Fast abstract ↬

The brand new CSS accent-color property makes it fast and straightforward to roll out our model colours to sure type inputs by leveraging consumer agent kinds. On this article we’ll check out what it does and the best way to use it alongside color-scheme for easy, accessible checkboxes and radio buttons — and picture how we’d use it sooner or later.

I don’t find out about you, however I like it when new CSS properties arrive that make our each 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 following.

Multi-colored checkboxes on a dark background

Checkboxes with accent-color. (Massive preview)

Styling Kind Inputs

Let’s take checkboxes. In each browser, these are styled in a different way by the consumer agent stylesheet (liable for the browser’s default kinds).

Screenshots of default checkboxes in Chrome and Safari. The Safari ones are smaller and lighter in color.

Default checkbox kinds in Chrome (high) and Safari (backside). (Massive preview)

Traditionally there hasn’t been any actual solution 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.)

See the Pen [Old skool custom checkbox styling](https://codepen.io/smashingmag/pen/QWgrrKp) by Michelle Barker.

See the Pen Old school customized checkbox styling by Michelle Barker.

That is truly much less verbose than previous options. ModernCSS has an in depth tutorial on the best way to implement customized checkboxes and radio buttons utilizing this system.

This method works cross-browser, and can nonetheless be obligatory if checkboxes have to be absolutely customized (with animations, and so forth). However in lots of instances we don’t want any fancy styling — we merely want to have the ability to apply a model colour and transfer on. Wouldn’t or not it’s nice to do away with all that clunky CSS? Enter accent-color!

Easy Use

For the best use case, we will set the accent-color property on the :root ingredient and have it apply in all places on our webpage:

:root {
  accent-color: rgba(250, 15, 117);
}

This is applicable the chosen colour to (on the time of writing) checkboxes, radio buttons, vary and progress parts.

Form with checkboxes, radio buttons, progress bar and range input, with lime accent color applied.

(Massive preview)

Accessibility

A fairly cool function is that the browser will robotically decide the perfect colour for the checkmark to make sure ample colour distinction, utilizing its personal inner algorithms. Which means no further 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. In case you view this in Chrome, you must see that the checkmark of the one on the left is white, whereas the one on the precise is black. Browsers use completely different algorithms for this, so it’s possible you’ll expertise completely different leads to Chrome versus Firefox.

See the Pen [accent-color – showing two different colours](https://codepen.io/smashingmag/pen/jOwxxVm) by Michelle Barker.

See the Pen accent-color – exhibiting two completely different colors by Michelle Barker.
Extra after soar! Proceed studying beneath ↓

Customized Properties

If we wish to apply the identical colour to different UI parts, we might use a customized property. We will set our colour as a customized property on the foundation ingredient, then apply it to (for instance) headings, or different type parts:

:root {
  --brand: rgba(250, 15, 117);
  accent-color: var(--brand);
}

See the Pen [accent-color with custom property](https://codepen.io/smashingmag/pen/YzQLLpm) by Michelle Barker.

See the Pen accent-color with customized property by Michelle Barker.

We will even create some enjoyable results. Within the following demo, we’re assigning every checkbox group a customized property that corresponds to the ingredient’s index (--i) utilizing the model attribute within the HTML. Then we’re utilizing it in our CSS to calculate the hue worth in an HSL colour perform to find out the accent colour. Rainbow checkboxes!

See the Pen [accent-color w/custom properties](https://codepen.io/smashingmag/pen/yLXjjgP) by Michelle Barker.

See the Pen accent-color w/customized properties by Michelle Barker.

Different Kind Components

Sadly accent-color isn’t utilized to different parts that we’d anticipate, like choose dropdowns. We would wish to apply our chosen colour to already-styleable type parts, like buttons and textual content inputs too. The customized property is available in helpful right here, as we will apply it to the border of our textual content inputs, and the background of buttons, for instance:

See the Pen [accent-color with custom property](https://codepen.io/smashingmag/pen/VwWxxPJ) by Michelle Barker.

See the Pen accent-color with customized property by Michelle Barker.

The Net.dev documentation on accent-color contains this useful snippet by Adam Argyle for styling different parts not unique to kinds, together with checklist markers, textual content choice highlights and the main target ring:

html { 
  --brand: hotpink;
  scrollbar-color: hotpink Canvas;
}

:root { accent-color: var(--brand); }
:focus-visible { outline-color: var(--brand); }
::choice { background-color: var(--brand); }
::marker { colour: var(--brand); }

:is(
  ::-webkit-calendar-picker-indicator,
  ::-webkit-clear-button,
  ::-webkit-inner-spin-button, 
  ::-webkit-outer-spin-button
) {
  colour: var(--brand);
}

Shade Schemes

To tailor our type parts additional, the color-scheme property can help us with styling them in line with the consumer’s desire for gentle or darkish mode. In the intervening time, we will present darkish mode kinds in line with the consumer’s system preferences with the prefers-color-scheme media question:

/* 
    If the consumer's desire is about to 'darkish', this renders white textual content on a black background
*/
@media (prefers-color-scheme: darkish) {
  physique {
    background-color: #000000;
    colour: #ffffff;
  }
}

If we go away it at that, our checkboxes will nonetheless have a light-weight background of their unchecked state.

Checkboxes on a dark background

Regardless of the sunshine background of the web page, the checkboxes have a light-weight background by default. (Massive preview)

We will use color-scheme to make sure that our checkboxes tackle a light-weight 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: gentle darkish;
}

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

<meta title="color-scheme" content material="gentle darkish">

That is truly preferable, as it is going to be learn by the browser instantly earlier than the CSS file is parsed and executed — due to this fact might assist us keep away from a flash of unstyled content material (FOUC).

In our rainbow checkbox demo, you may discover that the browser additionally adjusts the colour of a few of the checkmarks after we swap the colour scheme, whereas nonetheless sustaining ample distinction. Fairly cool!

color-scheme impacts the consumer agent kinds. If we use it with out offering different background colour or textual content colour kinds for the web page, the default colours of the web page will probably be inverted if the consumer selects a darkish colour scheme — so the default background colour will probably be black, and the textual content colour will probably be white. In observe, it’s fairly possible 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 colour solely when a darkish scheme is most well-liked.

See the Pen [accent-color with color-scheme](https://codepen.io/smashingmag/pen/NWgMMpd) by Michelle Barker.

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

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

.dark-form {
  color-scheme: darkish;
}

See the Pen [accent-color – showing two different colours](https://codepen.io/smashingmag/pen/JjJvvWw) by Michelle Barker.

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

Limitations

As talked about, there are a number of parts that aren’t at the moment affected by accent-color, for which this performance could 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 — except for utilizing color-scheme, which has some impact on the checkbox border, however doesn’t enable for full customization. It might be nice to have the ability to model the border colour 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 colour could be preferable.

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

Options

Another solution to model a checkbox or radio button is to cover default styling with -webkit-appearance: none and change it with a background picture. (See this demo.) Fashionable browsers assist this beautiful properly, nevertheless it has its limitations when in comparison with the primary technique of utilizing a pseudo-element (described initially of this text), as we will’t straight manipulate the background picture with CSS (e.g. altering its colour 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 move in customized properties to govern a background picture. Take a look at this pretty demo (and accompanying worklet) by Matteo. Help is at the moment restricted to Chromium browsers.

Accessibility

We should always take care to supply 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 Help

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

Conclusion

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

Additional Studying

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

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