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Cover image for CSS :not selector
Chris Bongers
Chris Bongers

Posted on • Originally published at

CSS :not selector

The CSS :not selector is really cool we can call this a negation pseudo-class selector.

A mouth-full, but was it does it styles elements that do NOT match certain criteria.

The cool part is that I can be used on many types of elements.

  • Classes (.nav__item)
  • ID's (#my-element)
  • Types (div, li, etc)
  • Pseudo-classes (:last-child)
  • Attributes ([type="radio"])

Note: It doesn't style pseudo-elements so ::before won't work nor can't it style itself (:not(:not(...))).

HTML Structure

For this demo we will make a simple list which we will style accordingly.

    <li class="new">Text rule 1</li>
    <li id="not_me">Text rule 2</li>
    <li>Text rule 3</li>
    <li>Text rule 4</li>
    <li>Text rule 5</li>
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CSS :not selector

So let's say we want to style anything but the last-child.

li:not(:last-child) {
  color: purple;
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This will result in the following:

CSS :not last-child

Or maybe you want to style everything but one ID

li:not(#not_me) {
  color: red;
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CSS :not id selector

The same applies for a class:

li:not(.new) {
    color: blue;
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CSS :not class

I hope this gives you a good overview of just how powerful the :not selector can be.
It might really save you having some weird css classes just to exclude one item from styling.

You can view this whole demo on the following Codepen.

Browser Support

The :not selector has really good browser support, just some issues on Android and Opera mini (where the later just doesn't support about anything).

CSS :not support

Thank you for reading, and let's connect!

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Top comments (5)

maulik profile image

Thank you Chris for writing this post. I didn't know about this.

dailydevtips1 profile image
Chris Bongers

Ah, nice! Learned another cool CSS selector.
Most of the time I find you can work around it, but there are definitely cases you might need it.

maulik profile image


rahxuls profile image
Rahul • Edited

i was literally writing a post on this topic

bawa_geek profile image
Lakh Bawa

great, thanks