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Add an icon to external links

Written byPhuoc Nguyen
23 Feb, 2021
If you want to add an icon to `a` element that links to an external website, then you can depend on the `href` or `[target="_blank"]` attribute.

The target attribute

a[target='_blank'] {
align-items: center;
display: flex;
a[target='_blank']:after {
/* The icon can be a SVG or image file */
content: url(/link/to/icon.svg);
margin-left: 0.25rem;
The `content` property can be a string that appends to the link:
a[target='_blank']:after {
content: ' (external)';
Using an icon font such as Font Awesome is another option:
a[target='_blank']:after {
content: ' \f08e';
font-family: 'FontAwesome';

The href attribute

This approach relies on the `href` attribute. A link is treated as external if
  • It doesn't match with the domain of website
  • It isn't an anchor (doesn't start with `#`)
  • It doesn't start with `/`
It's up to you to define more conditions here. But with the set of conditions above, the `:after` looks like
a:not([href*='domain.com']):not([href^='#']):not([href^='/']):after {
/* Set the `content` property as mentioned in the first approach */

See also

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Phước Nguyễn