CSS 100% height with padding/margin – Dev

The best answers to the question “CSS 100% height with padding/margin” in the category Dev.

QUESTION:

With HTML/CSS, how can I make an element that has a width and/or height that is 100% of it’s parent element and still has proper padding or margins?

By “proper” I mean that if my parent element is 200px tall and I specify height = 100% with padding = 5px I would expect that I should get a 190px high element with border = 5px on all sides, nicely centered in the parent element.

Now, I know that that’s not how the standard box model specifies it should work (although I’d like to know why, exactly…), so the obvious answer doesn’t work:

#myDiv {
    width: 100%
    height: 100%;
    padding: 5px;
}

But it would seem to me that there must be SOME way of reliably producing this effect for a parent of arbitrary size. Does anyone know of a way of accomplishing this (seemingly simple) task?

Oh, and for the record I’m not terribly interested in IE compatibility so that should (hopefully) make things a bit easier.

EDIT: Since an example was asked for, here’s the simplest one I can think of:

<html style="height: 100%">
    <body style="height: 100%">
        <div style="background-color: black; height: 100%; padding: 25px"></div>
    </body>
</html>

The challenge is then to get the black box to show up with a 25 pixel padding on all edges without the page growing big enough to require scrollbars.

ANSWER:

There is a new property in CSS3 that you can use to change the way the box model calculates width/height, it’s called box-sizing.

By setting this property with the value “border-box” it makes whichever element you apply it to not stretch when you add a padding or border. If you define something with 100px width, and 10px padding, it will still be 100px wide.

box-sizing: border-box;

See here for browser support. It does not work for IE7 and lower, however, I believe that Dean Edward’s IE7.js adds support for it. Enjoy 🙂

ANSWER:

I learned how to do these sort of things reading “PRO HTML and CSS Design Patterns”. The display:block is the default display value for the div, but I like to make it explicit. The container has to be the right type; position attribute is fixed, relative, or absolute.

.stretchedToMargin {
  display: block;
  position:absolute;
  height:auto;
  bottom:0;
  top:0;
  left:0;
  right:0;
  margin-top:20px;
  margin-bottom:20px;
  margin-right:80px;
  margin-left:80px;
  background-color: green;
}
<div class="stretchedToMargin">
  Hello, world
</div>

Fiddle by Nooshu’s comment

ANSWER:

The better way is with the calc() property. So your case would look like:

#myDiv {
    width: calc(100% - 5px);
    height: calc(100% - 5px);
    padding: 5px;
}

Simple, clean, no workarounds. Just make sure you don’t forget the space between the values and the operator (eg (100%-5px) that will break the syntax. Enjoy!

ANSWER:

The solution is to NOT use height and width at all! Attach the inner box using top, left, right, bottom and then add margin.

.box {margin:8px; position:absolute; top:0; left:0; right:0; bottom:0}
<div class="box" style="background:black">
  <div class="box" style="background:green">
    <div class="box" style="background:lightblue">
      This will show three nested boxes. Try resizing browser to see they remain nested properly.
    </div>
  </div>
</div>