The columns CSS property is a shorthand property allowing to set both the column-width and the column-count properties at the same time.

  • Initial value the concatenation of the initial values of its longhand properties:
    • column-width: auto
    • column-count: auto
  • Applies to non-replaced block elements (except table elements), table-cell or inline-block elements
  • Inherited no
  • Media visual
  • Computed value as each of the properties of the shorthand:
    • column-width: the absolute length, zero or larger
    • column-count: as specified
  • Animatable as each of the properties of the shorthand:
  • Canonical order order of appearance in the formal grammar of the values


columns: 1em;
columns: 1;
columns: auto;
columns: 1 auto;
columns: auto 12em;
columns: auto auto;


Is a <length> value giving a hint of the optimal width of the column. The actual column width may be wider (to fill the available space), or narrower (only if the available space is smaller than the specified column width). The length must be strictly positive or the declaration is invalid.
Is a strictly positive <integer> describing the ideal number of columns into which the content of the element will be flowed. If the column-width is also set to a non-auto value, it merely indicates the maximum allowed number of columns.

Formal syntax

<'column-width'> || <'column-count'>


.content-box {
  border: 10px solid #000000;


Specification Status Comment
CSS Multi-column Layout Module
The definition of 'columns' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support (Yes) -webkit 9 (9) -moz 10


15 -webkit

3.0 (522)-webkit
on display: table-caption (Yes) 37 (37) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 2.1 -webkit 22.0 (22) -moz 10


32 -webkit

3.2 -webkit
on display: table-caption (Yes) 37.0 (37) (Yes) (Yes) (Yes)

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

Contributors to this page: Sebastianz, jsx, teoli, estelle, kscarfone, Sheppy, ethertank, brianloveswords
Last updated by: Sebastianz,