How to Reset CSS Styles

Web browsers make certain assumptions that can sometimes interfere with layouts. Designers often have to undo or override these defaults. It has become a common practice to do so from the outset. This practice has come to be known as "resetting" styles.

A very simple reset that affects page layout is shown below:

* {
	margin: 0;
	padding: 0;
	border: 0;

Note the universal selector. This effectively does away with all margin, padding and border for every element including the body, headings, lists, and list items. It then becomes the designers responsibility (freedom?) to assign margin, padding and border.

The following screenshot shows a web page that uses the default browser styles without the CSS reset:
without reset

The following screenshot shows the same web page with a CSS reset applied:
with reset

Author: Chris Minnick

Chris Minnick, the co-founder of WatzThis?, has overseen the development of hundreds of web and mobile projects for customers from small businesses to some of the world’s largest companies. A prolific writer, Chris has authored and co-authored books and articles on a wide range of Internet-related topics including HTML, CSS, mobile apps, e-commerce, e-business, Web design, XML, and application servers. His published books include Adventures in Coding, JavaScript For Kids For Dummies, Writing Computer Code, Coding with JavaScript For Dummies, Beginning HTML5 and CSS3 For Dummies, Webkit For Dummies, CIW E-Commerce Designer Certification Bible, and XHTML.

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