Restart CSS Animation (using CSS to trigger a reflow)

Lately, I wanted to run an animation on page load and the same animation again on :hover. After some debugging I figured out this doesn’t work as expected.

Here is the simplified CSS showing my problem:

/* a simple animation */
@keyframes test {
0% {background: red;}
100% {background: blue;}
}

div {
animation: test 4s ease-out;
}

/* run the animation again on hover, won't work this way */
div:hover {
animation: test 4s ease-out;
}

After a quick search, I came across this article on css-tricks.com where Chris and Oli show techniques to solve this problem. The conclusion is that you can either use JavaScript or as Oli Studholme researched, use an identical @keyframes animation with a different name for :hover. As the article and research are quite old (in terms of web development 4 years is actually really old) I started a new jsbin and tried to find a different solution. After some trial and error, I found another way using CSS.

So here it is:

/* a simple animation */
@keyframes test {
0% {background: red;}
100% {background: blue;}
}

/* Trigger reflow */
@-webkit-keyframes test1 {
to {width: auto;}
}

div {
animation: test 4s ease-out;
}

/* run the animation again and again on hover, check! */
div:hover {
animation-name: test1;
}

The trick is to add a second animation, which animates the width (can also be auto as you can see, so the width won’t change actually) to trigger reflow, to :hover. Try it out on jsbin.

It’s working in Firefox, Opera, Chrome and IE10 upwards.

Any question? Contact me.

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