Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor

Pull Quotes

Pull quotes are common in magazines, but you don’t often seem them on the web. According to Wikipedia, a pull quote is a ‘quotation or excerpt from an article that is typically placed in a larger or distinctive typeface on the same page, serving to entice readers into an article or to highlight a key topic’.

I found a pull quote technique by Maykel Loomans which is quite clever; it uses HTML5’s data-attribute and CSS’s content to include a pull quote in the page, without it being a repetition of content. Because the content isn’t repeated, it’s invisible to screen readers and services like Instapaper. However, his technique relies on adding a class to the <p> element, along with data-pullquote="". As Jekyll uses Markdown to store content, you can’t just add a class or data-attribute to a paragraph. Markdown does however, parse blocks of HTML. I decided to use a CSS attribute selector—instead of a class—to insert the pull quote with as little markup as possible:

<p data-pullquote="Pull quote content"></p>

That’s pretty bare bones. An empty paragraph tag with the data-attribute, data-pullquote. It’s possible to use CSS to pull the content from data-pullquote and insert it into the page. First make the empty element visible:

p[data-pullquote] {
  display: block;

Then use a :before selector to add the content to the page, giving it some basic styles:

p[data-pullquote]:before {
  content: attr(data-pullquote);
  float: right;
  width: 200px;
  margin: 0 -5% 0.5em 30px;
  padding: 0;
  font-size: 22px;

I also wanted multiple pull quotes on a page to alternate between floating left and right; I tried selecting them with nth-of-type:


Unfortunately that didn’t work, nth-of-type was finding every odd paragraph, instead of every odd paragraph with data-pullquote. So I ended up having to use a class to optionally pull a quote to the left:

p.pull-left[data-pullquote]:before {
  float: left;
  margin: 0 30px 0.5em -5%;

It’s more markup, but it does allow me to choose which quotes I pull to the left.

Have a comment? @me on Twitter.