Writing CSS for RTL websites

In a project I worked on we wanted to support bidirectional (or bidi) text, like Arabic or Hebrew.

When a website is designed in a LTR world, suddenly changing it to RTL causes all sorts of problems. All solvable, though. You have to be careful about sprite positions, form design, floats as well as margin/paddings related to those floats. If you’re using a CSS preprocessor like Sass (or stylus or whatever) you can utilize small mixins to make the process easier.

Village of sekiya at sumida river

RTL mixin

Assuming we’ve defined the dir attribute on the HTML element we can target styles using that selector.

@mixin rtl {
    [dir="rtl"] & {

.Component {
    // ltr styles
    float: left;
    margin-right: 1rem;

    // rtl styles
    // change directions and reverse the margin
    @include rtl {
        float: right;
        margin-right: auto;
        margin-left: 1rem;

Also, remember that browser defaults change as the direction does which means some things are already taken care for for you.