15. Floating and Positioning


Floating and Positioning

In this chapter

Floating elements to the left and right

Clearing floated elements

Containing floated elements

Creating text-wrap shapes

Relative positioning

Absolute positioning and containing blocks

Fixed positioning

At this point, you’ve learned dozens of CSS properties that let you change the appearance of text elements and the boxes they generate. But so far, we’ve merely been formatting elements as they appear in the flow of the document.

In this chapter, we’ll look at floating and positioning, the CSS methods for breaking out of the normal flow and arranging elements on the page. Floating an element moves it to the left or right and allows the following text to wrap around it. Positioning is a way to specify the location of an element anywhere on the page with pixel precision.

Before we start moving elements around, let’s be sure we are well acquainted with how they behave in the normal flow.

Normal Flow

We’ve covered the normal flow in previous chapters, but it’s worth a refresher. In the CSS layout model, text elements are laid out from top to bottom in the order in which they appear in the source, and from left to right in left-to-right reading languages (see Note). Block elements stack up on top of one another and fill the available width of the browser window or other containing element. Inline elements and text characters line up next to one another to fill the block elements.


For right-to-left ...

Get Learning Web Design, 5th Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.