columns property is a shorthand property for setting multiple "column" related properties in one place.
columns property is a time-efficient way of coding your multi-column layouts.
Note that order is important. You must specify the values in the same order as listed in the Syntax section below.
- Defines the width that each column should be. Value can be either
autoor a fixed length (e.g.
120px). For more information on this value, see the
- Defines the number of columns in the multi-column element. For more information on this value, see the
In addition, all CSS properties also accept the following CSS-wide keyword values as the sole component of their property value:
- Represents the value specified as the property's initial value.
- Represents the computed value of the property on the element's parent.
- This value acts as either
initial, depending on whether the property is inherited or not. In other words, it sets all properties to their parent value if they are inheritable or to their initial value if not inheritable.
Basic Property Information
- Initial Value
- See individual properties
- Applies To
- non-replaced block-level elements (except table elements), table cells, and inline-block elements
- Yes (see example)
Working Example within an HTML Document
This example uses vendor prefixes for the multi-column layout due to lack of browser support for the official standard at the time of writing.
columnsproperty is defined in CSS Multi-column Layout Module (W3C Candidate Recommendation 12 April 2011).
The following table provided by Caniuse.com shows the level of browser support for this feature.
For maximum browser compatibility many web developers add browser-specific properties by using extensions such as
-webkit- for Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera (newer versions),
-ms- for Internet Explorer,
-moz- for Firefox,
-o- for older versions of Opera etc. As with any CSS property, if a browser doesn't support a proprietary extension, it will simply ignore it.
This practice is not recommended by the W3C, however in many cases, the only way you can test a property is to include the CSS extension that is compatible with your browser.
The major browser manufacturers generally strive to adhere to the W3C specifications, and when they support a non-prefixed property, they typically remove the prefixed version. Also, W3C advises vendors to remove their prefixes for properties that reach Candidate Recommendation status.
Many developers use Autoprefixer, which is a postprocessor for CSS. Autoprefixer automatically adds vendor prefixes to your CSS so that you don't need to. It also removes old, unnecessary prefixes from your CSS.
You can also use Autoprefixer with preprocessors such as Less and Sass.