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A regex that tokenizes CSS.


A regex that tokenizes CSS.

var cssTokens = require("css-tokens")
var cssString = ".foo{prop: foo;}\n..."
// [".foo", "{", "prop", ":", " ", "foo", ";", "}", "\n", ...] 


  • npm install css-tokens
var cssTokens = require("css-tokens")


A regex with the g flag that matches CSS tokens.

The regex always matches, even invalid CSS and the empty string.

The next match is always directly after the previous.

Takes a match returned by cssTokens.exec(string), and returns a {type: String, value: String} object. The following types are available:

  • string
  • comment
  • number
  • unquotedUrl
  • name
  • punctuator
  • whitespace
  • invalid

Comments and strings also have a closed property indicating if the token was closed or not (see below).

Strings come in two flavors. To distinguish them, check if the token starts with ' or ".

Names may start with @ (as in at-rule names), . (as in class selectors) and # (as in id selectors and hex colors).

For example usage, please see this gist.

Invalid code handling

Unterminated strings are still matched as strings. CSS strings cannot contain (unescaped) newlines, so unterminated strings simply end at the end of the line.

Unterminated multi-line comments are also still matched as comments. They simply go on to the end of the string.

Unterminated unquoted urls are also still matched as unquoted urls. They continue as long as there are valid characters.

Invalid ASCII characters have their own capturing group.


Tokenizing CSS using regexes—in fact, one single regex—won’t be perfect. But that’s not the point either.

The following is hardly a “limitation”, but could be mentioned:


The first line is matched as one single token (unquotedUrl), while the second is matched as four (name + punctuator + string + punctuator). This could be fixed, but isn’t to simplify the regex.


The X11 (“MIT”) License.