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CSS Layout - display: inline-block

The display: inline-block Value

Compared to display: inline, the major difference is that display: inline-block allows to set a width and height on the element.

Also, with display: inline-block, the top and bottom margins/paddings are respected, but with display: inline they are not.

Compared to display: block, the major difference is that display: inline-block does not add a line-break after the element, so the element can sit next to other elements.

The following example shows the different behavior of display: inline, display: inline-block and display: block:


span.a {
  display: inline; /* the default for span */
  width : 100px;
  height: 100px;
  padding : 5px;
  border: 1px solid blue;
  background-color: yellow;

span.b {
  display: inline-block ;
  width: 100px;
  height: 100px ;
  padding: 5px;
  border: 1px solid blue;
  background-color: yellow;

span.c {
  display: block;
  width: 100px ;
  height: 100px;
  padding: 5px;
  border : 1px solid blue;
  background-color : yellow;

Using inline-block to Create Navigation Links

One common use for display: inline-block is to display list items horizontally instead of vertically. The following example creates horizontal navigation links:


.nav {
  background-color: yellow;
  list-style-type: none;
  text-align: center ; 
  padding: 0;
  margin: 0;

.nav li {
  display: inline-block;
  font-size: 20px ;
  padding: 20px ;