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Animated Underline on Hover with CSS

Adding an animated underline on hover to links using CSS is a popular modern technique that likely has a few different solutions. The one in this snippet animates the underline by means of a gradient, various background-related properties, and a pseudo-element.

This can also be done using an extra <span> element inside the link (instead of the pseudo-element), but using a pseudo-element keeps the HTML clean.

Below is the code. Note the comments, which explain the customizable parts:

a, a:link, a:visited { color: white; text-decoration: none; position: relative; padding-bottom: 4px; /* The distance between text and underline */ } a::before { content: ""; position: absolute; width: 100%; top: 0; bottom: 0; background-image: linear-gradient(90deg, white, white); /* underline color */ background-size: 0 2px; /* vertical size of underline */ background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: left bottom; /* start position of underline */ transition: background-size .3s ease-in; /* duration and timing style of animation */ } a:hover::before { background-size: 100% 2px; }
Code language: CSS (css)

Notice the use of absolute positioning, along with the top and bottom properties to ensure the pseudo-element expands to the height of its parent. You can view the above code in action in the following CodePen demo:

The look and animation of the underline is fairly customizable. For example, in the following CodePen demo, I’ve adjusted some of the customizable values to make the underline a little more unique:

Above I’ve modified the direction of the animated underline on hover along with the spacing and the size of the underline. I’ve also used a real two-color gradient instead of a solid colo for the animated underline.

Note: To the best of our knowledge, the information above and the snippet are accurate and up to date. However, in case you notice something wrong, please report snippet or leave a comment below.
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