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Recipe 7.2 Building a One-Column Layout

 
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Recipe 7.2 Building a One-Column Layout

Problem

You want to build a layout that consists of one main column, as in Figure 7-3.

Figure 7-3. One-column page reinforced by increased margin
figs/csscb_0703.gif


Solution

Apply a percentage value to the left and right margins of the web document's body element:

body {

 margin-left:15%;

 margin-right: 15%;

}

Discussion

When you apply a percentage value to the left and right margins of the body, the column width becomes flexible. This allows the content to stretch to the width of the user's browser.

To create a fixed-width column, use the width property for the body element:

body {

 width: 600px;

}

This technique aligns the column to the left side of the user's browser. If you want to center a column with a fixed width, wrap a div element around the entire contents of the web document with a specific, unique id attribute such as a frame:

<div id="frame">

 [...]

</div>

Then, in the CSS rules, apply a 50% value to the left padding of the body:

body {

 width: 600px;

 padding-left: 50%;

}

Through an id selector, set the width of the column, then set a negative left margin equal to half the column width:

#frame {

 /* set the width of the column */

 width: 600px;

 margin-left: -300px;

}

You might think to just set the left and right margins to auto:

#frame {

 width: 600px;

 margin-left: auto;

 margin-right: auto;

}

This straightforward approach doesn't work in Internet Explorer for Windows, however. The Solution uses a workaround that works on all major browsers.

See Also

Recipe 2.3 on centering elements in a web document; Recipe 3.8 on horizontal tab navigation.

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