Using CSS3 On Internet Explorer With PIE

Until a few hours ago some parts of this website used boring old images as buttons, however I’ve now started to bring this website into 2011 and swap them out for something far cooler and semantically better. These are now links styled up with CSS3.

The buttons had rounded corners and a drop shadow, easy to create using tools like Adobe’s Photoshop, but a pain to do before CSS3. With CSS3, we can use the following to add the curved border and drop shadow.

-webkit-border-radius: 8px;
-moz-border-radius: 8px;
border-radius: 8px;
-webkit-box-shadow: rgba(0,0,0, .5) 3px 3px 6px;
-moz-box-shadow: rgba(0,0,0, .5) 3px 3px 6px;
box-shadow: rgba(0,0,0, .5) 3px 3px 6px;

OK, we’ve had to use a few custom extensions for Mozilla and Webkit based browsers, but it works. However, as always, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer doesn’t want to play nicely and isn’t able to support these features. There are a few work arounds, but at present the best seems to be PIE – Progressive Internet Explorer.

PIE makes Internet Explorer 6-8 capable of rendering several of the most useful CSS3 decoration features. At present it has full or partial support for border-radius, box-shadow, border-image, multiple background images and linear gradient background images.

It’s easy to add PIE as an HTML Component (HTC), you just need to reference it in your CSS.

behaviour: url(;

As if by magic, those CSS3 features will start working in Internet Explorer.

You will need to download PIE and host it somewhere. You will also need to make sure that your web server is setup to serve HTC files with the content-type header of “text/x-component”. If you use Apache, you can use the following line in your config, or in a .htaccess file.

AddType text/x-component .htc