover that the browser additionally adjusts the colour of a number of the checkmarks after we change the colour scheme, whereas nonetheless sustaining adequate distinction. Fairly cool!

color-scheme impacts the consumer agent kinds. If we use it with out offering different background shade or textual content shade kinds for the web page, the default colours of the web page can be inverted if the consumer selects a darkish shade scheme — so the default background shade can be black, and the textual content shade can be white. In observe, it’s fairly doubtless we’ll wish to override these with CSS. We will use color-scheme alongside the prefers-color-scheme media question. On this demo, I’m utilizing prefers-color-scheme to set the textual content shade solely when a darkish scheme is most popular.

See the Pen accent-color with color-scheme by Michelle Barker.

color-scheme will also be set on particular person components, which is beneficial if there are some areas in our design that we wish to retain a specified shade scheme, no matter whether or not mild or darkish mode is toggled. On this demo, we’ve got a type with a darkish background even when the general shade scheme is mild. We will specify a darkish shade scheme, to make sure our checkboxes are styled with a darkish shade always:

.dark-form {
color-scheme: darkish;

See the Pen accent-color – exhibiting two completely different colors by Michelle Barker.


As talked about, there are a number of components that aren’t at the moment affected by accent-color, for which this performance can be helpful. One other consideration is that we’re at the moment restricted to solely styling the checked state of the checkbox or radio button — apart from utilizing color-scheme, which has some impact on the checkbox border, however doesn’t enable for full customization. It will be nice to have the ability to model the border shade and thickness for the enter in its unchecked state or implement much more customized styling, comparable to altering the general form, however we’re not fairly there but. On the very least, permitting the checkbox border to inherit the physique textual content shade can be preferable.

It will even be helpful to have the ability to prolong the usage of accent-color to different components past kinds, comparable to video controls. At present for a developer to create customized controls entails a big quantity of labor with a view to re-create the accessibility of native ones. This wonderful article by Stephanie Stimac particulars the work being finished by Open UI to standardize UI components with a view to make it simpler for builders to model them.

Alternate options

Another approach to model a checkbox or radio button is to cover default styling with -webkit-appearance: none and exchange it with a background picture. (See this demo.) Trendy browsers help this gorgeous properly, nevertheless it has its limitations when in comparison with the primary technique of utilizing a pseudo-element (described firstly of this text), as we will’t straight manipulate the background picture with CSS (e.g. altering its shade or opacity), or transition the picture.

The CSS Paint API — a part of the Houdini set of CSS APIs — opens up extra choices for personalization, permitting us to cross in customized properties to govern a background picture. Try this beautiful demo (and accompanying worklet) by Matteo. Assist is at the moment restricted to Chromium browsers.


We should always take care to offer accessible focus kinds when utilizing hiding the default look of type controls. A bonus of accent-color is that it doesn’t conceal the browser defaults, preserving accessibility.

Browser Assist

accent-color is at the moment supported within the newest variations of Chrome and Edge. It may be enabled in Firefox with the format.css.accent-color.enabled flag, and is because of be supported within the subsequent launch. Sadly, there is no such thing as a Safari help at current. That’s to not say you can’t begin utilizing it straight away — browsers that don’t help accent-color will merely get the browser defaults, so it really works nice as progressive enhancement.


We’ve largely talked about checkboxes and radio buttons right here, as they’re among the many commonest type components requiring customization. However accent-color has the potential to offer fast and straightforward styling for a lot of of our type components, particularly the place intensive customization isn’t wanted, in addition to permitting the browser to select the very best choices for accessibility.

Additional Studying

Some assets on accent-color, color-scheme, and styling type inputs:

MDN documentation
CSS Tips information to accent-color CSS accent-color Improved darkish mode with color-scheme
Trendy CSS: Customized CSS Kinds for Type Inputs and Textual content Areas
Trendy CSS: Pure CSS Customized Styled Radio Buttons

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