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Old 02-25-2007, 10:36 AM   #9
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Manchester, NH
Posts: 65


As a follow-up: I'm having some trouble understanding just how centering works with CSS. I thought it worked like this: if a block element such as <div> or <p> has the text-align property set to "center," then everything in the block gets centered relative to the parent element. Then if some child block element contained a different text-align value, such as "left", the contents of that element would be aligned left within the centering. That is, if I do this:

<div style="text-align:center;">
<p style="width:75%;text-align:left;">
a paragraph of text goes here

then the result should be a block of text that is left-justified within a larger centered block, which automatically adjusts itself to match the size of the screen. In other words, it should look like an ordinary paragraph of text with large left and right margins. The same as if I had entered this:

<table align="center" width="75%">
a paragraph of text goes here

But that isn't what I actually get. The centered-using-tables version works as I expect. The centered-using-CSS code works as I expect in Explorer, but in Firefox it left-aligns the paragraph with the page lefthand margin, as if the outer centered element wasn't there at all.

I suppose I could use percentage left and right margins to achieve the same result, but that's ugly and inelegant and defeats half my purpose, which is to learn how to write HTML/CSS code the way I used to write program code: short and sweet and simple, so anyone who looks at it can understand right away what it does and how.

So, how does centering really work? To what extent can you nest text alignment, and what's the right sequence of CSS styles to do it? Or am I better off using the ugly "percentage margins" approach?
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