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

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

/* vertical | horizontal */
padding: 5% 10%;

/* top | horizontal | bottom */
padding: 1em 2em 2em;

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

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

Initial valueas each of the properties of the shorthand:
Applies toall elements, except table-row-group, table-header-group, table-footer-group, table-row, table-column-group and table-column. 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:
  • padding-bottom: the percentage as specified or the absolute length
  • padding-left: the percentage as specified or the absolute length
  • padding-right: the percentage as specified or the absolute length
  • padding-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 padding property may be specified using one, two, three, or four values. Each value is a <length> or a <percentage>.

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

Values

<length>
A fixed size of the padding. Must be nonnegative.
<percentage>
A percentage size of the padding with respect to the width of the containing block. Must be nonnegative.
 

Formal syntax

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

Examples

Simple example

HTML

<h4>This element has moderate padding.</h4>
<h3>The padding is huge in this element!</h3>

CSS

h4 {
  background-color: lime;
  padding: 20px 50px;
}

h3 {
  background-color: cyan;
  padding: 110px 50px 50px 110px;
}

More examples

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

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

padding: 10px 20px;         /* top and bottom: 10px padding */
                            /* left and right: 20px padding */

padding: 10px 3% 20px;      /* top:            10px padding */
                            /* left and right: 3% padding   */
                            /* bottom:         20px padding */

padding: 1em 3px 30px 5px;  /* top:    1em padding  */
                            /* right:  3px padding  */
                            /* bottom: 30px padding */
                            /* left:   5px padding  */ 

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Basic Box Model
The definition of 'padding' in that specification.
Working Draft No change.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'padding' in that specification.
Recommendation No change.
CSS Level 1
The definition of 'padding' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support 1.0 (Yes) 1.0 (1.0) 4.0 3.5 1.0 (85)
Feature Android Edge Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support ? (Yes) ? ? ? ?

See also