What Are Cascading Style Sheets?

Cascading style sheets (CSS) were developed in the mid- to late-1990s to give Web designers more control over the look of their Web pages.

A style sheet is a set of rules that tells the Web browser how to display the content on a Web page. Cascade refers to the ability to prioritize style sheets so if one set of rules conflicts with another, the browser knows which set to apply to each element of the Web page.

CSS and Web Design

CSS are located between the <head> </head> tags at the beginning of an HTML page, in an external file or within a single HTML element. They tell Internet browsers how each element of a Web page should display for end users.

What can you control with CSS?

  • Fonts families
  • Font size
  • Colors
  • Spacing between lines (leading)
  • Margins
  • Padding
  • And more

To begin using CSS in your Web pages, start by studying the default styles within different Internet browsers and the CSS in Web pages you consider well designed. Then, read our tutorial on how to create your own style sheet.