How to Use the CSS Padding Shorthand Property

Shorthand properties can take multiple values, allow you to write less code, and provide smaller files for the user to download. Find out how to use the CSS padding property as well as the margin property in these steps.

The margin and padding shorthand properties interpret values in the same way:

  • One value: All four sides are set uniformly.
  • Two values: The first value sets the top and bottom; the second value sets right and left.
  • Three values: The first value sets the top; second value sets both the right and left sides; and the third value sets the bottom.
  • Four values: Each value sets the top, right, bottom and left, respectively.

First let's start with the syntax:

  1. selector {
    padding: AllSides;
    selector {
    padding: TopAndBottom RightAndLeft;
    selector {
    padding: Top RightAndLeft Bottom;
    selector {
    padding: Top Right Bottom Left;
    The initial value for each margin and padding property is 0.
  2. Now check out the following example. This CSS demonstrates how you can use the shorthand properties for padding:
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <title>CSS Margin and Padding Shorthand</title>
    <style type="text/css" media="screen">
    div {
    	border: 1px solid black;
    	margin: .75em;
    } {
    	padding: 1em; /* sets the top, right, bottom and left padding to 1em. */
    div.two {
    	padding: 1em 2em; /* sets the top and bottom to 1em and the right and left padding to 2em. */
    div.three {
    	padding: 1em 2em 3em; /* sets the top to 1em, right and left to 2em, and bottom to 3em. */
    div.four {
    	padding: 1em 2em 3em 4em; /* sets the top to 1em, right to 2em, bottom to 3em, and left to 4em. */
    	<div class="one">One value set: A <code>padding</code> value of 1em for all four sides.</div>
    	<div class="two">Two values set: A <code>padding</code> value of 1em for the top and bottom, 2em for right and left.</div>
    	<div class="three">Three values set: A <code>padding</code> value of 1em for the top, 2em for right and left, 3em for bottom.</div>
    	<div class="four">Four values set: A <code>padding</code> value of 1em for the top, 2em for the right, 3em for the bottom, 4em for the left.</div>
    This code renders the following:
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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