The margin CSS property sets the margin area on all four sides of an element. It is a shorthand that sets all individual margins at once: margin-top, margin-right, margin-bottom, and margin-left.

/* Apply to all four sides */
margin: 1em;

/* vertical | horizontal */
margin: 5% auto;

/* top | horizontal | bottom */
margin: 1em auto 2em; 

/* top | right | bottom | left */
margin: 2px 1em 0 auto;

/* Global values */
margin: inherit;
margin: initial;
margin: unset;

Initial valueas each of the properties of the shorthand:
Applies toall elements, except elements with table display types other than table-caption, table and inline-table. It also applies to ::first-letter.
Inheritedno
Percentagesrefer to the width of the containing block
Mediavisual
Computed valueas each of the properties of the shorthand:
  • margin-bottom: the percentage as specified or the absolute length
  • margin-left: the percentage as specified or the absolute length
  • margin-right: the percentage as specified or the absolute length
  • margin-top: the percentage as specified or the absolute length
Animation typea length
Canonical orderthe unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar

Syntax

The margin property may be specified using one, two, three, or four values. Each value is a <length>, a <percentage>, or the keyword auto. Each value can be positive, zero, or negative.

  • When one value is specified, it applies the same margin to all four sides.
  • When two values are specified, the first margin applies to the top and bottom, the second to the left and right.
  • When three values are specified, the first margin applies to the top, the second to the left and right, the third to the bottom.
  • When four values are specified, the margins apply to the top, right, bottom, and left in that order (clockwise).

Values

<length>
The size of the margin as a fixed value.
<percentage>
The size of the margin as a percentage, relative to the width of the containing block.
auto
The browser selects a suitable margin to use. For example, in certain cases this value can be used to center an element.

Formal syntax

[ <length> | <percentage> | auto ]{1,4}

Examples

Simple example

HTML

<div class="center">This element is centered.</div>

<div class="outside">This element is positioned outside of its container.</div>

CSS

.center {
  margin: auto;
  background: lime;
  width: 66%;
}

.outside {
  margin: 3rem 0 0 -3rem;
  background: cyan;
  width: 66%;
}

More examples

margin: 5%;                 /* all sides: 5% margin */

margin: 10px;               /* all sides: 10px margin */

margin: 1.6em 20px;         /* top and bottom: 1.6em margin */
                            /* left and right: 20px margin  */

margin: 10px 3% 1em;        /* top:            10px margin */
                            /* left and right: 3% margin   */
                            /* bottom:         1em margin  */

margin: 10px 3px 30px 5px;  /* top:    10px margin */
                            /* right:  3px margin  */
                            /* bottom: 30px margin */
                            /* left:   5px margin  */

margin: 2em auto;           /* top and bottom: 2em margin   */
                            /* box is horizontally centered */

margin: auto;               /* top and bottom: 0 margin     */
                            /* box is horizontally centered */

Notes

Horizontal centering

To center something horizontally in modern browsers, you can use display: flex; justify-content: center; .

However, in older browsers like IE8-9 that do not support flexbox layout, these are not available. In order to center an element inside its parent, use margin: 0 auto; .

Margin collapsing

Elements' top and bottom margins are sometimes collapsed into a single margin that is equal to the largest of the two margins. See Mastering margin collapsing for more information.

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Basic Box Model
The definition of 'margin' in that specification.
Working Draft No significant change.
CSS Transitions
The definition of 'margin' in that specification.
Working Draft Defines margin as animatable.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'margin' in that specification.
Recommendation Removes its effect on inline elements.
CSS Level 1
The definition of 'margin' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic Support1 (Yes)133.51
auto1 ?1613.51
FeatureAndroidChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidIE mobileOpera AndroidiOS Safari
Basic Support1 (Yes) (Yes)4661
auto ? ? ?4 ? ? ?

1. The auto value is not supported in quirks mode.

See also