TypeScript icon, indicating that this package has built-in type declarations

2.3.0 • Public • Published

Calculate CSS Specificity


@bramus/specificity is a package to calculate the specificity of CSS Selectors. It also includes some convenience functions to compare, sort, and filter an array of specificity values.

Supports Selectors Level 4, including those special cases :is(), :where(), :not(), etc.

Demo: https://codepen.io/bramus/pen/WNXyoYm


npm i @bramus/specificity

Usage / Example

At its core, @bramus/specificity exposes a Specificity class. Its static calculate method can be used to calculate the specificity of a given CSS Selector List string.

import Specificity from '@bramus/specificity';

const specificities = Specificity.calculate('header:where(#top) nav li:nth-child(2n), #doormat');

Because calculate accepts a Selector List — which can contain more than 1 Selector — it will always return an array, with each entry being a Specificity instance — one per found selector.

const specificities = Specificity.calculate('header:where(#top) nav li:nth-child(2n), #doormat');
specificities.map((s) => s.toString()); // ~> ["(0,1,3)","(1,0,0)"]

💡 If you know you’re passing only a single Selector into calculate(), you can use JavaScript’s built-in destructuring to keep your variable names clean.

const [s] = Specificity.calculate('header:where(#top) nav li:nth-child(2n)');
s.toString(); // ~> "(0,1,3)"

💡 Under the hood, @bramus/specificity uses CSSTree to do the parsing of strings to Selectors. As a result, the calculate method also accepts a CSSTree AST of the types Selector and SelectorList.

The Return Format

A calculated specificity is represented as an instance of the Specificity class. The Specificity class includes methods to get the specificity value in a certain format, along with some convenience methods to compare it against other instances.

// 🚀 Thunderbirds are go!
import Specificity from '@bramus/specificity';

// ✨ Calculate specificity for each Selector in the given Selector List
const specificities = Specificity.calculate('header:where(#top) nav li:nth-child(2n), #doormat');

// 🚚 The values in the array are instances of the Specificity class
const s = specificities[0]; // Instance of Specificity

// 👀 Read the specificity value using one of its accessors
s.value; // { a: 0, b: 1, c: 3 }
s.a; // 0
s.b; // 1
s.c; // 3

// 🛠 Convert the calculated value to various formats using one of the toXXX() instance methods
s.toString(); // "(0,1,3)"
s.toArray(); // [0, 1, 3]
s.toObject(); // { a: 0, b: 1, c: 3 }

// 💡 Extract the matched selector string
s.selectorString(); // "header:where(#top) nav li:nth-child(2n)"

// 🔀 Use one of its instance comparison methods to compare it to another Specificity instance
s.isEqualTo(specificities[1]); // false
s.isGreaterThan(specificities[1]); // false
s.isLessThan(specificities[1]); // true

// 💻 Don’t worry about JSON.stringify()
// {
//    "selector": 'header:where(#top) nav li:nth-child(2n)',
//    "asObject": { "a": 0, "b": 1, "c": 3 },
//    "asArray": [0, 1, 3],
//    "asString": "(0,1,3)",
// }

Utility Functions (Static Methods)

This package also exposes some utility functions to work with specificities. These utility functions are all exposed as static methods on the Specificity class.

  • Comparing:

    • Specificity.compare(s1, s2): Compares s1 to s2. Returns a value that can be:
      • > 0 = Sort s2 before s1 (i.e. s1 is more specific than s2)
      • 0 = Keep original order of s1 and s2 (i.e. s1 and s2 are equally specific)
      • < 0 = Sort s1 before s2 (i.e. s1 is less specific than s2)
    • Specificity.equals(s1, s2): Returns true if s1 and s2 have the same specificity. If not, false is returned.
    • Specificity.greaterThan(s1, s2): Returns true if s1 has a higher specificity than s2. If not, false is returned.
    • Specificity.lessThan(s1, s2): Returns true if s1 has a lower specificity than s2. If not, false is returned.
  • Sorting:

    • Specificity.sortAsc(s1, s2, …, sN): Sorts the given specificities in ascending order (low specificity to high specificity)
    • Specificity.sortDesc(s1, s2, …, sN): Sorts the given specificities in descending order (high specificity to low specificity)
  • Filtering:

    • Specificity.min(s1, s2, …, sN): Filters out the value with the lowest specificity
    • Specificity.max(s1, s2, …, sN): Filters out the value with the highest specificity

A specificity passed into any of these utility functions can be any of:

  • An instance of the included Specificity class
  • A simple Object such as {'a': 1, 'b': 0, 'c': 2}

Utility Functions (Standalone)

All static methods the Specificity class exposes are also exported as standalone functions using Subpath Exports.

If you're only interested in including some of these functions into your project you can import them from their Subpath. As a result, your bundle size will be reduced greatly (except for including the standalone calculate, as it returns an array of Specificity instances that relies on the whole lot)

import { calculate } from '@bramus/specificity/core';
import { compare, equals, greaterThan, lessThan } from '@bramus/specificity/compare';
import { min, max } from '@bramus/specificity/filter';
import { sortAsc, sortDesc } from '@bramus/specificity/sort';

Type Definitions

Although @bramus/specificity is written in Vanilla JavaScript, it does include Type Definitions which are exposed via its package.json.


@bramus/specificity exposes a binary named specificity to calculate the specificity of a given selector list on the CLI. For each selector that it finds, it'll print out the calculated specificity as a string on a new line.

$ specificity "header:where(#top) nav li:nth-child(2n), #doormat"


@bramus/specificity is released under the MIT public license. See the enclosed LICENSE for details.


The idea to create this package was sparked by the wonderful Specificity Calculator created by Kilian Valkhof / Polypane, a highly educational tool that not only calculates the specificity, but also explains which parts are responsible for it.

The heavy lifting of doing the actual parsing of Selectors is done by CSSTree.



Package Sidebar


npm i @bramus/specificity

Weekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

675 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • bramus