Which characters are valid in CSS class names/selectors?

You can check directly at the CSS grammar.

Basically1, a name must begin with an underscore (_), a hyphen (-), or a letter(az), followed by any number of hyphens, underscores, letters, or numbers. There is a catch: if the first character is a hyphen, the second character must2 be a letter or underscore, and the name must be at least 2 characters long.


In short, the previous rule translates to the following, extracted from the W3C spec.:

In CSS, identifiers (including element names, classes, and IDs in
selectors) can contain only the characters [a-z0-9] and ISO 10646
characters U+00A0 and higher, plus the hyphen (-) and the underscore
(_); they cannot start with a digit, or a hyphen followed by a digit.
Identifiers can also contain escaped characters and any ISO 10646
character as a numeric code (see next item). For instance, the
identifier “B&W?” may be written as “B&W?” or “B\26 W\3F”.

Identifiers beginning with a hyphen or underscore are typically reserved for browser-specific extensions, as in -moz-opacity.

1 It’s all made a bit more complicated by the inclusion of escaped unicode characters (that no one really uses).

2 Note that, according to the grammar I linked, a rule starting with TWO hyphens, e.g. --indent1, is invalid. However, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this in practice.

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