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CSS Layout - Horizontal Align


In CSS, several properties can be used to align elements horizontally.


Center Align - Using margin

Setting the width of a block-level element will prevent it from stretching out to the edges of its container. Use margin: auto;, to horizontally center an element within its container.

The element will then take up the specified width, and the remaining space will be split equally between the two margins:

Example

.center {
    margin: auto;
    width: 60%;
    border:3px solid #8AC007;
    padding: 10px;
}

Try it yourself »

Tip: Center aligning has no effect if the width property is not set (or set to 100%).

Tip: For aligning text, see the CSS Text chapter.


Left and Right Align - Using position

One method of aligning elements is to use position: absolute;:

Example

.right {
    position: absolute;
    right: 0px;
    width: 300px;
    border:3px solid #8AC007;
    padding: 10px;
}

Try it yourself »

Note: Absolute positioned elements are removed from the normal flow, and can overlap elements.

Tip: When aligning elements with position, always define margin and padding for the <body> element. This is to avoid visual differences in different browsers.

There is also a problem with IE8 and earlier, when using position. If a container element (in our case <div class="container">) has a specified width, and the !DOCTYPE declaration is missing, IE8 and earlier versions will add a 17px margin on the right side. This seems to be space reserved for a scrollbar. So, always set the !DOCTYPE declaration when using position:

Example

body {
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
}

.container {
    position: relative;
    width: 100%;
}

.right {
    position: absolute;
    right: 0px;
    width: 300px;
    background-color: #b0e0e6;
}

Try it yourself »

Left and Right Align - Using float

Another method of aligning elements is to use the float property:

Example

.right {
    float: right;
    width: 300px;
    border:3px solid #8AC007;
    padding: 10px;
}

Try it yourself »

Tip: When aligning elements with float, always define margin and padding for the <body> element. This is to avoid visual differences in different browsers.

There is also a problem with IE8 and earlier, when using float. If the !DOCTYPE declaration is missing, IE8 and earlier versions will add a 17px margin on the right side. This seems to be space reserved for a scrollbar. So, always set the !DOCTYPE declaration when using float:

Example

body {
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;
}

.right {
    float: right;
    width: 300px;
    background-color: #b0e0e6;
}

Try it yourself »

Test Yourself with Exercises!

Exercise 1 »  Exercise 2 »



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