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CSS Pseudo Elements Hack for Internet Explorer 7

In the world of web development, Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) is often seen as the bane of a developer's existence. Its lack of support for mod...

In the world of web development, Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) is often seen as the bane of a developer's existence. Its lack of support for modern CSS features can make styling a website a nightmare. However, with a little creativity and some clever CSS hacks, we can make IE7 behave like a modern browser. In this article, we will explore one such hack – CSS pseudo-elements – and how they can be used to overcome IE7's limitations.

First, let's briefly go over what pseudo-elements are. Pseudo-elements are CSS selectors that allow us to style specific parts of an element, such as the first letter or first line of text. They are denoted by the double colon (::) notation and are used in conjunction with existing CSS selectors. Pseudo-elements are widely supported by modern browsers, but IE7 does not recognize them. This is where the hack comes in.

To make IE7 understand pseudo-elements, we will use the CSS property "content". This property is normally used with the ::before and ::after pseudo-elements to insert content before or after an element's content. However, in IE7, we can use it to insert content into a specific element and style it accordingly.

For example, let's say we have a heading element with the class "title". In modern browsers, we can use the ::before pseudo-element to insert a decorative line before the heading. The CSS code for this would look like this:

.title::before {

content: "";

border-top: 2px solid #000;


In IE7, this code would be ignored, and the decorative line would not appear. To make it work, we can use the following hack:

.title {

position: relative; /* this is important */


.title::before {

content: "";

border-top: 2px solid #000;

position: absolute;

top: -10px; /* adjust this value to position the line correctly */

left: 0;


By setting the position of the heading to relative and the pseudo-element to absolute, we can position the line before the heading. This is just one example of how we can use the "content" property to achieve the same effect as pseudo-elements in IE7.

Another useful hack for pseudo-elements in IE7 is to use them to create custom bullet points for lists. In modern browsers, we can use the ::before pseudo-element to insert a custom symbol, such as a checkmark or an arrow, before each list item. In IE7, we can use the following code to achieve the same result:

ul li {

list-style-type: none; /* this removes the default bullet point */


ul li::before {

content: "•"; /* this can be any symbol or text */

margin-right: 10px;


This hack not only makes IE7 display custom bullet points, but it also allows us to style them with CSS, such as changing the color or size.

One thing to keep in mind when using this hack is to make sure the "content" property is always empty in the original CSS code. Otherwise, IE7 will not display the content we want to insert.

In conclusion, CSS pseudo-elements can be a powerful tool for adding visual flair to a website. And with this hack, we can make them work in IE7, giving us more flexibility in our designs. However, it's important to note that this is just one of many hacks that can be used to make IE7 behave like a modern browser. It's always best to use these hacks sparingly and only when necessary, as they may not always work in all situations. With that said, happy coding and may your IE7 nightmares be a thing of the past!

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