Is it possible to use an inline SVG definition in CSS?

I mean something like:

.my-class {
  background-image: <svg>...</svg>;

Solution 1

Yes, it is possible. Try this:

body { background-image: 
        url("data:image/svg+xml;utf8,<svg xmlns='' width='10' height='10'><linearGradient id='gradient'><stop offset='10%' stop-color='%23F00'/><stop offset='90%' stop-color='%23fcc'/> </linearGradient><rect fill='url(%23gradient)' x='0' y='0' width='100%' height='100%'/></svg>");

(Note that the SVG content needs to be url-escaped for this to work, e.g. # gets replaced with %23.)

This works in IE 9 (which supports SVG). Data-URLs work in older versions of IE too (with limitations), but they dont natively support SVG.

Solution 2

A little late, but if any of you have been going crazy trying to use inline SVG as a background, the escaping suggestions above do not quite work. For one, it does not work in IE, and depending on the content of your SVG the technique will cause trouble in other browsers, like FF.

If you base64 encode the svg (not the entire url, just the svg tag and its contents! ) it works in all browsers. Here is the same jsfiddle example in base64:

The CSS now looks like this:

body { background-image: 

Remember to remove any URL escaping before converting to base64. In other words, the above example showed color='#fcc' converted to color='%23fcc', you should go back to #.

The reason why base64 works better is that it eliminates all the issues with single and double quotes and url escaping

If you are using JS, you can use window.btoa() to produce your base64 svg; and if it doesn't work (it might complain about invalid characters in the string), you can simply use

Example to set a div background:

var mySVG = "<svg xmlns='' width='10' height='10'><linearGradient id='gradient'><stop offset='10%' stop-color='#F00'/><stop offset='90%' stop-color='#fcc'/> </linearGradient><rect fill='url(#gradient)' x='0' y='0' width='100%' height='100%'/></svg>";
var mySVG64 = window.btoa(mySVG);
document.getElementById('myDiv').style.backgroundImage = "url('data:image/svg+xml;base64," + mySVG64 + "')";
html, body, #myDiv {
  width: 100%;
  height: 100%;
  margin: 0;
<div id="myDiv"></div>

With JS you can generate SVGs on the fly, even changing its parameters.

One of the better articles on using SVG is here :

Hope this helps


Solution 3

For people who are still struggling, I managed to get this working on all modern browsers IE11 and up.

base64 was no option for me because I wanted to use SASS to generate SVG icons based on any given color. For example: @include svg_icon(heart, #FF0000); This way I can create a certain icon in any color, and only have to embed the SVG shape once in the CSS. (with base64 you'd have to embed the SVG in every single color you want to use)

There are three things you need be aware of:

  1. URL ENCODE YOUR SVG As others have suggested, you need to URL encode your entire SVG string for it to work in IE11. In my case, I left out the color values in fields such as fill="#00FF00" and stroke="#FF0000" and replaced them with a SASS variable fill="#{$color-rgb}" so these can be replaced with the color I want. You can use any online converter to URL encode the rest of the string. You'll end up with an SVG string like this:{$color-rgb}%27%2F%3E%3C%2Fsvg%3E

  1. OMIT THE UTF8 CHARSET IN THE DATA URL When creating your data URL, you need to leave out the charset for it to work in IE11.

    NOT background-image: url( data:image/svg+xml;utf-8,%3Csvg%2....)
    BUT background-image: url( data:image/svg+xml,%3Csvg%2....)

  1. USE RGB() INSTEAD OF HEX colors Firefox does not like # in the SVG code. So you need to replace your color hex values with RGB ones.

    NOT fill="#FF0000"
    BUT fill="rgb(255,0,0)"

In my case I use SASS to convert a given hex to a valid rgb value. As pointed out in the comments, it's best to URL encode your RGB string as well (so comma becomes %2C)

@mixin svg_icon($id, $color) {
   $color-rgb: "rgb(" + red($color) + "%2C" + green($color) + "%2C" + blue($color) + ")";
   @if $id == heart {
      background-image: url('data:image/svg+xml,{$color-rgb}%27%2F%3E%3C%2Fsvg%3E');

I realize this might not be the best solution for very complex SVG's (inline SVG never is in that case), but for flat icons with only a couple of colors this really works great.

I was able to leave out an entire sprite bitmap and replace it with inline SVG in my CSS, which turned out to only be around 25kb after compression. So it's a great way to limit the amount of requests your site has to do, without bloating your CSS file.

Solution 4

My solution was You just simply insert your svg and getting back background-image code

Solution 5

On Mac/Linux, you can easily convert a SVG file to a base64 encoded value for CSS background attribute with this simple bash command:

echo "background: transparent url('data:image/svg+xml;base64,"$(openssl base64 < path/to/file.svg)"') no-repeat center center;"

Tested on Mac OS X. This way you also avoid the URL escaping mess.

Remember that base64 encoding an SVG file increase its size, see blog post.

Solution 6

I've forked a CodePen demo that had the same problem with embedding inline SVG into CSS. A solution that works with SCSS is to build a simple url-encoding function.

A string replacement function can be created from the built-in str-slice, str-index functions (see css-tricks, thanks to Hugo Giraudel).

Then, just replace %,<,>,",', with the %xxcodes:

@function svg-inline($string){
  $result: str-replace($string, "<svg", "<svg xmlns=''");
  $result: str-replace($result, '%', '%25');
  $result: str-replace($result, '"', '%22');
  $result: str-replace($result, "'", '%27');
  $result: str-replace($result, ' ', '%20');
  $result: str-replace($result, '<', '%3C');
  $result: str-replace($result, '>', '%3E');
  @return "data:image/svg+xml;utf8," + $result;

$mySVG: svg-inline("<svg>...</svg>");

html {
  height: 100vh;
  background: url($mySVG) 50% no-repeat;

There is also a image-inline helper function available in Compass, but since it is not supported in CodePen, this solution might probably be useful.

Demo on CodePen:

Solution 7

I found one solution for SVG. But it is work only for Webkit, I just want share my workaround with you. In my example is shown how to use SVG element from DOM as background through a filter (background-image: url('#glyph') is not working).

Features needed for this SVG icon render:

  1. Applying SVG filter effects to HTML elements using CSS (IE and Edge not supports)
  2. feImage fragment load supporting (firefox not supports)

.test {
  /*  background-image: url('#glyph');
    background-size:100% 100%;*/
    filter: url(#image); 
.test:before {
.test2:before {
   filter: url(#image); 
<svg style="height:0;width:0;" version="1.1" viewbox="0 0 100 100"
     <g id="glyph">
          <path id="heart" d="M100 34.976c0 8.434-3.635 16.019-9.423 21.274h0.048l-31.25 31.25c-3.125 3.125-6.25 6.25-9.375 6.25s-6.25-3.125-9.375-6.25l-31.202-31.25c-5.788-5.255-9.423-12.84-9.423-21.274 0-15.865 12.861-28.726 28.726-28.726 8.434 0 16.019 3.635 21.274 9.423 5.255-5.788 12.84-9.423 21.274-9.423 15.865 0 28.726 12.861 28.726 28.726z" fill="crimson"/>
    <svg id="resized-glyph"  x="0%" y="0%" width="24" height="24" viewBox="0 0 100 100" class="icon shape-codepen">
      <use xlink:href="#glyph"></use>
     <filter id="image">
       <feImage xlink:href="#resized-glyph" x="0%" y="0%" width="100%" height="100%" result="res"/>
       <feComposite operator="over" in="res" in2="SourceGraphic"/>
<div class="test">
<div class="test2">

One more solution, is use url encode

var container = document.querySelector(".container");
var svg = document.querySelector("svg");
var svgText = (new XMLSerializer()).serializeToString(svg); = `url(data:image/svg+xml;utf8,${encodeURIComponent(svgText)})`;
  background-position: center center;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-size: contain;
<svg  height="100" width="500" xmlns="">
    <ellipse cx="240" cy="50" rx="220" ry="30" style="fill:yellow" />
<div class="container"></div>

Solution 8

Inline SVG coming from 3rd party sources (like Google charts) may not contain XML namespace attribute (xmlns="") in SVG element (or maybe it's removed once SVG is rendered - neither browser inspector nor jQuery commands from browser console show the namespace in SVG element).

When you need to re-purpose these svg snippets for your other needs (background-image in CSS or img element in HTML) watch out for the missing namespace. Without the namespace browsers may refuse to display SVG (regardless of the encoding utf8 or base64).

Solution 9

If you're using postcss you can try the postcss-inline-svg plugin

.up {
    background: svg-load('img/arrow-up.svg', fill: #000, stroke: #fff);
.down {
    background: svg-load('img/arrow-down.svg', fill=#000, stroke=#fff);

Solution 10

Done programatically based on the approach taken by the already mentioned :

// Svg (string)

const hexagon = `
viewBox="0 0 100 20"
      <stop offset="0%" stop-color="#ff0000" />
      <stop offset="100%" stop-color="#ffff00" />
    points="0,10 5,0 95,0 100,10 95,20 5,20"

// svgToBackgroundImage

const symbols = /[%#()<>?[\\\]^`{|}]/g;

const newLine = /\r?\n/;

const notEmptyString = (str) => str.length;
const trim = (str) => str.trim();

const toOneLine = (str) =>
  str.split(newLine).filter(notEmptyString).map(trim).join(" ");

function addNameSpace(svgString) {
  if (svgString.indexOf(``) < 0) {
    svgString = svgString.replace(
      `<svg xmlns=""`

  return svgString;

function encodeSVG(svgString) {
  svgString = svgString.replace(/>\s{1,}</g, `><`);
  svgString = svgString.replace(/\s{2,}/g, ` `);

  // Using encodeURIComponent() as replacement function
  // allows to keep result code readable
  return svgString.replace(symbols, encodeURIComponent);

const svgToBackgroundImage = (svgString) =>

// DOM

const element = document.querySelector("#hexagon"); = svgToBackgroundImage(hexagon);
#hexagon {
  width: 100px;
  height: 20px;
<div id="hexagon"/>

Solution 11

You can also just do this:

<svg viewBox="0 0 32 32">
      <path d="M11.333 13.173c0-2.51 2.185-4.506 4.794-4.506 2.67 0 4.539 2.053 4.539 4.506 0 2.111-0.928 3.879-3.836 4.392v0.628c0 0.628-0.496 1.141-1.163 1.141s-1.163-0.513-1.163-1.141v-1.654c0-0.628 0.751-1.141 1.419-1.141 1.335 0 2.571-1.027 2.571-2.224 0-1.255-1.092-2.224-2.367-2.224-1.335 0-2.367 1.027-2.367 2.224 0 0.628-0.546 1.141-1.214 1.141s-1.214-0.513-1.214-1.141zM15.333 23.333c-0.347 0-0.679-0.143-0.936-0.404s-0.398-0.597-0.398-0.949 0.141-0.689 0.398-0.949c0.481-0.488 1.39-0.488 1.871 0 0.257 0.26 0.398 0.597 0.398 0.949s-0.141 0.689-0.398 0.949c-0.256 0.26-0.588 0.404-0.935 0.404zM16 26.951c-6.040 0-10.951-4.911-10.951-10.951s4.911-10.951 10.951-10.951c6.040 0 10.951 4.911 10.951 10.951s-4.911 10.951-10.951 10.951zM16 3.333c-6.984 0-12.667 5.683-12.667 12.667s5.683 12.667 12.667 12.667c6.984 0 12.667-5.683 12.667-12.667s-5.683-12.667-12.667-12.667z"></path>