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Beginning Cascading Style Sheets

Learn How to Use CSS


Cascading Style Sheets are a very powerful tool for the Web site developer. They give you the chance to be completely consistent with the look and feel of your pages, while giving you more control over the layout and design than straight HTML ever did.

Invented in 1997, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are widely used among browsers and Web developers are learning to be more comfortable with them. In fact, many tags that used to be the only way to define the look and feel of a page have been replaced by CSS, such as the <font> tag.

There are three parts to CSS: the styles, their placement, and the fact that they cascade.

Cascading Style Sheet Styles

One of the more common styles applied to HTML is the color and size of text. In HTML 3.2 you would create a blue <h4> headline like this:

<font color="#0000ff"><h4>a blue headline</h4></font>

However, there was no way to ensure that all <h4> headlines were blue except by typing in the font tag before and after each one. With CSS, you simply declare that all H4 headlines are blue, and for all pages that use that style sheet and all elements that use that style, they will be blue.

Put the following in the <head> of your HTML document:

<style type="text/css">
 h4 { color: #0000ff; }

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