CSS Display and Visibility

The display property specifies if/how an element is displayed, and the visibility property specifies if an element should be visible or hidden.

Box 1
Box 2
Box 3

Hiding an Element - display:none or visibility:hidden

Hiding an element can be done by setting the display property to "none" or the visibility property to "hidden". However, notice that these two methods produce different results:

visibility:hidden hides an element, but it will still take up the same space as before. The element will be hidden, but still affect the layout:


h1.hidden {
    visibility: hidden;

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display:none hides an element, and it will not take up any space. The element will be hidden, and the page will be displayed as if the element is not there:


h1.hidden {
    display: none;

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CSS Display - Block and Inline Elements

A block element is an element that takes up the full width available, and has a line break before and after it.

Examples of block elements:

  • <h1>
  • <p>
  • <li>
  • <div>

An inline element only takes up as much width as necessary, and does not force line breaks.

Examples of inline elements:

  • <span>
  • <a>

Changing How an Element is Displayed

Changing an inline element to a block element, or vice versa, can be useful for making the page look a specific way, and still follow web standards.

The following example displays <li> elements as inline elements:


li {
    display: inline;

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The following example displays <span> elements as block elements:


span {
    display: block;

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Note Note: Setting the display property of an element only changes how the element is displayed, NOT what kind of element it is. So, an inline element with display:block is not allowed to have other block elements inside of it.


More Examples

How to display an element as an inline element.
This example demonstrates how to display an element as an inline element.

How to make a table element collapse
This example demonstrates how to make a <table> element collapse.

Test Yourself with Exercises!

Exercise 1 »  Exercise 2 »  Exercise 3 »  Exercise 4 »




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