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Is there a way to use SVG as content in a pseudo element :before or :after


Question

I want to place some SVG images before some selected elements. I am using jQuery but that is irrelevant.

I would like to have the :before element to be as:

#mydiv:before {
  content: '<svg.. code here</svg>';
  display: block;
  width: 22px;
  height: 10px;
  margin: 10px 5px 0 10px;
}

If I do it as shown above, it just display the string. I checked the specs and there seems to be some restrictions on what content can be. Is there a work around to this restriction? Only the content css is relevant to my question.

2020/06/27
1
255
6/27/2020 1:32:05 PM

Accepted Answer

Yes you can! Just tested this and it works great, this is awesome! It still doesn't work with html, but it does with svg.

In my index.html I have:

<div id="test" style="content: url(test.svg); width: 200px; height: 200px;"></div>

And my test.svg looks like this:

<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg">
   <circle cx="100" cy="50" r="40" stroke="black" stroke-width="2" fill="red"/>
   <polyline points="20,20 40,25 60,40 80,120 120,140 200,180" style="fill:none;stroke:black;stroke-width:3"/>
</svg> 
2019/02/18
264
2/18/2019 10:53:00 AM


#mydiv:before {
    content: url("data:image/svg+xml; utf8, <svg.. code here</svg>");
    display:block;
    width:22px;
    height:10px;
    margin:10px 5px 0 10px;
}

make sure your svg doesn't contain double quotes, and uriencode any # symbols.

2015/03/26

Making use of CSS sprites and data uri gives extra interesting benefits like fast loading and less requests AND we get IE8 support by using image/base64:

Codepen sample using SVG

HTML

<div class="div1"></div>
<div class="div2"></div>

CSS

.div1:after, .div2:after {
  content: '';
  display: block;
  height: 80px;
  width: 80px;
  background-image: url(data:image/svg+xml,%3Csvg%20xmlns%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.w3.org%2F2000%2Fsvg%22%20version%3D%221.1%22%20height%3D%2280%22%20width%3D%22160%22%3E%0D%0A%20%20%3Ccircle%20cx%3D%2240%22%20cy%3D%2240%22%20r%3D%2238%22%20stroke%3D%22black%22%20stroke-width%3D%221%22%20fill%3D%22red%22%20%2F%3E%0D%0A%20%20%3Ccircle%20cx%3D%22120%22%20cy%3D%2240%22%20r%3D%2238%22%20stroke%3D%22black%22%20stroke-width%3D%221%22%20fill%3D%22blue%22%20%2F%3E%0D%0A%3C%2Fsvg%3E);
}
.div2:after {
  background-position: -80px 0;
}

For IE8, change to this:

  background-image: url(data:image/png;base64,data......);
2014/11/23

<div class="author_">Lord Byron</div>

.author_ {  font-family: 'Playfair Display', serif; font-size: 1.25em; font-weight: 700;letter-spacing: 0.25em; font-style: italic;
  position:relative;
  margin-top: -0.5em;
  color: black;
  z-index:1;
  overflow:hidden;
  text-align:center;
 
}


.author_:after{
   left:20px;
  margin:0 -100% 0 0;
  display: inline-block;
  height: 10px;
  content: url(data:image/svg+xml,%0A%3Csvg%20xmlns%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.w3.org%2F2000%2Fsvg%22%20width%3D%22120px%22%20height%3D%2220px%22%20viewBox%3D%220%200%201200%20200%22%20xmlns%3Axlink%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.w3.org%2F1999%2Fxlink%22%3E%0A%20%20%3Cpath%20stroke%3D%22black%22%20stroke-width%3D%223%22%20fill%3D%22none%22%20d%3D%22M1145%2085c17%2C7%208%2C24%20-4%2C29%20-12%2C4%20-40%2C6%20-48%2C-8%20-9%2C-15%209%2C-34%2026%2C-42%2017%2C-7%2045%2C-6%2062%2C2%2017%2C9%2019%2C18%2020%2C27%201%2C9%200%2C29%20-27%2C52%20-28%2C23%20-52%2C34%20-102%2C33%20-49%2C0%20-130%2C-31%20-185%2C-50%20-56%2C-18%20-74%2C-21%20-96%2C-23%20-22%2C-2%20-29%2C-2%20-56%2C7%20-27%2C8%20-44%2C17%20-44%2C17%20-13%2C5%20-15%2C7%20-40%2C16%20-25%2C9%20-69%2C14%20-120%2C11%20-51%2C-3%20-126%2C-23%20-181%2C-32%20-54%2C-9%20-105%2C-20%20-148%2C-23%20-42%2C-3%20-71%2C1%20-104%2C5%20-34%2C5%20-65%2C15%20-98%2C22%22%2F%3E%0A%3C%2Fsvg%3E%0A);
}
.author_:before {
  right:20px;
  margin:0 0 0 -100%;
  display: inline-block;
  height: 10px;
  content: url(data:image/svg+xml,%0A%3Csvg%20xmlns%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.w3.org%2F2000%2Fsvg%22%20width%3D%22120px%22%20height%3D%2220px%22%20viewBox%3D%220%200%201200%20130%22%20xmlns%3Axlink%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.w3.org%2F1999%2Fxlink%22%3E%0A%20%20%3Cpath%20stroke%3D%22black%22%20stroke-width%3D%223%22%20fill%3D%22none%22%20d%3D%22M55%2068c-17%2C6%20-8%2C23%204%2C28%2012%2C5%2040%2C7%2048%2C-8%209%2C-15%20-9%2C-34%20-26%2C-41%20-17%2C-8%20-45%2C-7%20-62%2C2%20-18%2C8%20-19%2C18%20-20%2C27%20-1%2C9%200%2C29%2027%2C52%2028%2C23%2052%2C33%20102%2C33%2049%2C-1%20130%2C-31%20185%2C-50%2056%2C-19%2074%2C-21%2096%2C-23%2022%2C-2%2029%2C-2%2056%2C6%2027%2C8%2043%2C17%2043%2C17%2014%2C6%2016%2C7%2041%2C16%2025%2C9%2069%2C15%20120%2C11%2051%2C-3%20126%2C-22%20181%2C-32%2054%2C-9%20105%2C-20%20148%2C-23%2042%2C-3%2071%2C1%20104%2C6%2034%2C4%2065%2C14%2098%2C22%22%2F%3E%0A%3C%2Fsvg%3E%0A);
}
 <div class="author_">Lord Byron</div>

Convenient tool for SVG encoding url-encoder

2020/06/05

To extend further this topic. In case you want to add Font Awesome 5 icons you need to add some extra CSS.

Icons by default have classes svg-inline--fa and fa-w-*.

There are also modifier classes like fa-lg, fa-rotate-* and other. You need to check svg-with-js.css file and find proper CSS for that.

You need to add your own color to css icon otherwise it will be black by default, for example fill='%23f00' where %23 is encoded #.

h1::before{

  /* svg-inline--fa */
  display:inline-block;
  font-size:inherit;
  height:1em;
  overflow:visible;
  vertical-align:-.125em;
  
  /* fa-w-14 */
  width:.875em;
  
  /* Icon */
  content:url("data:image/svg+xml,%3Csvg xmlns='http://www.w3.org/2000/svg' viewBox='0 0 448 512'%3E%3Cpath fill='%23f00' d='M400 256H152V152.9c0-39.6 31.7-72.5 71.3-72.9 40-.4 72.7 32.1 72.7 72v16c0 13.3 10.7 24 24 24h32c13.3 0 24-10.7 24-24v-16C376 68 307.5-.3 223.5 0 139.5.3 72 69.5 72 153.5V256H48c-26.5 0-48 21.5-48 48v160c0 26.5 21.5 48 48 48h352c26.5 0 48-21.5 48-48V304c0-26.5-21.5-48-48-48zM264 408c0 22.1-17.9 40-40 40s-40-17.9-40-40v-48c0-22.1 17.9-40 40-40s40 17.9 40 40v48z'%3E%3C/path%3E%3C/svg%3E");
  
  /* Margin */
  margin-right:.75rem;
}
<h1>Lorem Ipsum</h1>

2020/05/26

Be careful all of the other answers have some problem in IE.

Lets have this situation - button with prepended icon. All browsers handles this correctly, but IE takes the width of the element and scales the before content to fit it. JSFiddle

#mydiv1 { width: 200px; height: 30px; background: green; }
#mydiv1:before {
    content: url("data:url or /standard/url.svg");
}

Solution is to set size to before element and leave it where it is:

#mydiv2 { width: 200px; height: 30px; background: green; }
#mydiv2:before {
    content: url("data:url or /standard/url.svg");
    display: inline-block;
    width: 16px; //only one size is alright, IE scales uniformly to fit it
}

The background-image + background-size solutions works as well, but is little unhandy, since you have to specify the same sizes twice.

The result in IE11:

IE rendering

2015/04/18