CSS display Property

The display property defines the type of the box which is used for an HTML element.

With the display property we can override the initial value of an element. For example, a block-level element could be displayed as an inline element by specifying a value of "inline". An inline element does not accept the height and width properties. It will just ignore it.

In HTML, the default values of the display property are taken from the behaviors which are described in the HTML specifications or from the browser or user default stylesheet. On the other hand, the default value in XML is "inline".

There are several main box formats in CSS:

  • Inline
    Inline elements or inline-level elements are boxes flowing in a line without breaking it. The <span>, <em>, <img> elements are part of a line box but cannot cause a line break. Inline elements can have padding and margins, but they cannot have width and height because defining them on an inline won’t change its dimensions. Specifying padding and margins on the element will push the other elements on the line only horizontally. However, an inline-level element can accept width and height, if it is set to be an inline-block element using the display property.
  • Inline-block
    Inline-block elements are the same as inline element except that they except width and height. The width and height push the elements on the line both horizontally and vertically.
  • Block
    Block boxed or block-level elements do not sit in a line box but break past it. By default, they occupy as much horizontal space as possible. Block-level elements can contain other block-level elements. The <p>, <ul>, <h1>-<h6>, <div>, <section>, and <ol> are examples of block level elements.
  • Flex
    The display property is also used for Flexbox. The flex value generates a block-level box for the element and lays out the content according to the Flexbox model. Here you can read about The Ultimate Guide to Flexbox.
  • Grid
    The display property initially sets the Grid layout. It generates a block-level box for the element laying out the content according to the Grid model.
  • Table Values
    Display values allows you to make non-table elements behave like table elements. Each of the table values forces the element to behave like a corresponding table element in HTML. The inline-table behaves like a <table> HTML element, but as an inline box. There is a block-level context inside the table box.
Initial Value -
Applies to All elements.
Inherited No
Animatable No
Version CSS1
DOM Syntax object.style.display = "list-item";

Syntax

display: inline | block | contents | flex | grid | inline-block | inline-flex | inline-grid | inline-table | list-item | run-in | table | table-caption | table-column-group | table-header-group | table-footer-group | table-row-group | table-cell | table-column | table-row | none | initial | inherit;

Example of the display property:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
    <style>                    
      .display li{   	
      display: inline;
      margin-right: 10px;
      }
    </style>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h2>Display property example</h2>
    <p>Here the list item is with its initial value:</p>
    <ul>
      <li>List iteam</li>
      <li>List iteam</li>
    </ul>
    <p>Here the list item is used with the display property. The "inline" value is used:</p>
    <ul class="display">
      <li>List iteam 1</li>
      <li>List iteam 2</li>
    </ul>
  </body>
</html>

Result

Example of the display property with the "inline" and "block" values:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
    <style>  
      .inline {
      border: 1px solid #1c87c9;  
      display: inline; 	
      }                  
      .block {
      border: 1px solid #1c87c9;   	
      display: block;
      height: 30px;
      width: 300px;
      }
    </style>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h2>Display property example</h2>
    <p>Here the list item is with "initial" value. We see that the "inline" value does not accept height and width:</p>
    <span>This is some text.</span>
    <span class="inline">This is another text.</span>
    <hr>
    <p>Here the list item is used with the "block" value of the display property:</p>
    <span class="block">This is some text.</span>
    <span class="block">This is another text.</span>              
  </body>
</html>

Example of the display property with the "block" value:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>The title of the document</title>
    <style>
      .block {
      display: block;
      border: 1px solid #666;
      background-color: #eee;
      padding: 10px;
      width: 200px;
      }
      .hello {
      border: 1px solid #1c87c9;
      background-color: #8ebf42;
      padding: 10px;
      }
    </style>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h2>Display property example</h2>
    <div class="block">
      Lorem Ipsum is dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. 
      <div class="hello">HELLO!</div>
      It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. 
    </div>
  </body>
</html>

Example of the display property with the "contents" value:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
    <style>
      .contents {
      display: contents;
      border: 1px solid #666;
      background-color: #eee;
      padding: 10px;
      width: 200px;
      }
      .hello {
      border: 1px solid #1c87c9;
      background-color: #ccc;
      padding: 10px;
      text-align: center;
      }
    </style>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h2>Display property example</h2>
    <div class="contents">
      Lorem Ipsum is dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.
      <div class="hello">HELLO!</div>
      It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. 
    </div>
  </body>
</html>

Example of the display property with the "flex" value:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Title of the document</title>
    <style> 
      #flex {
      width: 300px;
      height: 100px;
      border: 1px solid #c3c3c3;
      display: -webkit-flex; /* Safari */
      -webkit-justify-content: center; /* Safari 6.1+ */
      display: flex;
      justify-content: center;
      }
      div {
      width: 70px;
      height: 70px;
      }
    </style>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h2>Display property example</h2>
    <p>Here the "display: flex;" is used:</p>
    <div id="flex">
      <div style="background-color: #1c87c9;">1</div>
      <div style="background-color: #666;">2</div>
      <div style="background-color: #8ebf42;">3</div>
    </div>
  </body>
</html>

Values

Value Description
inline Represents an element as an inline element.
block Represents an element as a block element.
contents The container disappears, thus making the child elements children of the element the next level up in the DOM.
flex Represents an element as a block-level-flex container.
grid Represents an element as a block-level grid container.
inline-block Represents an element as an inline-level block container.
inline-flex Represents an element as an inline-level flex container.
inline-grid Represents an element as an inline-level grid container.
inline-table Represents an element as an inline-level table. It behaves like an HTML <table> element, but as an inline box, and not as a block-level box. Inside the table box is a block-level context.
list-item The element behaves like HTML <li> element.
run-in Represents an element as block or inline according to context.
table The element behaves like HTML <table>element.
table-caption The element behaves like HTML <caption> element.
table-column-group The element behaves like HTML <colgroup> element.
table-header-group The element behaves like HTML <thead> element.
table-footer-group The element behaves like HTML <tfoot> element.
table-row-group The element behaves like HTML <tbody> element.
table-cell The element behaves like HTML <td> element.
table-column The element behaves like HTML <col> element.
table-row The element behaves like HTML <tr> element.
none Means that the element won't be shown at all.
initial Makes the property use its default value.
inherit Inherits the property from its parent element.


Browser support

1.0+ 12.0+ 1.0+ 1.0+ 7.0+


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