CSS Syntax

CSS has a simple syntax, and uses a number of English keywords to specify the names of various style properties.

A style sheet consists of a list of rules. Each rule or rule-set consists of one or more selectors and a declaration block. A declaration-block consists of a list of semicolon-separated declarations in braces. Each declaration itself consists of a property, a colon (:), a value, then a semi-colon (;).

The CSS syntax is made up of three parts: a selector, a property and a value:

selector {property: value}

The selector is normally the HTML element/tag you wish to define, the property is the attribute you wish to change, and each property can take a value. The property and value are separated by a colon, and surrounded by curly braces:

body {color: black}

Note: If the value is multiple words, put quotes around the value:

p {font-family: “sans serif”}

Note: If you wish to specify more than one property, you must separate each property with a semicolon. The example below shows how to define a center aligned paragraph, with a red text color:

p {text-align:center;color:red}

To make the style definitions more readable, you can describe one property on each line, like this:

p
{
text-align: center;
color: black;
font-family: arial
}

CSS Grouping

You can group selectors. Separate each selector with a comma. In the example below we have grouped all the header elements. All header elements will be displayed in green text color:

h1,h2,h3
{
color: green
}

CSS Class Selector

With the class selector you can define different styles for the same type of HTML element.
Say that you would like to have two types of paragraphs in your document: one right-aligned paragraph, and one center-aligned paragraph. Here is how you can do it with styles:

p.right {text-align: right}
p.center {text-align: center}

You have to use the class attribute in your HTML document:

Note: To apply more than one class per given element, the syntax is:

<p class=”center bold”>This is a paragraph</p>

The paragraph above will be styled by the class “center” AND the class “bold”.
You can also omit the tag name in the selector to define a style that will be used by all HTML elements that have a certain class. In the example below, all HTML elements with class=”center” will be center-aligned:

.center {text-align: center}

In the code below both the h1 element and the p element have class=”center”. This means that both elements will follow the rules in the “.center” selector:

<h1 class=”center”>This heading will be center-aligned</h1>
<p class=”center”>This paragraph will also be center-aligned.</p>

Add Styles to Elements with Particular Attributes

You can also apply styles to HTML elements with particular attributes.
The style rule below will match all input elements that have a type attribute with a value of “text”:

input[type=”text”] {background-color: blue}

CSS ID Selector

You can also define styles for HTML elements with the id selector. The id selector is defined as a #. The style rule below will match the element that has an id attribute with a value of “green”:

#green {color: green}

The style rule below will match the p element that has an id with a value of “para1”:

p#para1
{
text-align: center;
color: red
}

CSS Comments

Comments are used to explain your code, and may help you when you edit the source code at a later date. A comment will be ignored by browsers. A CSS comment begins with “/*”, and ends with “*/”, like this:

/* This is a comment */
p
{
text-align: center;
/* This is another comment */
color: black;
font-family: arial
}