The background-origin CSS property determines the background positioning area, that is the position of the origin of an image specified using the background-image CSS property.

Note that background-origin is ignored when background-attachment is fixed.

If the value of this property is not set in a background shorthand property that is applied to the element after the background-origin CSS property, the value of this property is then reset to its initial value by the shorthand property.

Initial valuepadding-box
Applies toall elements. It also applies to ::first-letter and ::first-line.
Computed valueas specified
Canonical orderthe unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar


background-origin: border-box;
background-origin: padding-box;
background-origin: content-box;

background-origin: inherit;


The background extends to the outside edge of the border (but underneath the border in z-ordering).
No background is drawn below the border (background extends to the outside edge of the padding).
The background is painted within (clipped to) the content box.

Formal syntax


<box> = border-box | padding-box | content-box


 .example {
   border: 10px double;
   padding: 10px;
   background: url('image.jpg');
   background-position: center left;
   /* The background will be inside the padding */ 
   background-origin: content-box;
div {
  background-image: url('logo.jpg'), url('mainback.png');
  background-position: top right, 0px 0px;
  background-origin: content-box, padding-box;


Specification Status Comment
CSS Backgrounds and Borders Module Level 3
The definition of 'background-origin' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 1.0 [3] 4.0 (2.0) [1] 9.0 [2] 10.5 3.0 (522) [3]
content-box 1.0 [3] 4.0 (2.0) [1] 9.0 [2] Not supported 3.0 (522) [3]
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? ? ? ? ?
content-box ? ? ? ? ?

[1] Gecko supported, from version 1.1 to version 1.9.2, which corresponds to Firefox 1.0 to 3.6 included, a different, and prefixed, syntax: -moz-background-origin: padding | border.

[2] Internet Explorer up to version 7 behaves as if there was a background-origin: border-box; Internet Explorer 8 behaves as if it were background-origin: padding-box; which is the regular default value.

[3] Webkit also supports the prefixed version of this proprietary, and in that case, in addition to the current keywords, the alternative synonyms: padding, border, and content.