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Controlling link sizing and spacing

From: CSS: Styling Navigation

Video: Controlling link sizing and spacing

Now that we've displayed our links horizontally and tamed or floats, we can turn our attention to more familiar tasks, such as defining the sizing and the spacing of our links. To work on that, I have once again opened up the horizontal.htm, this time from the 04_04 file. I've modified the styles. Once again, I removed the nav selector. We're going to bring it back a little bit later on, but right now I just want to focus on controlling the sizing and the spacing of the menu items themselves. Now to do that, we're going to add another selector.

Controlling link sizing and spacing

Now that we've displayed our links horizontally and tamed or floats, we can turn our attention to more familiar tasks, such as defining the sizing and the spacing of our links. To work on that, I have once again opened up the horizontal.htm, this time from the 04_04 file. I've modified the styles. Once again, I removed the nav selector. We're going to bring it back a little bit later on, but right now I just want to focus on controlling the sizing and the spacing of the menu items themselves. Now to do that, we're going to add another selector.

So just blow the grouped unordered and list items selectors, I'm going to create a selector that targets all of the links inside of the list items, so that's li a, and inside that we're just going to set a couple of properties that are going to allow us a little bit greater control over the overall sizing and spacing of our links. The first thing we want to do--remember that link elements display as inline elements by default. I'm just going to go ahead and change that display property to block. Now, since we've floated the list items, changing the display property to block for our links is not going to cause any issues, it'll still display as a horizontal list.

The next thing I want to do is I want to vertically center the text within the link area. One of the ways that we know how to do that is to use line-height, so I'm just going to go ahead and set a line height property here of 2 ems. Remember, if the line-height value is larger than the text, then the remaining space gets split, half of it above the text, half of it below the text to create the line box itself, and that's going to center the text vertically. And then finally, I'm going to add a little bit of padding, and what that's going to do is it's going to give me some interior space within the link region, and there I'm going to do 0 for top and bottom, and then I'm going to do 1 em for left and right.

And of course, what that's going to do for us is going to give us a little bit of space to the left and a little bit of space to the right, and its' going to give us an equal amount of space. Even though the length of the menu items won't be the same just because the words are shorter and longer, they'll have exactly the same amount of space on either side of them. That's a really important styling consideration I want to show you. I am going to go ahead and save this, go back out to a browser and just to kind of show you why I am going to tab through these links. You can see by the amount of space that we're giving these guys, there's enough space for somebody to come through and click.

That's a really important consideration with horizontal links, with vertical links obviously. You are worried about somebody scrolling up and down. With horizontal links the user is going to go from side to side. You want to give them enough space on either side of the text so that it's very easy for them to select it. You don't want to space them so far apart that they are having a travel over the length of the entire page to select one or two links. Now, I want to point out that we are not using any margins here to separate our links, we certainly could if we wanted to. In this case, we're setting it up so that each of the links is resting right against the other links.

Now if that's not what we wanted, we would use a right margin to push those links apart. That defines our link area. And with that defined, we can now turn our attention to their styling and presentation, which we'll do next.

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This video is part of

Image for CSS: Styling Navigation
CSS: Styling Navigation

53 video lessons · 17041 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
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  1. 3m 8s
    1. Welcome
      42s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      1m 12s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 14s
  2. 35m 25s
    1. Organizing menus with lists
      4m 26s
    2. Ensuring accessibility
      9m 3s
    3. Using the nav element
      7m 30s
    4. Creating block-level links
      3m 8s
    5. Lab: Structuring navigation
      4m 11s
    6. Solution: Structuring navigation
      7m 7s
  3. 48m 42s
    1. Exploring link style considerations
      9m 2s
    2. Using global link styles
      9m 56s
    3. Styling link states
      10m 57s
    4. Indicating external links
      10m 4s
    5. Styling image links
      8m 43s
  4. 52m 5s
    1. Stripping default list styling
      4m 34s
    2. Defining link dimensions
      6m 0s
    3. Setting link styling
      3m 36s
    4. Aligning links vertically
      4m 11s
    5. Controlling link spacing
      2m 30s
    6. Styling menus with borders
      2m 32s
    7. Creating rollovers
      4m 45s
    8. Restricting link styling
      3m 31s
    9. Lab: Creating a vertical menu
      11m 44s
    10. Solution: Creating a vertical menu
      8m 42s
  5. 54m 58s
    1. Stripping list styling
      3m 35s
    2. Displaying links horizontally
      6m 14s
    3. Clearing floats
      6m 12s
    4. Controlling link sizing and spacing
      3m 11s
    5. Styling links
      7m 16s
    6. Creating rollovers
      5m 52s
    7. Indicating current pages
      4m 43s
    8. Controlling cursor states
      2m 46s
    9. Lab: Creating horizontal menus
      6m 45s
    10. Solution: Creating horizontal menus
      8m 24s
  6. 55m 35s
    1. Overview of dropdown menus
      1m 17s
    2. Structuring submenus
      5m 56s
    3. Styling submenus
      6m 4s
    4. Creating submenu rollovers
      3m 28s
    5. Positioning submenus
      5m 43s
    6. Controlling submenu display
      5m 5s
    7. Creating persistent hover states
      5m 53s
    8. Animating menus with CSS transitions
      6m 29s
    9. Lab: Dropdown menus
      6m 51s
    10. Solution: Dropdown menus
      8m 49s
  7. 58m 7s
    1. Creating CSS-only buttons
      8m 39s
    2. Creating special effects for buttons
      4m 2s
    3. Enhancing buttons with gradients
      7m 40s
    4. Overview of CSS sprites
      3m 30s
    5. Using CSS sprites for icons
      14m 30s
    6. Styling block-level links
      8m 38s
    7. Lab: Enhancing navigation with CSS
      5m 26s
    8. Solution: Enhancing navigation with CSS
      5m 42s
  8. 6m 29s
    1. Additional resources
      6m 29s

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