Universal selectors

The CSS universal selector (*) matches elements of any type.

/* Selects all elements */
* {
  color: green;

The universal selector is a special type selector and can therefore be namespaced when using @namespace. This is useful when dealing with documents containing multiple namespaces such as HTML with inline SVG or MathML, or XML that mixes multiple vocabularies.

  • ns|* - matches all elements in namespace ns
  • *|* - matches all elements
  • |* - matches all elements without any declared namespace


* { style properties }

The asterisk is optional with simple selectors. For instance, *.warning and .warning are equivalent.



* [lang^="en"] {
  color: green;

*.warning {
  color: red;

*#maincontent {
  border: 1px solid blue;

.floating {
  float: left;

/* automatically clear the next sibling after a floating element */
.floating + * {
  clear: left;


<p class="warning">
  <span lang="en-us">A green span</span> in a red paragraph.
<p id="maincontent" lang="en-gb">
  <span class="warning">A red span</span> in a green paragraph.



In this example the selector will only match elements in the example namespace.

@namespace example url(http://www.example.com);
example|* {
  color: blue;


Selectors Level 4
# the-universal-selector

Browser compatibility

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See also