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Design Talk.

Blurbs and rants about graphic design

What Is CSS?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets.

It’s a method of specyfing how elements in an HTML page will look, i.e., it’s a method of specifying the style of elements in a page. While HTML tags say: “This is a paragraph”, “This is a headline” and so on, Cascading Style Sheets specify how those paragraphs, headlines and so on actually look.

One can write style sheets in external files, called “external style sheet”. One can use one external style sheet for any number of HTML files. Therefore, one can change the appearance of many HTML files just by changing one style sheet. This can save a lot of time.

Why are they called Cascading Style Sheets? Because there is a hierarchy where styles specified in one place take priority over styles specified in another place. It is said that those styles then cascade inside each other.

One can in actual fact define styles from his browser. An example is one of Opera’s preferences that allows you to specify which font you will see when looking at web pages where the is not specified.

Then you have the aforementioned external style sheet. That will override the default browser’s styles.

Next is the internal style sheet, inside the tag of a page. That overrides both the browser’s styles and the external styles.

Last but not least is the inline style. This overrides all of the above and is specified withing a tag. So you could have an external style sheet (or an internal one) stating that all your paragraphs will use Arial. But you can specify with an inline style that one of those paragraphs has to use Verdana.

So you get:

  1. Browser styles
  2. External style sheet
  3. Internal styles
  4. Inline styles

The last one has the most priority and will override the previous ones.

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