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Styling menus with borders

From: CSS: Styling Navigation

Video: Styling menus with borders

Borders can add a great deal of flexibility to your menu styling. You can use them to indicate a current menu item, define the actual regions of your links, accent your links in multiple ways, or as we're going to do in this exercise, help create visual separation between the link elements. So we're going to be working once again on vertical.htm, this time from the 03_06 folder-- although we're really just sort of picking up from right where we left off again. All right, so in the last exercise we created a little bit of visual space using margins, and if I flip over to the browser, you can kind of see how this is working.

Styling menus with borders

Borders can add a great deal of flexibility to your menu styling. You can use them to indicate a current menu item, define the actual regions of your links, accent your links in multiple ways, or as we're going to do in this exercise, help create visual separation between the link elements. So we're going to be working once again on vertical.htm, this time from the 03_06 folder-- although we're really just sort of picking up from right where we left off again. All right, so in the last exercise we created a little bit of visual space using margins, and if I flip over to the browser, you can kind of see how this is working.

We've got a bottom-margin applied to all of these list items. The problem here, of course, is that the background color of the page is shining through, and that's not always going to be appropriate. So, what I'm going to do is I'm just going to come down, and I'm going to replace the bottom-margin here, and I'm going to do a border-bottom. So you're free, of course, to apply borders all the way around the links if you want to. But in terms of the way I want this particular menu to look, I just want a little bit of visual separation between each item. So here, we're going to do a very thin link, we're going to do 0.125 ems.

Now, don't worry too much about the math, the browser will do it for you. Just remember that 1 em is typically worth about 16 pixels based upon the default size of most browsers, so that's what I used to arrive at that particular value. Then I'm going to do solid-border, and then we'll do a color of white. So we'll go ahead and save that. Go back out to the browser, refresh the page. You can see the links are much tighter together now. The border is not quite as wide as the vertical margin that we had going on there before, but we still have a nice, clean separation or a visual indication of the difference between the links, which is perfect for what we're doing with this menu.

Now, one thing I do want to point out, you'll notice that we only applied the border on the bottom. If you did a border to both the top and the bottom, those two would combine to form a border that's twice as thick. So they wouldn't collapse as they came on the table, they would literally just butt right up against each other, and you would have two borders applied, instead of one. We're actually going to take advantage of that particular property a little bit later on when we create sort of a beveled effect on one of our menus. But for right now, just keep in mind that, that's the reason we only did the border on the bottom of it. We're using borders here to create a visual separation for links.

But I really want to encourage you to think about some of the other ways that you can use borders to enhance the styling of your menus. Also, keep in mind that borders are a part of the box model. So, any borders that you add are going to increase the width and the height of your menus. That's really important to remember when you're dealing with very tight layouts.

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This video is part of

Image for CSS: Styling Navigation
CSS: Styling Navigation

53 video lessons · 16989 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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