CSS Writing Mode

CSS Writing Mode

Chris Bongers
·Jul 9, 2020·

2 min read

The other day I came across the CSS writing-mode property and must admit I've never used it, so I decided to see what we can do with it.

It's an awesome property that tells us how text should flow, horizontal, or vertical.

HTML Structure

We are testing the three values we can use and a default benchmark text:

<p>This text is your basic pharagraph and flows naturally</p>
<p class="vertical-rl">This text goes Vertical from Right to Left</p>
<p class="vertical-lr">This text goes Vertical from Left to Right</p>
<p class="horizontal-tb">This text goes Horizontal from Top to Bottom</p>

CSS Writing Mode

As mentioned, CSS writing-mode can be used to define how a text should flow.

It comes with three possible options:

  • vertical-rl: Goes Vertical from Right to Left
  • vertical-lr: Goes Vertical from Left to Right
  • horizontal-tb: Goes Horizontal from Top to Bottom (Default)

The horizontal is the default, and what the normal value is.

.vertical-rl {
  writing-mode: vertical-rl;
.vertical-lr {
  writing-mode: vertical-lr;
.horizontal-tb {
  writing-mode: horizontal-tb;

This results in the following Codepen.

View on Codepen.

Browser Support

Writing mode comes with relative good support, it's missing some IE features and Opera Mini (as many cool features).

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