CSS margin

The CSS margin property is shorthand for specifying margin width on all sides of an element.

It is classed as a "shorthand property" because it sets the margin-top, margin-right, margin-bottom and margin-left properties all in one place. In other words, you can use the margin property to set all four sides instead of using four separate properties.

You can provide the margin property with one value to set the margin on all four sides, or you can provide multiple values to set different values for each side of the box. Here's how that works:



This means that you can provide either a length value, a percentage value, or the auto keyword anywhere between one and four times inclusive. These values set the margin on each side as outlined above.

Possible Values

Here's an explanation of the accepted values.

Specifies the margin thickness as a length (for example 10px).

Specifies the margin thickness as a percentage of the width of the generated box's containing block (for example 10%).


On the A edge and C edge, the used value is 0. On the B edge and D edge, the used value depends on the available space after calculations have been made for the widths, heights, and margins.

More about the box edges below.

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 inherit or 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.

About A edge, B edge, C edge, and D edge

In CSS A edge, B edge, C edge, and D edge distinguish the four edges of a box. Which side of the box depends on the writing-mode and direction properties of the box's containing block, and map to the four sides as follows:

writing-mode of the containing block direction of the containing block A edge B edge C edge D edge
horizontal-tb ltr top right bottom left
rtl top left bottom right
vertical-rl, sideways-rl ltr right bottom left top
rtl right top left bottom
vertical-lr, sideways-lr rtl left bottom right top
ltr left top right bottom

When you use the auto keyword to set the margin, it takes this information into account.

General Information

Initial Value
Applies To
All elements except elements with table display types other than table-caption, table and inline-table
Yes (see example)

Official Specifications