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A Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) is, in its simplest form, a way to format text and position elements on HTML pages. However, style sheets are much more powerful in that they can provide information for printers and aural (speech synthesizers and sound effects) devices. Style sheets are governed by two specifications: CSS1 and CSS2. Netscape 6 is currently the most compliant browser, with Internet Explorer 5.5 and 6 not far behind. Both Internet Explorer 4 and Netscape Navigator 4.x support style sheets to some extent. Each browser maker also has added their own style elements.

Style Sheet FAQ

Helpful hints:

  • Define dimensions using "em" and "%" if how the page looks on the screen is important as these are relative measurements. Points, pixels, centimeters, and inches are only good if you are trying to control the printed look.
  • If you are trying to set a dimension to zero, put in "0.01" instead because of a bug in Navigator.
  • Don't use an underscore ("_") in your style sheet name or in the name of any style. Due to a bug in Internet Explorer, styles for some elements will not work properly.
  • Although not strictly a CSS issue, this does apply. When applying themes in Microsoft FrontPage, don't use the "apply using CSS" option if you have a text input box that you want people to be able to use in Netscape Navigator versions prior to 6. Otherwise, the box doesn't show up properly.

The following links to non-ASIJ sites give an introduction to CSS basics or provide a more complete CSS reference. 

W3Schools.Com CSS Tutorial
The W3Schools is a quick way to get started with Cascading Style Sheets provides tutorials in many areas, not just Cascading Style Sheets.
WebReview.com Style Sheet Reference Guide
WebReview.com has compatibility charts that help you determine which browser supports which CSS elements.
The World Wide Web Consortium's CSS Home Page
The World Wide Web Consortium® (W3C) developed the specification and here is the logical place to find links to many resources.
W3C Cascading Style Sheet Validator Service
The W3C also provides a validator service to help determine if your style sheets meet the standards.
Cascading Style Sheets Level 1 Specification
Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 Specification
These official specifications for Cascading Style Sheets are definitely not recommended for the faint-hearted.

Revision B

Last Updated 05/24/02

   

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Original Content 2001-2003 by Derrel Fincher. Other rights reserved by individual authors.