CSS Overflow

CSS overflow is a property that dictates how content behaves when it exceeds the boundaries of its containing element. It provides a crucial mechanism for managing content overflow and preserving visual integrity within your web pages.

  • When content within an element (text, images, etc.) surpasses its specified width or height, overflow occurs.
  • The overflow property specifies how the browser should handle this situation.
  • visible (default): Content overflows the element’s boundaries, potentially covering other elements or extending beyond the viewport.
  • hidden: Content is clipped, hiding any overflow.
  • scroll: Overflowing content is hidden, but scrollbars are added to allow users to view it.
  • auto: Scrollbars appear only when content overflows, providing a flexible solution.
  • overflow-x and overflow-y: Target overflow for horizontal or vertical directions independently.
  • text-overflow: Controls text overflow specifically, often used with ellipsis (…) to indicate truncation.
  • white-space: Interacts with overflow, especially for nowrap text handling.



div {
  width: 200px;
  height: 100px;
  overflow: hidden; /* Hide any content that exceeds dimensions */

img {
  max-width: 50%;
  overflow: auto; /* Show scrollbars if image is too large */

Best Practices:

  • Use overflow: hidden for elements with fixed dimensions and predictable content.
  • Employ overflow: scroll for scrollable content areas like text boxes or image galleries.
  • Consider overflow: auto for flexible content display and user-friendly scrolling.
  • Use text-overflow for graceful text truncation with ellipsis.


  • Accessibility: Ensure users can access all content, even when overflow is hidden. Provide alternative ways to view or navigate if necessary.
  • Design Considerations: Overflow can impact visual aesthetics and layout. Choose appropriate values that align with your design goals.

Mastering CSS overflow empowers you to create polished and user-friendly layouts, preventing unwanted content overlap and providing intuitive scrolling mechanisms when needed. Experiment with different values and techniques to achieve the desired visual effects and maintain content accessibility across your web pages.