CSS (Cascading Style Sheet)? Meaning, Types, and Properties

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Written By Nidhi Sharma

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Cascading styles sheets (CSS), a style language that allows you to style web documents in a way that is easy for web developers, is one of the most important pillars of the internet's user experience. It works with many markup languages. This article will explain the workings of CSS and the top 20 properties that you should know.

What is CSS?

Cascading styles sheets (CSS), a style language that supports the styling of web pages, were created in the 1990s. It is an essential skill for web designers and is one of the key pillars in the internet user experience.

CSS is a stylesheet programming language that allows you to configure and manage the formatting and appearance of documents created in markup languages. It adds the feature to HTML (Hypertext markup language). It is often combined with HTML to alter the appearance of web pages and user interfaces.

W3C (the World Wide Web Consortium), created CSS in 1996 with a clear purpose. The HTML tags used to format the page weren't intended for HTML elements. While CSS is not required, it's a good idea to avoid visiting websites that only contain HTML elements. It would look very plain.

The CSS style is made up of several components.

1. Selector

Selectors are used to identifying the HTML elements on web pages that require styling. A pattern of terms is used to identify HTML elements to which the CSS property values should be applied. These elements are called CSS selectors. These selectors are:

  • Simple selectors (for elements that are based on class, name, and id)
  • Combinator selectors are elements that have a particular relationship between them.
  • Pseudoclass selectors (for elements that are based on a specific state)
  • Selectors for pseudo-elements (to style a portion of an element).
  • Selectors of attributes (for elements that are based on an attribute value or attribute value).

2. Properties

CSS properties are used to specify the styles that are applied to selectors. It works in the same way as attributes such as background color, font size, and position. These attributes are placed before property values using the CSS ruleset. A colon separates them from the property value. Many attributes can be used to identify HTML elements and selectors.

Some properties are universal and can be applied to all selectors. Some properties are only applicable to certain selectors and situations. Grid-template-columns, which are used to style the page layout, is an example. It works primarily with divs that have the grid display property set. We will look at the key CSS properties later in this article. HTML selectors can also be described by their values and many other characteristics.

3. Values

Properties are defined by the values that are assigned to them. Text values are common in CSS. They are written in plain text, unlike strings. CSS values can be written in text or URLs. Certain CSS attributes allow integer definitions of their values, even negative numbers.

You can express CSS values using a variety of property-specific units. However, the standard units are px and em. You can manipulate CSS values to create shorthand. Background images, for example, require a URL to be their value.

Types of CSS

Cascading Style sheets or CSS can come in three forms: embedded, external, and inline.

1. CSS InLine Style

It is used to apply style to a single HTML element. It's a style sheet that has a CSS property attached to a component within the body section. This style form can be defined within an HTML tag using the style attribute. Inline CSS is used to define the style attribute of an HTML element. It would be difficult to maintain a website that is only updated with inline CSS.

This is because each HTML tag must be decorated separately when using inline CSS. This CSS style can be used to preview, test modifications and make quick repairs to websites/webpages. This is how you can use inline CSS:

  • You must activate the HTML file in which the inline CSS is to be added. Navigate to the element you wish to insert the inline CSS.
  • Style="code" should be added to the tags where the inline CSS will be used.

The advantage of inserting CSS code does not require you to make and upload a separate file. However, there are some drawbacks. Too much inline CSS can cause the HTML structure to be unorganized.

2. Sheet With Embedded Cascading Style

This technique is also known as internal CSS. It involves inserting the CSS code in the HTML file that corresponds with the page on which users will apply the CSS styling. An internal CSS style definition can be used for a single HTML webpage. The definition of an inner CSS style is found in the HTML page's header> section.

This is useful when more than one HTML document must have a different style. Internal CSS makes it easy to style a single page. It is difficult to use the same CSS style for multiple web pages because you must place it on each page. This is how to use embedded or internal CSS:

  • Once the HTML file opens, navigate to the head> tag.
  • Enter "style type="text/css") here. The CSS code should be added next, starting at the end of the line. To end a style tag, '/style>' should be used.
  • Save the HTML document to make changes permanent.

It prevents other files from being uploaded by adding CSS code to HTML pages. The downside is that adding code to an HTML page will reduce its size and make it load faster.

3. External Cascading Style Sheet

To be eligible for external CSS style, a web page must link to an external file that contains the CSS code. When creating large websites, external CSS can be a powerful CSS styling technique. When using external CSS, developers link web pages to external.css files. With CSS, users can design websites more efficiently. You can modify the.css file to change the whole website.

This means that you can select one style for each element and it will be used across all pages. To use external CSS, these steps must be followed:

  • After opening the file, create a new one in the text editor. Add CSS to your HTML web page here (s). Save the file as a.css and close it.
  • You must activate the CSS code within the HTML document that you wish to use.
  • In the HTML file's header> section, place a reference to an external CSS file directly behind the title> element. Archive the HTML file.

It's more efficient, especially when styling large websites. However, it can slow down website download times if you submit many CSS files.

CSS Key Properties

CSS properties determine the style and behavior of HTML elements. Font style, transformation, and the border are some examples. A CSS property declaration is composed of a property name and a property value. The value is listed following the property name. If more than one CSS property has been specified, a semicolon separates each value-name pair.

The final property declaration shouldn't contain a semicolon. However, it makes it easier to add CSS properties to the list without having to include an extra semicolon. Many CSS properties can be used to set different HTML components.

1. Display

Display properties control the type of box an element creates. Although the display property can have many values, four are the most commonly used. The CSS specification specifies the default value of each element's display.

2. Color

A color parameter defines the text color for an element. The color attribute in the body selector specifies the default text color for the page. There are many acceptable formats for color values. The most popular ones are RGB, hex, and named colors.

3. Syntax

A CSS stylesheet is a collection of rules that the browser interprets and applies to page components such as headings, paragraphs, etc. The two basic components of a CSS stylesheet are a selector and one to several declarations.

4. Background

The background of a web page has a significant impact on its visual presentation. CSS provides many options for customizing a background element, including image placement, positioning, and, background color. The background properties are background-color, background-image, background-repeat, background-attachment, and background position.

5. Fonts

To make text easily readable, one must choose the right font and style. CSS offers many options for text font styling. These include changing the font's appearance, changing its size, boldness, and managing variants. Font family, –style, –weight, –size, and ­variant, are all different attributes.

6. Text

CSS has many features that make it easy and efficient to define different styles of text, such as color, alignment or spacing, decoration, transformation, and so on. Text-align, word-spacing, and letter-spacing are some of the most commonly used text properties.

7. Dimension

CSS has many dimension properties that allow developers to control the width and height of an element. These include width, height, and min-height. Displays often use width and height attributes. Width and height do not include padding, borders, or margins.

8. Margin

You can set the border-spacing of a box element using CSS margin properties. Independent of the background color, the margin of an element will always be translucent. The margin area will show any preexisting background colors for the parent element.

9. Lists

CSS has many attributes that can be used to style and format the most common ordered and unordered lists. These list attributes can be used to control the appearance and form of markers. You can also adjust the distance a marker is from a list's text.

10. Links

Without hyperlinks, a website can't function. It allows users to navigate the website. It is crucial to design the links in a way that makes it easy for users to navigate your website. You can choose from four states of links: hover, visited, active, and hover.

11. Layers

HTML pages can be considered two-dimensional because the text, graphics, and other elements are placed on the page without touching each other. You can stack boxes horizontally or vertically and also along the z-axis.

12. Gradients

Gradients can be used to speed up downloads and reduce bandwidth. Because the browser generates the output, it renders much faster. Also, gradient-containing items can easily be scaled up and down without affecting quality.

13. Outline

Developers can define a box-shaped area around an element by using its outline settings. An outline is a line drawn just outside of the borders of elements. An outline is a line drawn just outside the elements' borders that indicates active states or focus for elements such as buttons and form fields.

14. Filters

The CSS filter property accepts one or more filters in the specified order. This can be used to apply filter effects to an element. It can be used by developers to create visual effects such as blur, brightness, contrast balance, color saturation, and so on.

15. Units

Absolute units such as pixels, points, and so on, or relative units can be used to measure length. Because there is no default CSS unit, it must be used for non-zero values. An error would be considered if a unit is missing or ignored.

16. Opacity

Opacity existed long before the CSS 3 specifications. However, older browsers have different settings for transparency or opacity. The opacity attribute can be set to anything from 0.0 to 1.0. Developers may also use CSS opacity to create translucent images.

17. Validation

Website validation refers to the process of ensuring that a website's pages conform to the standards and rules set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium. It is essential to verify. This will ensure that search engines and web browsers interpret your web pages in the same manner.

18. Position

Layout design is all about placing elements correctly on web pages. There are many CSS options for placing items. These placement techniques are described in detail in the next section.

19. Padding

The padding properties can be used to control the distance between the border and the content of an element. The padding area will be affected by the background color of an element. The padding will reflect the background color of an element.

20. Tables

Tables are used to display tabular data such as financial reports that were fetched from a Database Management System (DBMS). This is an example of this. Browsers will not display a border if you create an HTML table that doesn't have any style or attributes. CSS can make your tables look more professional.


Cascading styles sheets, or CSS, is now a standard in web development. It is used to style web pages and, with the advent of ebooks, e-commerce, and other web-based applications, it is also used to power most of our online user experience. CSS3 is the current version. CSS4 is in development. Understanding HTML and JavaScript can help you build better web assets for your enterprise.

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