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CSS: Core Concepts
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Controlling text alignment


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CSS: Core Concepts

with James Williamson

Video: Controlling text alignment

To control text alignment with CSS, we use the text align property, with which we are limited to using one of four alignment options. So I have the alignment.htm file open here. And I am just going to preview this in a browser. I can see that there's a lot different going on than in one of our normal pages. I have got this bright yellow background. I have got the words Text alignment, and then we just have some paragraphs of text, although, the paragraphs of text do kind of describe what we are going to be doing here. We have got left alignment that we are going to be experiment with, right alignment, center alignment, justify, and then towards the end of the exercise, we are also going to take a look at one of the more experimental properties that is currently being implemented by browsers, and that is giving us the ability to control hyphenation.
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  1. 4m 57s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 2s
  2. 1h 7m
    1. Exploring default styling
      4m 56s
    2. CSS authoring tools
      2m 29s
    3. CSS syntax
      4m 45s
    4. Writing a selector
      4m 10s
    5. Setting properties
      8m 40s
    6. Common units of measurement
      7m 47s
    7. Inline styles
      5m 1s
    8. Embedded styles
      5m 19s
    9. Using external style sheets
      10m 34s
    10. Checking for browser support
      8m 48s
    11. Dealing with browser inconsistencies
      5m 30s
  3. 2h 15m
    1. Structuring HTML correctly
      2m 51s
    2. Element selectors
      4m 52s
    3. Class selectors
      6m 4s
    4. ID selectors
      3m 27s
    5. Using classes and IDs
      10m 7s
    6. Element-specific selectors
      4m 35s
    7. The universal selector
      5m 42s
    8. Grouping selectors
      4m 49s
    9. Descendent selectors
      7m 32s
    10. Child selectors
      5m 7s
    11. Adjacent selectors
      5m 30s
    12. Attribute selectors
      12m 43s
    13. Pseudo-class selectors
      3m 54s
    14. Dynamic pseudo-class selectors
      8m 29s
    15. Structural pseudo-class selectors
      6m 45s
    16. Nth-child selectors
      13m 10s
    17. Pseudo-element selectors
      12m 40s
    18. Targeting page content: Lab
      8m 56s
    19. Targeting page content: Solution
      7m 59s
  4. 42m 39s
    1. What happens when styles conflict?
      4m 0s
    2. Understanding the cascade
      5m 47s
    3. Using inheritance
      6m 11s
    4. Selector specificity
      6m 55s
    5. The !important declaration
      4m 5s
    6. Reducing conflicts through planning
      3m 33s
    7. Resolving conflicts: Lab
      6m 45s
    8. Resolving conflicts: Solution
      5m 23s
  5. 1h 47m
    1. Setting a font family
      7m 10s
    2. Using @font-face
      9m 18s
    3. Setting font size
      7m 35s
    4. Font style and font weight
      6m 52s
    5. Transforming text
      3m 58s
    6. Using text variants
      2m 49s
    7. Text decoration options
      4m 26s
    8. Setting text color
      3m 2s
    9. Writing font shorthand notation
      8m 49s
    10. Controlling text alignment
      6m 33s
    11. Letter and word spacing
      9m 11s
    12. Indenting text
      4m 30s
    13. Adjusting paragraph line height
      10m 30s
    14. Controlling the space between elements
      6m 41s
    15. Basic text formatting: Lab
      8m 45s
    16. Basic text formatting: Solution
      7m 14s
  6. 2h 1m
    1. Understanding the box model
      16m 53s
    2. Controlling element spacing
      14m 29s
    3. Controlling interior spacing
      10m 49s
    4. Margin and padding shorthand notation
      6m 27s
    5. Adding borders
      8m 57s
    6. Defining element size
      10m 7s
    7. Creating rounded corners
      6m 58s
    8. Background properties
      2m 51s
    9. Using background images
      5m 10s
    10. Controlling image positioning
      10m 25s
    11. Using multiple backgrounds
      7m 5s
    12. Background shorthand notation
      5m 25s
    13. Styling container elements: Lab
      7m 55s
    14. Styling container elements: Solution
      8m 17s
  7. 47m 51s
    1. Color keyword definitions
      5m 4s
    2. Understanding hexadecimal notation
      6m 5s
    3. Using RGB values
      4m 58s
    4. Using HSL values
      5m 17s
    5. Working with opacity
      2m 23s
    6. Using RGBa and HSLa
      3m 8s
    7. Styling drop shadows
      5m 38s
    8. CSS gradients
      6m 32s
    9. Working with color: Lab
      4m 26s
    10. Working with color: Solution
      4m 20s
  8. 1m 58s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 58s

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CSS: Core Concepts
8h 49m Beginner Nov 22, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this hands-on course, James Williamson demonstrates the concepts that form the foundation of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), including styling text, adding margins and padding, and controlling how images display. The course also explores the tools needed to work with CSS, the differences between embedded and external styles, how to use selectors to target elements, and what to do when styles conflict.

Topics include:
  • Exploring default styling
  • Writing a selector
  • Setting properties
  • Working with common units of measurement, including ems and pixels
  • Structuring HTML correctly
  • Understanding the cascade and inheritance
  • Setting a font family, font size, text color, and more
  • Understanding the box model
  • Styling container elements
  • Working with RGB vs. HSL values
  • Styling drop shadows
Subject:
Web
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Controlling text alignment

To control text alignment with CSS, we use the text align property, with which we are limited to using one of four alignment options. So I have the alignment.htm file open here. And I am just going to preview this in a browser. I can see that there's a lot different going on than in one of our normal pages. I have got this bright yellow background. I have got the words Text alignment, and then we just have some paragraphs of text, although, the paragraphs of text do kind of describe what we are going to be doing here. We have got left alignment that we are going to be experiment with, right alignment, center alignment, justify, and then towards the end of the exercise, we are also going to take a look at one of the more experimental properties that is currently being implemented by browsers, and that is giving us the ability to control hyphenation.

So let's go back in to our code and see what we can do in regards to that. So if I scroll down into my text, I can see that these paragraphs have classes applied to them; left, right, center, justify, and as you can imagine, we're going to go ahead and write text alignment properties based on those classes. So right up there where it says, add styles here, we are just going to go ahead and do .left, so that's our class selector for this, and for that I am going to choose text-align left, so this is not a font-property.

This is a text-align property so test-align. Now left alignment is the default of most user agents out there, so most of the time unless you are trying to overwrite text alignment has already been applied, you probably won't need to do that. We are going to go ahead and do right, and we will do text-align right, after that we will do the class selector of center. And here we will do text-align center, and then at the bottom we will do, justify. Now as I write these selectors, I am taking a lot of syntax for granted, since we have been working so much within this title already.

Just remember, you always have to do your opening and closing curly braces, remember class selectors have their period in front of it, so don't forget those syntax lessons that we focused on, little bit earlier in the title. So here we are just going to do text-align: justify. So those are our keywords that we can use with text alignment. If I save this, go back to my browser and test it, you can see that we have Left alignment here, Right alignment here, Center alignment, and Justified text. And that's really about it. We don't have a lot of extra control over our text alignment, although changes are being made to this CSS specification that should give us greater control over our text alignment, specifically, justified text.

Really quickly, let's go take a look at hyphenation. So I am go back to my code and I am just going to go ahead, and move up to the paragraphs selector. I'll do this to all paragraphs, because we are just going to turn hyphenation on for the whole thing, and here I am going to type in hyphens and then use the auto keyword. So we do hyphens, we have several keywords that we can use, and I am just going to take you into the specification, to take a closer look at those. So I am going to go to the CSS Text Level 3 specification. You can find this at w3.org/TR/css3/text and I am just going to scroll down and find hyphenation, and notice that the only properties or the only keywords that we have are none, manual and auto.

None is basically the default, manual uses words that are only broken at line breaks, where there are characters inside the word that suggests line break opportunities. For example, a hyphen character. And then auto is up to basically the user agent to determine where appropriate hyphenation points are. Okay, so we use auto, so we want the user agent to determine what those breakpoints are. Now I want to point out something to you as well here. Our body selector has a width of 40%, so that means that if I go back to text alignment and refresh that, I don't see any hyphens right now, but if I resize this window, again, I'm getting absolutely no hyphens.

Oh it's broken, it doesn't work. Well, this is the life of using experimental CSS properties, properties that haven't been fully implemented across browsers yet. Most browsers when they start to implement properties like this will actually implement it using a vendor prefix first. So I am going to go back to my code here. Now the reason that they do this with the vendor prefixes, is so that if something significantly changes within the specification, it doesn't break any of your code that's written with default. Once the implementation is sort of solidified and agreed upon, we will go ahead and remove the vendor prefix, no harm, no foul for using this vendor prefixes, so as a designer, it's sort of gives you the ability to sort of experiment with this properties before they become fully implemented.

Okay, above this hyphens' property I am going to type in -moz, so that's the vendor prefix for Mozilla, so -moz-hyphens: and then I am also going to give that an auto and then for Webkit I am going to type in -webkit-hyphens:auto; and for Opera, I am going to do - o-hyphens and then auto. Now, not every one of these is supported, as a matter of fact, I don't think Opera supports hyphens yet. But Mozilla, I know that it does, so that if I save this and go back in the Firefox and refresh my page, now I am getting some hyphens look at that. Check it out.

And as I resize my page, my hyphens change, because the user agent is determining where the text should be hyphenated. So that's really cool. Let's see if it works in some of the other browsers. If I go to Opera, for example, no, no hyphenation in Opera yet, oh well, it's coming I am sure. And if I go to say Chrome, and try that, no, no hyphenation there either. So such is the life of dealing with experimental properties. But it's kind of fun to play with and you can go check those out.

So make sure you visit all of the sites, the Mozilla developer network site, the Opera site, the Safari developer site, to see kind of where those implementations are in the scheme of things. Also, I really recommend going back to the CSS Text Level 3 specification, because there's more than just hyphenation coming down in the pipe. We will notice that we have got text wrapping coming, of course, we have some additional alignment justification options coming, so you can sort of get a roadmap for the type of typographic control that we are going to have over our text alignment by going to this specification and sort of reading through it.

So again, alignment, pretty simple pretty cut and dried, we do have some capabilities coming down the pipe. Remember to use those vendor prefixes if you're working with any of those experimental properties, and if you do decide to use those, just understand that for the moment, browser support is kind of spotty, so don't expect it to work everywhere.

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