CSS Units

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CSS Units

CSS has several different units for expressing a length.

Many CSS properties take “length” values, such as widthmarginpaddingfont-size, etc.

Length is a number followed by a length unit, such as 10px2em, etc.


Set different length values, using px (pixels):

h1 {
  font-size: 60px;

p {
  font-size: 25px;
  line-height: 50px;

Try it Yourself »

Note: A whitespace cannot appear between the number and the unit. However, if the value is 0, the unit can be omitted.

For some CSS properties, negative lengths are allowed.

There are two types of length units: absolute and relative.

Absolute Lengths

The absolute length units are fixed and a length expressed in any of these will appear as exactly that size.

Absolute length units are not recommended for use on screen, because screen sizes vary so much. However, they can be used if the output medium is known, such as for print layout.

cmcentimetersTry it
mmmillimetersTry it
ininches (1in = 96px = 2.54cm)Try it
px *pixels (1px = 1/96th of 1in)Try it
ptpoints (1pt = 1/72 of 1in)Try it
pcpicas (1pc = 12 pt)Try it

* Pixels (px) are relative to the viewing device. For low-dpi devices, 1px is one device pixel (dot) of the display. For printers and high resolution screens 1px implies multiple device pixels.

Relative Lengths

Relative length units specify a length relative to another length property. Relative length units scales better between different rendering mediums.

emRelative to the font-size of the element (2em means 2 times the size of the current font)Try it
exRelative to the x-height of the current font (rarely used)Try it
chRelative to width of the “0” (zero)Try it
remRelative to font-size of the root elementTry it
vwRelative to 1% of the width of the viewport*Try it
vhRelative to 1% of the height of the viewport*Try it
vminRelative to 1% of viewport’s* smaller dimensionTry it
vmaxRelative to 1% of viewport’s* larger dimensionTry it
%Relative to the parent elementTry it

Tip: The em and rem units are practical in creating perfectly scalable layout!
* Viewport = the browser window size. If the viewport is 50cm wide, 1vw = 0.5cm.


Browser Support

The numbers in the table specify the first browser version that fully supports the length unit.

Length Unit
em, ex, %, px, cm, mm, in, pt, pc1.
vh, vw20.

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