Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

The !important declaration

From: CSS: Core Concepts

Video: The !important declaration

In addition to the cascade, inheritance, and specificity, there is one more CSS technique that can be used to resolve conflicts, and that is the important declaration. I like to call the important declaration the WMD of CSS. It doesn't matter what else is going on in your styles, in the event of a conflict, the important declaration wins, end of story. In fact, the only thing that can override an important declaration is another more specific important declaration, or some type of user-controlled style sheet. Let's try it out.

The !important declaration

In addition to the cascade, inheritance, and specificity, there is one more CSS technique that can be used to resolve conflicts, and that is the important declaration. I like to call the important declaration the WMD of CSS. It doesn't matter what else is going on in your styles, in the event of a conflict, the important declaration wins, end of story. In fact, the only thing that can override an important declaration is another more specific important declaration, or some type of user-controlled style sheet. Let's try it out.

I have the important.htm file open here. You can find this in the 03_05 folder. Again, very simple. We have a section of an ID of main content, a paragraph with the strong tag inside of it, so really, you know basically the same thing we had in the previous movie. I want to go back up to our styles here and after the existing paragraph selector, I'm going to type in mainContent p, and here we're just going to get a new color, green. Obviously, the paragraph was going to be red, but we know since this paragraph is inside of an ID with main content and we know that the selector is much more specific plus its placed in the cascade, we know pretty what's going to happen here. If we preview this in a browser, yes, indeed we get green text.

Okay, so nothing new there. I want to go down, however, into the actual code itself, and I'm going to apply an inline style here, so style equals, and inside that I'm just going to new color purple. So again save this, preview this, and exactly what we expected to happen. So we have got inheritance, we have got the cascade, we have got the inline styles going on here, and all of them are behaving exactly the way we expected them to. But remember, there is one rule to rule them all, and that is the important declaration.

If I go back up to my very first paragraph selector and after the property value red-- now I'm going to do this inside of the semicolon, but leave a little bit to whitespace between the property value and this-- I'm going to type in an exclamation point and the word important. So the exclamation point means you're serious, so hey, this is important. And that's really what this is saying: this is saying hey, this is the most important thing in the world regarding this property. So you need to overwrite everybody else. So if I save this and once again preview it, it goes right back to being red.

So irregardless of the cascade, irregardless of specificity, irregardless of the inline style, the important declaration wins, and it will win every single time. Of course this is an extremely useful tool to have. I really want to caution you about using this. Too many times, designers that are new to CSS and when they run into a styling conflict that they just can't seem to solve with their complex site, they will just throw the important declaration out there, knowing that it's going to apply the desired styling and solve any of the other conflicts, so they just kind of start doing that as a regular thing.

Now the problem with this is that pretty soon you're styling becomes littered with important declarations that makes your styles an absolute nightmare to maintain, and it's almost impossible for anybody following you and editing your code to track down any of those styling conflict, because you have those things overwriting everything else. I would even almost go as far as to recommend that you not even use it or that if you do use it, you think of it as like kind of a last resort. Now I'll be honest, in all of the years that I've styled sites with CSS I have never used it, not one time.

I have always found that there's always another way to solve conflicts. Now, I'm not saying that you should never use it, just that I personally have never had to. In some cases, such as like a user- interface-widget styling that you want to make sure it never gets overwritten and those user interface widgets might travel from site to site, I would say it's very acceptable to use it. I'm just saying that make sure you have a valid reason for using it and that you have documented its use in your CSS, so that it doesn't come back to haunt you later on.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for CSS: Core Concepts
CSS: Core Concepts

81 video lessons · 43546 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
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.

Join now Already a member? Log in

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

Congratulations

You have completed CSS: Core Concepts.

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


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

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

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

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:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
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.

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 lynda.com 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 lynda.com 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 lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com 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.