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Home » Basic WordPress Terminology » CSS

CSS

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CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. It is a convenient way to designate styles for HTML elements on a web page.

In WordPress, you’ll find the main stylesheet for your website called style.css in your theme folder. You can make changes to styles in your theme directly here, in the Theme Customizer, or in various other places depending on your theme or plugins.

A CSS rule, consists of a selector (the CSS class or ID of the item you want to style) and at least one property (the aspect of the item you want to style) and the value (the styling you want to give the property.)

An example:

I’ve given this block the CSS class css-example-block and I want to give it a red background, white text, and a larger font.

So I’ve entered the following in my custom CSS area in the Theme Customizer:

.css-example-block {background: #dd3333; color: white; font-size: 25px;}

Note the following:

  • I’ve entered a CSS class, so it has a . before it. If it were a CSS ID, it would have a # in the front.
  • The group of properties and values for the selector are enclosed in brackets {}.
  • There is a colon after the property.
  • There is a semicolon after the value.
What is CSS? CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet and is a convenient way to designate styles in an HTML document. Click to Tweet

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Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
CSS3 logo and wordmark.svg
Filename extension
.css
Internet media type
text/css
Uniform Type Identifier (UTI)public.css
Developed byWorld Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
Initial releaseDecember 17, 1996; 24 years ago (1996-12-17)
Latest release
CSS 2.1 : Level 2 Revision 1
(April 12, 2016; 5 years ago (2016-04-12))
Type of formatStyle sheet language
Container forStyle rules for HTML elements (tags)
Contained byHTML Documents
Open format?Yes
Websitewww.w3.org/TR/CSS/#css

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation of a document written in a markup language such as HTML. CSS is a cornerstone technology of the World Wide Web, alongside HTML and JavaScript.

CSS is designed to enable the separation of presentation and content, including layout, colors, and fonts. This separation can improve content accessibility, provide more flexibility and control in the specification of presentation characteristics, enable multiple web pages to share formatting by specifying the relevant CSS in a separate .css file which reduces complexity and repetition in the structural content as well as enabling the .css file to be cached to improve the page load speed between the pages that share the file and its formatting.

Separation of formatting and content also makes it feasible to present the same markup page in different styles for different rendering methods, such as on-screen, in print, by voice (via speech-based browser or screen reader), and on Braille-based tactile devices. CSS also has rules for alternate formatting if the content is accessed on a mobile device.

The name cascading comes from the specified priority scheme to determine which style rule applies if more than one rule matches a particular element. This cascading priority scheme is predictable.

The CSS specifications are maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Internet media type (MIME type) text/css is registered for use with CSS by RFC 2318 (March 1998). The W3C operates a free CSS validation service for CSS documents.

In addition to HTML, other markup languages support the use of CSS including XHTML, plain XML, SVG, and XUL.

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Cheryl
Cheryl is a former Occupational Therapist and WordPress enthusiast who became a writer in some parallel universe and occasionally, but infrequently, publishes things in this one. She writes two blogs (or is it three) which she won't quit because she knows that blogs, in her case, are like a hydra and if she cuts one off two more will take its place. When she's not doing that, she enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking (formerly fast, now ebike), messing around with Adobe illustrator, making assorted things, meditating (though she wouldn't call that "like," and reading. She normally doesn't speak about herself in the third person, but she sometimes uses "we" in the royal sense while writing this blog. She lives in Poulsbo, WA with her spouse, her youngest adult daughter, a very old mutt, and a Siamese cat.

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