Internet Explorer 6

This Windows-only browser is the bane of many a CSS designer’s existence, mostly because its CSS parser and layout engine (Trident ) has not seen an upgrade since the browser was released in late 2001. The major differences between Internet Explorer 6 (IE 6) and the IE 5 series for the PC (first introduced in 1999) were the inclusion of the DOCTYPE switch and the fixing of numerous CSS 1 bugs in “Standards mode.”

Because IE 6/Windows’s rendering engine has remained largely unchanged since its release, its bugs (see Table 25-1) are fairly well-documented and there are several ways to show/hide particular styles. You can find information about these bugs and more at

To show a particular declaration block to IE 5+, you can use the Tan Hack ( or as it is sometimes known, the * html (Star HTML) Hack:

    div {
      color: green;
    * html div { /* <-- will target IE5+ */
      color: red;

In any (X)HTML document, html is the root element (it has no parent). What the Tan Hack is essentially selecting is an element (in the example, a div) that is a descendant of html, which is a descendant of anything (using the universal selector: *). Theoretically, that is impossible to do, but IE 5+ apparently has an implied parent of the html element in its internal model, and that implied parent matches the initial *, making it a means for targeting particular rules to overcome its ...

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