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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:

Example

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;
}
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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:

Example

.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;
}
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The same effect can be achieved by using the inline-block value of the display property (notice that no clear is needed):

Example

.floating-box {
    display: inline-block;
    width: 150px;
    height: 75px;
    margin: 10px;
    border: 3px solid #73AD21;
}
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