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

What are media queries and how do they work?

From: WordPress: Building Responsive Themes

Video: What are media queries and how do they work?

At the heart of responsive design lies a specific type of CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets code, known as media queries. Media queries are conditional statements that tell the browser to use specific sets of styles depending on the size of the screen and other factors. Let's take a look at how simple media queries work and how to build them. What I am going to do here is add a simple media query to the style sheet of this theme. So, I'll go to where I have my theme stored inside my WordPress installation.

What are media queries and how do they work?

At the heart of responsive design lies a specific type of CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets code, known as media queries. Media queries are conditional statements that tell the browser to use specific sets of styles depending on the size of the screen and other factors. Let's take a look at how simple media queries work and how to build them. What I am going to do here is add a simple media query to the style sheet of this theme. So, I'll go to where I have my theme stored inside my WordPress installation.

It's under the WordPress installation, under wp-content/themes/Anaximander. If I scroll down here, we have the style.css file. I am going to open this in my text editor, which is Notepad++. You can open it in any text editor; it doesn't really make any difference. What I am going to do here is add a simple media query all the way at the bottom of the document, and that media query is going to change the font-family on the entire site when the screen is smaller than a certain size.

The first thing I need to do in a media query is to start a media query. It starts with an @ sign and then you say media. This is a media query. That's what it looks like. Then you set out the conditions that you want to apply. So, I'll say only screen because it should only apply to screens, so not print for instance, or other things. And then I say "and" because there are multiple conditions here. And then I will say (max-width: 900px).

So, what happens here is if the screen is a screen and the max-width is 900 pixels, meaning if it's anything smaller than or 900 pixels, then the following style would kick in. Then I create my style. And the style will be body, because this is going to be for the entire site, bracket, and then I'll put-in the actual style code, font-family: Georgia, Times, Times New Roman, serif.

So, this is a standard font- family that will change the font to the regular serif-type font. I'll close my style and then close by media query. And before I save it, I just want to show you what the site looks like right now. So this is the site. It has this specific Google font that we are using. And even if I resize it, you see that the font stays the same. Now let's see what happens when I save this. So, I save this new style sheet with the media query in it and reload my page, and then resize it again.

And you see, just when we hit the 900 pixel point, the fonts change. If we look at the code inspector, you can actually see this change happen. If I go to Computed Style here, you'll see this line here, font-family: Georgia, Times, Times New Roman. If I pull it out, it pops to Open Sans, Arial, Helvetica; if I pull it back in again, it switches to Georgia. So, you see the media query kicks in and changes a value.

What it's actually doing is serving up a new style that overrides the old style. So, you can use these types of media queries for pretty much anything in the style sheet. That means you can change colors, you can change font, you can change layout, any element. What you are doing is saying, in the following conditions, when you are on a screen and the screen is a certain size, use these styles. In any other situation, use other styles. Now that you see the structure of a simple media query, you will realize that to create media queries on your own, all you really need to know is CSS.

If you want to beef up on your CSS before you continue, you can go check out one of the other CSS courses right here in the lynda.com online training library. As you can see, by using media queries, you can create different styles for your pages depending on what size window or device the visitor is using. This allows you to design a site layout for any screen size and any scenario.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for WordPress: Building Responsive Themes
WordPress: Building Responsive Themes

39 video lessons · 17184 viewers

Morten Rand-Hendriksen
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 4m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 27s
    3. What you should know before watching this course
      1m 34s
  2. 8m 36s
    1. What is responsive design?
      4m 16s
    2. The different faces of WordPress on mobile
      1m 55s
    3. Exploring the finished Anaximander theme
      2m 25s
  3. 9m 38s
    1. Getting and installing the Anaximander theme
      1m 53s
    2. Configuring basic theme options
      7m 45s
  4. 23m 51s
    1. Deciding what screen sizes to design for
      4m 11s
    2. Thinking responsively: Designing for many different screen sizes
      6m 23s
    3. Visualizing content realignment for better markup
      4m 35s
    4. Designing menus
      4m 52s
    5. Adding responsive images and videos
      3m 50s
  5. 26m 8s
    1. What are media queries and how do they work?
      4m 18s
    2. Exploring CSS3, progressive enhancement, and graceful degradation
      3m 27s
    3. Understanding best practices for media queries
      3m 57s
    4. Creating a responsive frame
      5m 12s
    5. Customizing media queries with the Chrome Developer Tools
      5m 28s
    6. Taking device width into account
      3m 46s
  6. 11m 1s
    1. Resizing the site title and the description
      8m 22s
    2. Adding media queries to the header
      2m 39s
  7. 11m 22s
    1. Making the menu responsive
      3m 35s
    2. Creating a different menu design for small screens
      7m 47s
  8. 19m 22s
    1. Making a responsive single-post layout
      6m 11s
    2. Making images responsive
      4m 37s
    3. Making videos responsive by including FitVids
      8m 34s
  9. 7m 45s
    1. Making the sidebar responsive
      5m 10s
    2. Hiding sidebars on mobile
      2m 35s
  10. 7m 28s
    1. Dealing with footer widgets
      5m 11s
    2. Adding navigation links that return to the top of the page
      2m 17s
  11. 12m 54s
    1. Using FlexSlider to create a responsive slider
      6m 2s
    2. Creating a loop to show sticky posts in a featured slider
      6m 52s
  12. 24m 37s
    1. What is jQuery Masonry?
      3m 41s
    2. Installing jQuery Masonry
      4m 45s
    3. Configuring the index page with Masonry
      7m 0s
    4. Using CSS to finalize the Masonry layout
      6m 17s
    5. Adding media queries to the Masonry index
      2m 54s
  13. 9m 11s
    1. Exploring hidden features of the Anaximander theme
      5m 51s
    2. Where to go from here
      3m 20s

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.

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 WordPress: Building Responsive Themes.

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 preferencesfrom 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.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

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.