Styling an input type="file" button

Asked 13 years ago
Viewed 1.38 k times

How do you style an input type="file" button?

<input type="file" />

asked 13 years ago

Correct Answer

You don't need JavaScript for this! Here is a cross-browser solution:

See this example! - It works in Chrome/FF/IE - (IE10/9/8/7)

The best approach would be to have a custom label element with a for attribute attached to a hidden file input element. (The label's for attribute must match the file element's id in order for this to work).

<label for="file-upload" class="custom-file-upload">
    Custom Upload
<input id="file-upload" type="file"/>

As an alternative, you could also just wrap the file input element with a label directly: (example)

<label class="custom-file-upload">
    <input type="file"/>
    Custom Upload

In terms of styling, just hide1 the input element using the attribute selector.

input[type="file"] {
    display: none;

Then all you need to do is style the custom label element. (example).

.custom-file-upload {
    border: 1px solid #ccc;
    display: inline-block;
    padding: 6px 12px;
    cursor: pointer;

1 - It's worth noting that if you hide the element using display: none, it won't work in IE8 and below. Also be aware of the fact that jQuery validate doesn't validate hidden fields by default. If either of those things are an issue for you, here are two different methods to hide the input (1, 2) that work in these circumstances.

answered 1 year ago

Other Answer

Styling file inputs are notoriously difficult, as most browsers will not change the appearance from either CSS or javascript.

Even the size of the input will not respond to the likes of:

<input type="file" style="width:200px">

Instead, you will need to use the size attribute:

<input type="file" size="60" />

For any styling more sophisticated than that (e.g. changing the look of the browse button) you will need to look at the tricksy approach of overlaying a styled button and input box on top of the native file input. The article already mentioned by rm at is the best one I've seen.


Although it's difficult to style an <input> tag directly, this is easily possible with the help of a <label> tag. See answer below from @JoshCrozier:

answered 13 years ago