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Replacing bullets with custom graphics

From: CSS: Formatting Visual Data

Video: Replacing bullets with custom graphics

Granted the built in options for styling an ordered list aren't much. Luckily however, there's a number of ways we can spice things up with custom markers. In this lesson I'll show you two different techniques. One, dead simple and another a bit more complex, but with more control. First, let's look at the pure CSS single property solution, list style image. As the name implies, the property will swap out the default marker, the bullet, for whatever image you specify.

Replacing bullets with custom graphics

Granted the built in options for styling an ordered list aren't much. Luckily however, there's a number of ways we can spice things up with custom markers. In this lesson I'll show you two different techniques. One, dead simple and another a bit more complex, but with more control. First, let's look at the pure CSS single property solution, list style image. As the name implies, the property will swap out the default marker, the bullet, for whatever image you specify.

As you can see by looking at line 44, I've added an ID of listStyleImage to my UL tag to make it easier to handle the CSS. Let's switch now to the CSS file. Here, near the bottom of the page,you can see I have a section for my listStyleImage rule. I'm just going to add the needed property and the URL value. And that property is again list hyphen, style, hyphen, image then I'll put in the key word URL followed by parenthesis and the path to the image, which is going to be dot, dot, slash images slash arrow.png.

Let me close this off with a semicolon. I'll save and head back to the browser. Let me click refresh. And there's our little orange arrows. Very easy and straightforward. Keep in mind though, that there's no real way to size the list image with CSS. So you need to make the image the proper size for your list items in whatever graphics program you're using. You should also be aware that the position of the bullet may vary from browser to browser. Something else you don't have power over.

Let's look at a different technique using background images. This method requires a bit more code but gives you tons more control. I've already started the process in the file called background-image.htm. Again, it's down around line 44. You can see that my UL tag now has an ID of background image. So, in the same CSS file, we're going to hone in on the background image rules now. Let's start on line 679 right now I just have the one rule and again I've specified that I want to select my ul tag with the background image ID.

You may notice I've zeroed out the left padding that's because I'm going to spcecify the padding in my next rule which will select the list item within the UL tag. Alright, we're ready to code our second rule. So, main content, UL background image, LI for list item. First, I'll set the list style type to none. Now I am going to bring in my background image. Again we're picking it up from the same URL ../images/arrow.png. These properties are applied just like you are putting a background image in a div.

After specifying the image, lets define the background position. I'll place it in the center, left. Now lets make sure it doesn't repeat, by using the no repeat value. Finally, lets set up our padding. Top is zero, right is zero, bottom is zero and the final value left, I'll set to one m. I'll save my changes, now let's go take a look at the finished product in the browser.

I have to open up the file. Again, we have a nice little bullet image finally tuned. And again there's our graphic images but this time we have a little bit more control over the actual placement. Custom images can definately bring a personalized style to your unordered list. All with a minimum of effort.

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CSS: Formatting Visual Data

21 video lessons · 8029 viewers

Joseph Lowery
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