Pretty text underline

OSCC · CSS, Visual · Oct 13, 2021

Provides a nicer alternative to text-decoration: underline where descenders do not clip the underline.

  • Use text-shadow to apply 4 values with offsets covering a 4x4 px area. This ensures the underline has a thick shadow that covers the line where descenders clip it. For best results, use a color that matches the background and adjust the px values for larger fonts.
  • Use background-image with linear-gradient() and currentColor to create a gradient that will act as the actual underline.
  • Set background-position, background-repeat and background-size to place the gradient in the correct position.
  • Use the ::selection pseudo-class selector to ensure the text shadow does not interfere with text selection.
  • Note: This is natively implemented as text-decoration-skip-ink: auto but it has less control over the underline.

Pretty text underline without clipping descenders.

<div class="container">
  <p class="pretty-text-underline">Pretty text underline without clipping descenders.</p>
.container {
  background: #f5f6f9;
  color: #333;
  padding: 8px 0;

.pretty-text-underline {
  display: inline;
  text-shadow: 1px 1px #f5f6f9, -1px 1px #f5f6f9, -1px -1px #f5f6f9,
    1px -1px #f5f6f9;
  background-image: linear-gradient(90deg, currentColor 100%, transparent 100%);
  background-position: bottom;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-size: 100% 1px;

.pretty-text-underline::selection {
  background-color: rgba(0, 150, 255, 0.3);
  text-shadow: none;

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