Shruti Balasa
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Text Underline Animation Explained

Text Underline Animation Explained

Let’s look at a simple underline animation on text hover and decode its working

Shruti Balasa's photo
Shruti Balasa
·Jul 28, 2022·

3 min read

See this text underline animation? Looks really nice right? Let’s go straight into understanding how to create it step-by-step.

underline-animation.gif

The Markup

<p>
  Hover on the link to see the
  <a class="underline" href="#">Underline animation</a>
</p>

The CSS

There are two ways to achieve the animation

Using ::after pseudo-element

In this method we can create a pseudo-element, position it below the link using position: absolute, give it a 2px height and animate the width from 0 to 100%. Something like this:

.underline::after {
  content: "";
  position: absolute;
  height: 2px;
  width: 0;
  left: 0;
  bottom: 0;
  background-color: #088beb;
  transition: width 0.5s ease-in-out;
}

.underline:hover::after {
  width: 100%;
}

And it works! Here’s the working demo.

The only problem with this method is that, if the link text flows into next line, the underline appears only on the first line!

Remove display:inline-block on the a element in the above demo and try it out for yourself. So if you need the animation to work on a multi-line text, follow the next method.

Using background property

In this method, we use an underline background image and position it at the bottom of the link. We set the size to 0 width initially and set it to 100% on hover,

For the background image, we don’t need an actual image. We can use linear gradient along with other properties like this.

.underline {
  background-image: linear-gradient(#088beb, #088beb);
  background-size: 100% 2px;
  background-position: left bottom;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
}

As you can see, we have used the background-image property to set the color of the underline. The background-size property is needed to specify that the image (underline) occupies 100% width and 2px height. The background-position property is used to specify the position and the last line makes the background image not repeat.

If you use the above CSS, you’ll get an underline right away. But we need an underline only on hover. So, let’s change the second line above to:

background-size: 0 2px;

And on hover, we change the background-size to 100% 2px. Also, add some transition. This will be the full CSS:

.underline {
  background-image: linear-gradient(#088beb, #088beb);
  background-size: 0 2px;
  background-position: left bottom;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  transition: background-size 0.5s ease-in-out;
}

.underline:hover {
  background-size: 100% 2px;
}

Unlike the previous method, this underline flows into multiple lines. See it for yourself in the working demo.

Bonus

  1. If you want the underline to animate from center instead of left to right, change the background-position value to center bottom.

  2. On hover, the line appears from left to right. On leaving the mouse, if you want it to exit to the right like the below demo:

animation2.gif You need to change the background-position to following:

.underline {
  /* Other rules here */
  background-position: right bottom;
}
.underline:hover {
  /* Other rules here */
  background-position: left bottom;
}

If you found the background properties and their values confusing, I encourage you to visit the MDN docs for background-image, background-position and background-size.

That’s a wrap! Hope you learnt something new this week.


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