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What the heck is CSS Float Theory?

written by: pauldb28•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 2/28/2009

As a web site designer you may or may not have ever heard of this CSS technique that can add a little style to your web site. So what is CSS Float theory and how does it apply to you or your website?

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    What is the CSS float theory? In concept and in practice it’s a lot simpler than first glance. A CSS float isn’t something new. HTML 2.0 supports it, so almost all basic internet browsers can view and interrupt the code, meaning it’s compatible with almost all web browsers. It was originally intended as a way to get text to wrap around images in web browsers but the newer versions of HTML support image properties that now allow wrapping of text. So people soon forgot about this technique. The technique of using CSS float is great for giving a little pizzazz to your site that others won’t even know how to duplicate.

    The intent of this article is to give a basic overview of the CSS float theory. It is in no way a tutorial but more or less a place to get basic knowledge about a new tool you can use as a web site designer to create some style on your site. Basically using the CSS float option will allow you to take objects such as pictures, text and allow them to float next to or over top of other objects. When you float an object it becomes a box that you can move to any position you as the web site designer want to put it included adding other floaters that can be on the same page. You can move the float left or right, if they are too large to be on the same line the float will move to the next line. You don’t necessarily need to select a width but its good practice. You can use the float feature to float boxes for text or images, you can also add borders or background to the float as well. After all CSS is already used to manage formatting such as using CSS to manage backgrounds.

    Overall the CSS Float Theory is a long forgotten property of Cascading Style Sheets that can be used for a unique looking site. Remember it may sound convoluted and difficult but its just CSS. CSS is a simple language to learn and understand. All CSS can do is format the site. Don’t be scared of it!