Can I Target Something That Has Already Been Targetted Css

CSS Programming

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to target an element that has already been targeted in CSS? It can be frustrating when you want to make specific changes to an element but the existing CSS styles are preventing you from doing so. In this article, we will explore whether it is possible to target something that has already been targeted in CSS and discuss some approaches you can take to achieve your desired styling.

Before we dive into the details, let’s have a quick refresher on how CSS targeting works. CSS uses selectors to target specific elements on a web page. Selectors can be based on the element’s tag name, class, ID, or other attributes. When multiple selectors target the same element, the styles defined by the last selector take precedence.

Now, let’s consider the scenario where an element has already been targeted with a specific selector and we want to apply additional styles to it. Is it possible? The short answer is yes, it is possible, but it depends on the selectors that have been used to target the element.

Specificity and the Cascade

One of the key concepts in CSS is specificity. Specificity determines which styles take precedence when multiple styles target the same element. It is calculated based on the combination of selectors used to target an element.

If the element has been targeted with a more specific selector than the one you want to use, then your styles will not have any effect. In this case, you would need to increase the specificity of your selector to override the existing styles.

Another factor to consider is the order in which the styles are defined in your CSS file. The Cascade, as its name suggests, determines the order in which styles are applied. If the existing styles are defined after your styles in the CSS file, they will override your styles. To ensure that your styles take precedence, you can define them after the existing styles.

Using !important

There is a CSS declaration called “!important” that can be used to give a style the highest specificity. When you add “!important” after a property value, it will override any other styles, regardless of their specificity. However, it is generally recommended to use “!important” sparingly as it can lead to maintenance issues and make your CSS code harder to manage.

Modifying Existing Styles

If you want to modify the styles of an element that has already been targeted, you can also take advantage of CSS inheritance. CSS properties are inherited from parent elements to their child elements, unless explicitly overridden. By targeting a parent element of the desired element, you can indirectly modify the styles of the targeted element.

Another approach is to use JavaScript or jQuery to dynamically modify the styles of an element. This allows you to bypass CSS targeting limitations and make the desired changes programmatically. However, keep in mind that using JavaScript to modify styles should be done judiciously, as it can have performance implications.

So, to answer the question of whether you can target something that has already been targeted in CSS, the answer is yes, but it depends on the specificity of the existing selector and the order of the styles in your CSS file. If the existing selector is more specific than yours, you will need to increase the specificity of your selector or use other techniques, such as modifying the existing styles indirectly or using JavaScript.


In conclusion, CSS targeting can sometimes be tricky, especially when you want to target an element that has already been targeted. However, with a good understanding of CSS specificity, the Cascade, and some clever techniques, you can overcome these challenges and achieve the desired styling. Remember to use “!important” sparingly and consider alternatives like modifying existing styles indirectly or using JavaScript when necessary. Happy coding!