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counter-reset property

Sets or retrieves a list of counters to create or reset to zero.

CSS 2.1, Section 12.4 Internet Explorer 8



counter-reset: [ <identifier> <integer> ]+

Property values

A variable of type String that specifies or receives a space-delimited list of counters, including one or both of the following values.


The name of the counter, optionally followed by an integer.


The initial value of the counter. The default value is 0.

CSS information

Applies ToAll elements
Initial Value

Standards information


The counter-reset attribute can contain a list of one or more counters, each one optionally followed by an integer. The integer represents the value that the counter is set to after each occurrence of the element.

If an element both resets and increments a counter, the counter is reset first and then incremented. If the same counter is specified more than once, each reset or increment of the counter is processed in the order specified.

The counter-increment and counter-reset attributes follow the rules of the CSS cascade. Given two style declarations with the same specificity, only the last one encountered will be processed. For more information about cascade and specificity, see Understanding CSS Selectors.

An element that is not displayed ( display attribute set to 'none') and pseudo-elements that do not generate content ( content attribute set to 'normal') cannot increment or reset a counter.

This property requires Windows Internet Explorer to be in IE8 Standards mode rendering.


The following example demonstrates automatic chapter and section numbering using counter-reset, counter-increment, and content. The chapter counter is set to zero for the body element, and then incremented for each hn element encountered. The section counter is reset for each hn element and incremented for each hn element. When the page is viewed, each hn element is preceded by a chapter heading of the form "ChapterX.", while each hn element is preceded by a section number of the form "X.N".

<!DOCTYPE html>

  <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8" />
  <style type="text/css">
    body {
      counter-reset: chapter; /* Create a chapter counter */

    h1 {
      counter-increment: chapter; /* Add 1 to chapter */
      counter-reset: section; /* Set section to 0 */

      h1:before {
        content: "Chapter " counter(chapter) ". ";

    h2 {
      counter-increment: section;

      h2:before {
        content: counter(chapter) "." counter(section) " ";
  <p>resetCounter Example</p>

Because of a conflicting set of style rules, in the following example only the imagenum counter is reset. To reset both counters, put them together in the same rule.

h1 { counter-reset: section -1 }
h1 { counter-reset: imagenum 99 }

See also