CSS Display and Positioning

CSS Display and Positioning is the foundation of web page layout. Understanding how elements are displayed and positioned on a webpage is crucial for achieving the desired visual hierarchy and structure.

In CSS, each HTML element has a default display property value. The display property specifies how an element is rendered on the web page. There are several display values, including:

/* Display property values */

/* Block-level elements */
display: block;

/* Inline-level elements */
display: inline;

/* Inline-block elements */
display: inline-block;

/* None */
display: none;

/* ... and more */

The block value makes an element render as a block-level element. Block-level elements take up the full width available and create a line break before and after the element.

The inline value, on the other hand, makes an element render as an inline-level element. Inline elements do not create line breaks and only take up as much space as necessary to display their content.

The inline-block value combines aspects of both block-level and inline elements. It allows an element to behave like an inline element while still retaining the ability to set a width and height.

The none value hides the element from the web page entirely. It is commonly used in CSS to hide or show elements dynamically using JavaScript or CSS animations.

By understanding and manipulating the display property, you can control how elements are visually positioned on the web page. However, the display property alone is not sufficient for precise positioning. For more control over element placement, CSS provides a range of positioning properties:

/* Positioning properties */

/* Static positioning (default) */
position: static;

/* Relative positioning */
position: relative;

/* Absolute positioning */
position: absolute;

/* Fixed positioning */
position: fixed;

The static value is the default positioning value, where elements are rendered in their normal order as dictated by the document flow.

The relative value allows you to position an element relative to its normal position. You can use the top, right, bottom, and left properties to offset the element from its original position.

The absolute value positions an element relative to its closest positioned ancestor. If no positioned ancestor is found, the element is positioned relative to the initial containing block, which is usually the viewport. This type of positioning is commonly used for creating overlays or tooltips.

The fixed value positions an element relative to the viewport, regardless of scrolling. It remains fixed in its position even when the page is scrolled. This is useful for creating elements such as sticky headers or navigation bars.

Let's see an example of how the display and positioning properties work together:

  .container {
    width: 400px;
    height: 200px;
    background-color: #f2f2f2;
    display: flex;
    justify-content: center;
    align-items: center;
    position: relative;
  .box {
    width: 100px;
    height: 100px;
    background-color: #333;
    position: absolute;
    top: 50%;
    left: 50%;
    transform: translate(-50%, -50%);
<div class="container">
  <div class="box"></div>

In the above example, we have a container with a specified width and height. The container uses the display: flex; property to center its content both horizontally and vertically. The box inside the container is absolutely positioned using position: absolute; and centered using top, left, and transform properties.

By manipulating the display and positioning properties, you can create diverse and visually appealing layouts that suit your design requirements.


In this chapter, we explored the fundamental concepts of CSS Display and Positioning. We learned about the different display property values, including block, inline, and inline-block, and their effects on element rendering. We also delved into the various positioning properties, such as static, relative, absolute, and fixed, and how they enable precise control over element placement.

Understanding and effectively utilizing display and positioning properties are essential skills for creating visually pleasing and well-structured web page layouts. By combining these properties with other CSS techniques, you can unleash your creativity and design captivating websites that engage users.

In the next chapter, we will dive into CSS Flexbox Layout, an incredibly powerful tool for creating flexible and responsive web page designs. So, let's continue our journey and explore the world of Flexbox!