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Vertically aligning text

From: Dreamweaver CS4 with CSS Essential Training

Video: Vertically aligning text

Unlike horizontally aligning text, there is no vertical text align property. Now, there is the property vertical align, and because a lot of people aren't really sure exactly how it works, it's either usually misused or ignored entirely. It can in fact be used to help vertically align text. It just has to be used correctly. The vertical align property is designed to apply to inline elements or table cells. When used with inline elements, you can use keywords such as top, middle, and baseline, and you can also use computed length values and percentages.

Vertically aligning text

Unlike horizontally aligning text, there is no vertical text align property. Now, there is the property vertical align, and because a lot of people aren't really sure exactly how it works, it's either usually misused or ignored entirely. It can in fact be used to help vertically align text. It just has to be used correctly. The vertical align property is designed to apply to inline elements or table cells. When used with inline elements, you can use keywords such as top, middle, and baseline, and you can also use computed length values and percentages.

If you use it with table cells, you are limited to just those keywords. Another way to vertically align text is a method that we have already discussed, using line height. For single line text, line height centers the text inside the given value. If the line height equals the height of the container, your text will automatically be centered inside of it. This is a great way of centering vertical menu bars. In this exercise, we'll explore using both techniques to vertically align our text. So we are in the 05_08 file, and one of the first things I'm going to do is try to center my header text vertically within the header elements.

So I'm going to go to my CSS Styles panel, and I'm going to click #header. Now, I notice that #header has a height of 5ems. Now, if I want to let my line height drive that, I need to remove this property. So I'm going to choose the height property, and then click the Trash Can to get rid of it. Of course the header now collapses into the h1 tag. So let's reset that height using line height. So grabbing the #header h1, I'm going to add a property, and I'm going to add line-height, and I'm going to set that to 5ems.

Now, when I do that, it recessed the height of the header to 5ems. Now the text is vertically centered within the element. That's a really cool way of not only setting the height of something, but centering the text inside of it. Now, if our header were multiple lines, this wouldn't work quite as well for a single line header or element that works perfectly. Now, I'm going to do the same thing with our footer. If I scroll down, I can see that my paragraph footer is more or less centered vertically in that. I just need to make that a little bit taller. So I'm going to go down and find #footer p, and I'm going to add the line-height property to that and this time, we are going to go ahead and give this a line-height of 3ems.

So now again, it's vertically centered within that and a good bit taller. We are going to go do a Save All and preview that in our browser. The nice thing is by using ems for height here, we are making it relative to the size of the text itself. That way even though it's vertically centered in that, it's always going to relate to the height of the element. Now, if I scroll up just a little bit more, I can see that I have a headline that says Please Center the 2nd Heading. I would really like to use an ordinal for the nd rather than just the nd that I have here.

Now, there are some structural XHTML tags that I want to talk about here. You have the SUP or superscript tag and the SUB, which is the subscript tag. Those will move your text up or down on the baseline, based on a super or subscript text. Now, structurally, if you want to use those, those are great, but in terms of just rendering in the browser itself, you are not in control of how far up it's going or how far down it's going or how the text is resized. A lot of times you are not going to be happy with the visual results.

So if you would rather control that manually, you can write a class selector to change that or you can zero out what's happening with the superscript or subscript tags and add your own measurements. We are going to go the route of using a class selector. I am going to create a new CSS rule. This is going to be a class, so make sure you choose that from this menu, and I'm going to type in .ordinal. So remember that period precedes every single class selector, so a .ordinal. I'm going to define that in main.css and click OK. Now, there's a couple of things we want to do here.

For font-size, I'm going to type in 60%. So that's going to be 60% of whatever the parent element is. In this case that will be whatever heading or whatever paragraph that's inside of. The next thing I want to choose is Letter-spacing. So I'm going to go to my Block category, and for Letter-spacing, I'm going to tighten this up a little bit, I'm going to do -0.05em. So that's just going to pull those letters together a little bit tighter. Just underneath that is the vertical- align property that we are going to be using.

Now, again, I have these keywords, baseline, sub, super, top, text-top, and you could those, but again, you are relying on the browser's default settings for those. So I want to take a little bit more active control over that and I'm going to type in 50%, so that's going to shift it up the baseline by 50% of its value. So we are going to go ahead and click OK, and now we need to apply it. So I have got the nd in 2nd highlighted, and using the HTML part of the Properties Inspector, I'm going to grab the Class pull-down menu, and choose ordinal.

When I do that, it looks like it didn't work, but that's just because the Dreamweaver rendering environment isn't always 100% accurate. So I'm going to do a Save All, and preview that in my browser. Indeed, now I can see that I have a nice placement of the ordinal using that vertical-align property. While these techniques help us when vertically aligning our text, they won't work in all instances. For example, vertical aligning block level elements is considerably trickier, and we are going to have to tackle that next.

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This video is part of

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Dreamweaver CS4 with CSS Essential Training

120 video lessons · 41639 viewers

James Williamson
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  1. 7m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 18s
    2. Do I need to know CSS to use Dreamweaver?
      2m 15s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    4. Setting up a custom workspace
      2m 47s
  2. 1h 2m
    1. Separating structure from presentation
      4m 14s
    2. Adding meaning with ID and class attributes
      7m 50s
    3. Understanding basic selectors
      11m 10s
    4. Understanding complex selectors
      11m 21s
    5. Examining the Cascade
      10m 16s
    6. Understanding order of inheritance
      5m 2s
    7. Understanding specificity
      5m 43s
    8. Using Dreamweaver to resolve conflicts
      7m 4s
  3. 52m 48s
    1. Working with starter pages
      2m 1s
    2. Defining fixed, elastic, liquid, and hybrid
      6m 3s
    3. Understanding starter page structures
      6m 25s
    4. Modifying CSS globally
      8m 58s
    5. Moving CSS between files
      12m 31s
    6. Preparing custom starter pages
      10m 9s
    7. Creating custom starter pages
      6m 41s
  4. 1h 25m
    1. Designing with CSS in mind
      3m 13s
    2. Using Fireworks to create site prototypes
      2m 41s
    3. Defining page structure
      8m 52s
    4. Creating the initial layout
      10m 24s
    5. Page creation and asset sharing
      11m 20s
    6. Using common libraries to create site prototypes
      5m 11s
    7. Building interactive prototypes
      17m 6s
    8. Optimizing images in Fireworks
      11m 47s
    9. Exporting web graphics from Fireworks CS4
      2m 43s
    10. Exporting interactive prototypes
      3m 11s
    11. When to export XHTML and CSS from Fireworks CS4
      8m 34s
  5. 48m 28s
    1. CSS workflows in Dreamweaver
      1m 17s
    2. Using the CSS Styles panel
      5m 12s
    3. Setting CSS preferences
      9m 50s
    4. Understanding Dreamweaver's CSS visual aides
      3m 50s
    5. The Code Navigator
      6m 5s
    6. Controlling CSS with the Properties Inspector
      8m 52s
    7. Using Related Files
      4m 35s
    8. Working with Live view
      4m 12s
    9. Working with the Reference panel
      4m 35s
  6. 1h 13m
    1. Declaring font families
      4m 57s
    2. Creating custom font family declarations in Dreamweaver
      6m 0s
    3. Understanding units of measurement
      6m 14s
    4. Controlling font sizing
      8m 41s
    5. Controlling line spacing
      7m 20s
    6. Controlling vertical margins
      7m 52s
    7. Horizontally aligning text
      3m 16s
    8. Vertically aligning text
      5m 30s
    9. Vertically centering block-level elements
      10m 31s
    10. Setting column width
      3m 33s
    11. Using font shorthand notation
      9m 15s
  7. 1h 10m
    1. Background properties
      4m 33s
    2. Using background images
      5m 16s
    3. Controlling background image tiling
      5m 33s
    4. Positioning background images
      4m 42s
    5. Using percentage values for positioning
      5m 10s
    6. Creating custom list bullets
      5m 23s
    7. CSS drop shadows
      7m 40s
    8. Image replacement techniques
      7m 24s
    9. Adding screen-only content
      7m 51s
    10. Complex background graphics
      9m 10s
    11. Using CSS Sprites
      8m 0s
  8. 38m 48s
    1. Reviewing table tag structure
      4m 48s
    2. Using thead and tbody for styling
      5m 45s
    3. Styling table captions
      4m 30s
    4. Styling headers
      8m 29s
    5. Styling table content
      4m 18s
    6. Creating alternating row colors
      3m 29s
    7. Using pseudo-class selectors for tables
      2m 27s
    8. Creating custom table borders
      5m 2s
  9. 43m 37s
    1. Examining form structure
      3m 26s
    2. Styling fieldset and legend elements
      7m 42s
    3. Styling form elements globally
      6m 31s
    4. Using classes to identify form elements
      5m 55s
    5. Styling user feedback
      6m 10s
    6. Adding user interaction
      2m 52s
    7. Styling Spry form validation fields
      11m 1s
  10. 44m 48s
    1. Using lists for navigation
      1m 40s
    2. Creating horizontal menus pt. 1: Stripping list styling
      3m 28s
    3. Creating horizontal menus pt. 2: Displaying links horizontally
      3m 54s
    4. Creating horizontal menus pt. 3: Styling links
      5m 25s
    5. Creating horizontal menus pt. 4: Rollovers
      3m 48s
    6. Creating horizontal menus pt. 5: Indicating current page
      3m 48s
    7. Creating horizontal menus pt. 6: Modifying cursor usage
      2m 11s
    8. Creating horizontal menus pt. 7: Positioning menus
      3m 8s
    9. Styling vertical menus pt. 1: Vertical menu considerations
      6m 42s
    10. Styling vertical menus pt. 2: Defining width for link elements
      4m 46s
    11. Styling vertical menus pt. 3: Using background graphics with navigation
      5m 58s
  11. 1h 40m
    1. Box model review
      7m 4s
    2. Understanding margin collapse
      7m 15s
    3. Reviewing normal document flow
      11m 0s
    4. Understanding floating
      8m 56s
    5. Containing and clearing floats
      9m 26s
    6. Understanding relative positioning
      5m 30s
    7. Understanding absolute positioning
      5m 29s
    8. Understanding the AP Elements panel
      11m 57s
    9. Understanding fixed positioning
      2m 24s
    10. Using Dreamweaver to define document structure
      10m 11s
    11. Creating a two-column layout
      17m 1s
    12. Using Dreamweaver's Design-Time style sheets
      3m 49s
  12. 28m 59s
    1. Introducing Spry widgets
      2m 18s
    2. Updating the Spry framework
      45s
    3. Examining the default Spry styles
      6m 36s
    4. Modifying tabbed panels through CSS
      5m 18s
    5. Styling Spry widgets
      8m 49s
    6. Organizing Spry style sheets
      5m 13s
  13. 34m 49s
    1. Creating print style sheets
      2m 57s
    2. Assigning media types
      3m 29s
    3. Styling type for print
      9m 21s
    4. Suppressing element printing
      3m 29s
    5. Controlling page breaks
      8m 39s
    6. Using @media blocks
      3m 5s
    7. Creating alternative style sheets
      3m 49s
  14. 35m 22s
    1. Using Dreamweaver's Browser Compatibility Check
      3m 58s
    2. Fixing code errors with Adobe's CSS Advisor
      4m 45s
    3. Strategies for browser compatibility
      5m 8s
    4. Implementing browser compatibility
      8m 18s
    5. Formatting code for deployment
      3m 15s
    6. Creating modular style sheets
      3m 38s
    7. Assembling modular style sheets
      6m 20s
  15. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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