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Discussion on: Is there a way to exclude elements with a particular default styling from a CSS selector?

baenencalin profile image
Calin Baenen Author

What I meant by "hidden by default" is things like <script>, <link>, etc...
And just so I
1) don't have to manually write all that out.
AND (especially) 2) so I don't have to update my CSS, if new or existing elements are updated to be hidden by default.

aleksandrhovhannisyan profile image
Aleksandr Hovhannisyan

Interesting... Your question made me learn something new today!

I'd never thought about styling script, link, and other "hidden" tags. That thought just never occurred to me as something you can do. But apparently it can be done. Stick this on any script tag in your body, for example:

    display: block;
    position: fixed;
    left: 0;
    right: 0;
    top: 0;
    bottom: 0;
    background: red;
    z-index: 2000000;
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But I understand that you want the opposite: to prevent styles from getting applied to these elements. You don't actually have to worry about this, though, because these tags get display: none set by default, so they don't show up at all. You can verify this by inspecting any "hidden" element in your browser's dev tools:

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baenencalin profile image
Calin Baenen Author

I KNOW they have it by default, but I'm using body *, but I want to negate this styling from the specific elements that begin with (or (only) POSSIBLY have) styling none, so that I don't have to specify all of the ones that are hidden, or update my CSS in the future (if more default-hidden elements are put into HTML).

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aileenr profile image
Aileen Rae • Edited

I have also never thought about applying styling to tags like script. Is the problem you are having that styles are being applied to <script> elements in the body of your page?

It's a strange problem you've run into. It's because body * is a very generous selector. Too generous for changing the display property. As you've highlighted, this makes script elements visible. As a best practice you'll want to be more specific with what elements you apply style rules to.

An alternative here would be to create an extra "container" element for all your visible elements. For example:

  <div class="container">
    <!-- all your "visible" elements here -->
  <script>/* Script tags and any other "hidden" elements outside the container */</script>
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Then you can be more specific with your style rules, without affecting the script elements:

body .container *{
  display: inline-block;
  /* your other style rules */
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link elements are more commonly placed in the <head> of a web document, so you shouldn't need to worry about styles being applied to them if you move them to the <head>.

I hope that helps solve your problem. But if you do want to exclude elements like link and script, you should be able to do so with:

body *:not(script),
body *:not(link) {
  display: inline-block;
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