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Understanding SC 2.4.7:Focus Visible (Level AA)

In Brief

Users know which element has keyboard focus.
What to do
Ensure each item receiving focus has a visible indicator.
Why it's important
Without a focus indicator, sighted keyboard users cannot operate the page.


The purpose of this success criterion is to help a person know which element has the keyboard focus.

“Mode of operation” accounts for user agents which may not always show a focus indicator, or only show the focus indicator when the keyboard is used. User agents may optimise when the focus indicator is shown, such as only showing it when a keyboard is used. Authors are responsible for providing at least one mode of operation where the focus is visible. In most cases there is only one mode of operation so this success criterion applies. The focus indicator must not be time limited, when the keyboard focus is shown it must remain.

Note that a keyboard focus indicator can take different forms. New in WCAG 22: While Focus Visible does not specify what that form is, 2.4.13 Focus Appearance (Level AAA) provides guidance on creating a consistent, visible indicator.


  • This Success Criterion helps anyone who relies on the keyboard to operate the page, by letting them visually determine the component on which keyboard operations will interact at any point in time.
  • People with attention limitations, short term memory limitations, or limitations in executive processes benefit by being able to discover where the focus is located.


  • When text fields receive focus, a vertical bar is displayed in the field, indicating that the user can insert text, OR all of the text is highlighted, indicating that the user can type over the text.
  • When a user interface control receives focus, a visible border is displayed around it.

Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.


Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. However, it is not necessary to use these particular techniques. For information on using other techniques, see Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria, particularly the "Other Techniques" section.

Sufficient Techniques


The following are common mistakes that are considered failures of this Success Criterion by the WCAG Working Group.

Test Rules

The following are Test Rules for certain aspects of this Success Criterion. It is not necessary to use these particular Test Rules to check for conformance with WCAG, but they are defined and approved test methods. For information on using Test Rules, see Understanding Test Rules for WCAG Success Criteria.

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