The speak-as descriptor specifies how a counter symbol constructed with a given @counter-style will be represented in the spoken form. For example, an author can specify a counter symbol to be either spoken as its numerical value or just represented with an audio cue.

Related at-rule @counter-style
Initial value auto
Media all
Computed value as specified
Canonical order the unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar


/* Keyword values */
speak-as: auto;
speak-as: bullets;
speak-as: numbers;
speak-as: words;
speak-as: spell-out;

/* @counter-style name value */
speak-as: <counter-style-name>;


If the value of speak-as is specified as auto, then the effective value of speak-as will be determined based on the value of the system descriptor:
  • If the value of system is alphabetic, the effective value of speak-as will be spell-out.
  • If system is cyclic, the effective value of speak-as will be bullets.
  • If system is extends, the value of speak-as will be the same as if speak-as: auto is specified on the extended style.
  • For all other cases, specifying auto has the same effect as specifying speak-as: numbers.
A phrase or an audio cue defined by the user agent for representing an unordered list item will be read out.
The numerical value of the counter will be read out in the document language.
The user agent will generate a counter value as normal and read it out as a word in the document language.
The user agent will generate a counter representation as normal and would read it out letter by letter. If the user agent doesn't know how to read out a partiular counter symbol, the user agent might read it out as if the value of speak-as was numbers.
The name of another counter style, specified as a <custom-ident>. If included, the counter will be spoken out in the form specified in that counter style, kind of like specifying the fallback descriptor. If the specified style does not exist, speak-as defaults to auto.

Formal syntax

auto | bullets | numbers | words | spell-out | <counter-style-name>

<counter-style-name> = <custom-ident>



<ul class="list">


@counter-style speak-as-example {
  system: fixed;
  symbols:     ;
  suffix: " ";
  speak-as: numbers;

.list {
  list-style: speak-as-example;    


Accessibility concerns

Assistive technology support is very limited for the speak-as property. Do not rely on it to convey information critical to understanding the page's purpose.

Let's Talk About Speech CSS | CSS Tricks


Specification Status Comment
CSS Counter Styles Level 3
The definition of 'speak-as' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibilityUpdate compatibility data on GitHub

Chrome Edge Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support No ? 33 No No No
Android webview Chrome for Android Edge Mobile Firefox for Android Opera for Android iOS Safari Samsung Internet
Basic support No ? ? 33 No No No

See also

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