Understanding Success Criterion 2.4.7: Focus Visible

Success Criterion 2.4.7 Focus Visible (Level AA): Any keyboard operable user interface has a mode of operation where the keyboard focus indicator is visible.


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

The purpose of this success criterion is to help a person know which element among multiple elements has the keyboard focus. If there is only one keyboard actionable control on the screen, the success criterion would be met because the visual design presents only one keyboard actionable item.

Note that a keyboard focus indicator can take different forms. One common way is a caret within the text field to indicate that the text field has the keyboard focus. Another is a visual change to a button to indicate that that button has the keyboard focus.



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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

  1. Using user interface components that are highlighted by the user agent when they receive focus
  2. Using CSS to change the presentation of a user interface component when it receives focus
  3. G165: Using the default focus indicator for the platform so that high visibility default focus indicators will carry over
  4. Using an author-supplied, highly visible focus indicator
  5. Using script to change the background color or border of the element with focus
  6. Reskinning Flash components to provide highly visible focus indication
  7. SL2
  8. SL7

Advisory Techniques

Although not required for conformance, the following additional techniques should be considered in order to make content more accessible. Not all techniques can be used or would be effective in all situations.

  • Highlighting a link or control when the mouse hovers over it (future link)
  • Providing a highly visible highlighting mechanism for links or controls when they receive keyboard focus (future link)


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