8.1 Box dimensions

Each box has a content area (e.g., text, an image, etc.) and optional surrounding padding, border, and margin areas; the size of each area is specified by properties defined below. The following diagram shows how these areas relate and the terminology used to refer to pieces of margin, border, and padding:

Image illustrating the relationship between content, padding, borders, and margins.   [D]

The margin, border, and padding can be broken down into top, right, bottom, and left segments (e.g., in the diagram, "LM" for left margin, "RP" for right padding, "TB" for top border, etc.).

The perimeter of each of the four areas (content, padding, border, and margin) is called an "edge", so each box has four edges:

content edge or inner edge
The content edge surrounds the rectangle given by the width and height of the box, which often depend on the element's rendered content. The four content edges define the box's content box.
padding edge
The padding edge surrounds the box padding. If the padding has 0 width, the padding edge is the same as the content edge. The four padding edges define the box's padding box.
border edge
The border edge surrounds the box's border. If the border has 0 width, the border edge is the same as the padding edge. The four border edges define the box's border box.
margin edge or outer edge
The margin edge surrounds the box margin. If the margin has 0 width, the margin edge is the same as the border edge. The four margin edges define the box's margin box.

Each edge may be broken down into a top, right, bottom, and left edge.

The dimensions of the content area of a box — the content width and content height — depend on several factors: whether the element generating the box has the 'width' or 'height' property set, whether the box contains text or other boxes, whether the box is a table, etc. Box widths and heights are discussed in the chapter on visual formatting model details.

The background style of the content, padding, and border areas of a box is specified by the 'background' property of the generating element. Margin backgrounds are always transparent.

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