What I am looking for:

A way to style one HALF of a character. (In this case, half the letter being transparent)

What I have currently searched for and tried (With no luck):

  • Methods for styling half of a character/letter
  • Styling part of a character with CSS or JavaScript
  • Apply CSS to 50% of a character


Since many have asked why I would ever want to style half of a character, this is why. My city had recently spent $250,000 to define a new "brand" for itself. This logo is what they came up with. Many people have complained about the simplicity and lack of creativity and continue to do so. My goal was to come up with this website as a joke. Type in 'Halifax' and you will see what I mean.

javascript html css 
4 Answers
  • Pure CSS for a Single Character
  • JavaScript used for automation across text or multiple characters
  • Preserves Text Accessibility for screen readers for the blind or visually impaired

This works on any dynamic text, or a single character, and is all automated. All you need to do is add a class on the target text and the rest is taken care of.

Also, the accessibility of the original text is preserved for screen readers for the blind or visually impaired.

Explanation for a single character:

Pure CSS. All you need to do is to apply .halfStyle class to each element that contains the character you want to be half-styled.

For each span element containing the character, you can create a data attribute, for example here data-content="X", and on the pseudo element use content: attr(data-content); so the .halfStyle:before class will be dynamic and you won't need to hard code it for every instance.

Explanation for any text:

Simply add textToHalfStyle class to the element containing the text.



.halfStyle {
    font-size:80px; /* or any font size will work */
    color: black; /* or transparent, any color */
    white-space: pre; /* to preserve the spaces from collapsing */
.halfStyle:before {
    width: 50%;
    content: attr(data-content); /* dynamic content for the pseudo element */
    color: #f00;


<p>Single Characters:</p>
<span class="halfStyle" data-content="X">X</span>
<span class="halfStyle" data-content="Y">Y</span>
<span class="halfStyle" data-content="Z">Z</span>
<span class="halfStyle" data-content="A">A</span>


<span class="textToHalfStyle">Half-style, please.</span>

To make it automated, simply add textToHalfStyle class to the element containing the text.

jQuery for automated mode:

jQuery(function($) {
    var text, chars, $el, i, output;

    // Iterate over all class occurences
    $('.textToHalfStyle').each(function(idx, el) {
        $el = $(el);
        text = $el.text();
        chars = text.split('');

        // Set the screen-reader text
        $el.html('<span style="position: absolute !important;clip: rect(1px 1px 1px 1px);clip: rect(1px, 1px, 1px, 1px);">' + text + '</span>');

        // Reset output for appending
        output = '';

        // Iterate over all chars in the text
        for (i = 0; i < chars.length; i++) {
            // Create a styled element for each character and append to container
            output += '<span aria-hidden="true" class="halfStyle" data-content="' + chars[i] + '">' + chars[i] + '</span>';

        // Write to DOM only once


answered Jan 28

Closest I can get:

  $('span:nth-child(2)').css('text-indent', -$('span').width());
  font-family: arial;
  display: inline-block;
  overflow: hidden;
  color: red;
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js"></script>

answered Jan 28

Several notes:

The main reason I did this was to test myself and see if I was able to accomplish styling half of a character while actually providing a meaningful answer to the OP.

I am aware that this is not an ideal or the most scalable solution and the solutions proposed by the people here are far better for "real world" scenarios.

The CSS code I created is based on the first thoughts that came to my mind and my own personal approach to the problem.

My solution only works on symmetrical characters, like X, A, O, M. **It does not work on asymmetric characters like B, C, F, K or lower case letters.

** HOWEVER, this approach creates very interesting 'shapes' with asymmetric characters. Try changing the X to a K or to a lower case letter like an h or a p in the CSS :)


<span class="half-letter"></span>


.half-character { 
  display: inline-block;
  font: bold 350px/.8 Arial;
  position: relative;

  &:before, &:after {
    content: 'X'; //Change character here
    display: inline-block;
    width: 50%;
    overflow: hidden;
    color: #7db9e8;
  &:after {
    position: absolute;
    top: 0;
    left: 50%;
    color: #1e5799;
    transform: rotateY(-180deg);

answered Jan 28

One solution would be:


<span class="half" title="B">B</span>

(see that you have to set an attribute value)


.half {
    font-size: 90px;
    font-weight: bold;
    position: relative;
    color: blue;
    line-height: 1em;

.half:before {
    color: red;
    height: .5em;
    overflow: hidden;

The problem is that every browser calculates the .5em value differently

answered Jan 28

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