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Temani Afif
Temani Afif

Posted on • Updated on

A Multi-line CSS only Typewriter effect

After the scalable one-line typewriter and the crazy "scrabble"-writer let's do another one: The multi-line typewriter.

A CSS-only solution of course:

The effect rely on using a Monospace font and knowing the number of characters. Yes, I am starting with the drawbacks but that was the price for a generic and easy to use code.

The HTML is very basic:

This is a <span class="type" style="--n:53">CSS only solution for a multi-line typewriter effect.</span>
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A span with our text and the number of character as variable.

For the CSS:

.type {
  font-family: monospace;
  color:#0000;
  background:
    linear-gradient(-90deg,#00DFFC 5px,#0000 0) 10px 0,
    linear-gradient(#00DFFC 0 0) 0 0;
  background-size:calc(var(--n)*1ch) 200%;
  -webkit-background-clip:padding-box,text;
  background-clip:padding-box,text;
  background-repeat:no-repeat;
  animation: 
    b .7s infinite steps(1),   
    t calc(var(--n)*.3s) steps(var(--n)) forwards;
}
@keyframes t{
  from {background-size:0 200%}
}
@keyframes b{
  50% {background-position:0 -100%,0 0}
}
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A few lines of CSS code with no hard-coded values. We only need to update the variable --n.


How does it work?

All the trick rely on background properties so as a reference I always recommend this article:

We have two background layers. The first layer will color the text and the second one will create the blinking caret.

The idea of the first layer is to apply a discrete animation of background-size to create a filling effect from the first character to the last one using a gradient coloration.

Here is a step-by-step illustration to understand the trick:

The second layer is our caret. Here we will perform two animations. The first one is a background-size animation similar to the text coloration since the caret need to follow the text. The second one is a background-position animation to create the blinking effect.

Another step-by-step to understand:

The width of the caret is controlled by the 5px inside the gradient and we add a small offset (10px) to avoid having an overlap with the text animation.

That's it! Simply imagine both layers animating at the same time and we have our CSS-only typewriter effect.

✔️ No Javascript
✔️ A basic HTML code
✔️ No complex CSS code. Less than 10 declarations and no hard-coded values
✔️ Accessible. The text is written within the html code (no pseudo element, no duplicated text)
❌ Require a monospace font
⚠️ You can use any text without changing the code but you have to update one variable

nice work

Discussion (10)

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial • Edited

Love this one, I can't spot it but on iPhone (again...damned apple) it only shows the first two lines and then stops? Is it the background clip not behaving itself?

I only think that as the cursor position works correctly, I could be wrong!

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

yes it's the background-clip:text working only for the first line of the span. Safari and IOS have a lot of issues with background-clip:text

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kayaks2fish profile image
kayaks2fish

This one's really helpful and I will surely try this, the explanation was also great.

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ribosomatic profile image
Jesus Liñan

Nice! Good job!

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guscarpim profile image
Gustavo Scarpim

Good, how do you link the posts?

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

by creating a serie. You can find this setting next to the publish button

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alvaromontoro profile image
Alvaro Montoro

Oooh! I need to make mine a series too... next one coming this evening.

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guscarpim profile image
Gustavo Scarpim

Nice, tks!

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alvaromontoro profile image
Alvaro Montoro

Nice. I really like this one and the whole explanation. A+.

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bbln profile image
bbln

Respect!