Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

How To Use Default Browser Styles In Css

Default browser styles provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by James Williamson as par… Show More

CSS Fundamentals

with James Williamson

Video: How To Use Default Browser Styles In Css

Default browser styles provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by James Williamson as part of the CSS Fundamentals
please wait ...
Default browser styles
Video Duration: 3m 38s 3h 14m Beginner Updated Dec 13, 2011


Default browser styles provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by James Williamson as part of the CSS Fundamentals

View Course Description

This course contains a high-level overview of Cascading Style Sheets, while exploring the basic concepts, terminology, and tools of the language. Beginning with an exploration of CSS syntax, author James Williamson explains how CSS modifies text, borders, backgrounds, and color; demonstrates CSS and HTML integration; and contextualizes the current state of CSS. The course also tours some of the most popular CSS editors and frameworks and lists online tools and resources for further study. This course is for people who want a big-picture overview before taking hands-on courses.

Topics include:
  • Understanding basic selector types
  • Integrating CSS with HTML
  • Examining browser rendering differences
  • Exploring CSS specifications
  • Checking browser support
  • Understanding the box model
  • Adjusting margins and padding
  • Positioning elements
  • Exploring basic layout concepts
  • Understanding media queries
  • Introducing CSS3
  • Using CSS Reset

Default browser styles

Have you ever opened an HTML file that wasn't controlled by a style sheet? Chances are, if you have, that it looked something like this. Now I've also heard of this referred to as unstyled content. Now, while it certainly looks unstyled, that's not entirely accurate. Before authors were allowed to control HTML pages through Cascading Style Sheets, browsers had to have some way of displaying HTML content visually. Although the approaches among early browser manufacturers differed, essentially they all developed default style sheets that told the browsers how to display specific elements.

Although there are some differences from one browser to another, in general, all browser default style sheets will render a page similar to what you see here. When you write CSS, one of the things you are actually doing is overriding those default browser styles and replacing them with how you want the page to look. Remembering that is more important to web designers than you might think. If you forget about the browsers' default styles, it's really easy to miss a little bit of spacing on an element or some text formatting that makes your design or layout either look a bit off or not work at all.

Then you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find the error in your styles, rather than accounting for the default margins or styling of a specific element. How do I know that? Well, it's happened to me more than once. There is even a CSS technique designed specifically to counter this, called a CSS Reset, that we will talk more about later. In addition to dealing with a browser's default styling, you also have to understand one very important factor when writing CSS: the end user can overrule your styles any time they wish.

Now most visual designers cringe when they first hear this, but in reality there's some pretty smart thinking behind this. First off, let me demonstrate what I am talking about. I am going to be using Firefox, but almost all browsers have, to one degree or another, the amount of control over your content that I am going to show here. Note that in the Preferences I can choose the fonts that I want to use for my pages and what size the text should display. If I go into Advanced, I can even tell the browser to ignore this font that the site wants to use in favor of my own.

As you can see, that makes a huge difference in the design. If that's not enough control, I can tell a page to zoom in or zoom out on the content, or just the text, or even turn the pages styles off completely. So why do browsers give end users so much control? Well, mostly the reason is accessibility. Let's face it. Not every designer is a good designer. Often layouts break or don't display correctly. Other users might have disabilities that prevent them from seeing the page properly or colorblindness that makes low-contrast sites hard to read.

By allowing users to overwrite styles, increase the size of text, or just turn off style sheets, it's allowing users to access the page content the way that they want to. As a visual designer, that might be a bit hard to take it first, but on the web it's the content that really matters, not so much the design. As a graphic designer myself, that's hard to say, but remember that the main focus of graphic design is on communicating in ideas and information. So no matter what the context, content does matter.

Staying focused or making sure that you are overriding defaults styles correctly and making sure your accounting for your users' needs are very important aspects of web design, and incredibly important considerations when planning and writing your CSS.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about CSS Fundamentals .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: This course was updated on 12/13/2011. Can you tell me what has changed?
A: One movie called "Who is this course for?" was added to provide information on what you can expect to get from the course, depending on your level of familiarity with CSS.





Don't show this message again
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed CSS Fundamentals.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a Member and Create Custom Playlists

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of online learning video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Log in

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

You started this assessment previously and didn’t complete it.

You can pick up where you left off, or start over.

Resume Start over

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.