style (HTML element)

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<style media="media types" type="MIME type">


Styles can be applied in CSS at various levels. The first is to link to a style sheet using the link element. The next level is to embed a set of style rules at page level by placing them within a style element situated inside the head. (The other methods, to complete the picture, are to create inline styles using the style attribute, and user style sheets, which reside on the user’s hard drive.)

While this is not The SitePoint CSS Reference, it’s worth noting that as you apply a CSS style at each level in the order stated above, assuming the same selector syntax is used in each case, the more specific or lower-level style will override the style set at the higher level.

It’s possible to add comments within the style element, but note that the HTML comment syntax <!-- --> isn’t used—the correct syntax is /* Comment goes here */. In an XHTML document that’s served as XML (which uses the "application/xhtml+xml" MIME type), the contents of the style element should be identified as being character data:

<style type="text/css"><![CDATA[
  body {margin:0;}

Refer to the description of script for more information about comment syntax and the parsing of character data.


This page-specific style is embedded using the style element:

<style type="text/css">
  h2 {color:#000;}

Use This For …

You’re most likely to use the style element to override the styles set in a linked style sheet, like so:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="basic.css"/>
which contains the selector h2 {color:#066;}
<style type="text/css">
  /* override color set in main.css for this page only*/
  h2 {color:#000;}

It wouldn’t matter if the style block came first, and was followed by the linked style sheet. Regardless of the order in which the styles are set, the declaration in the style block trumps the identical one inside the linked .css file.

However, you don’t have to use style as an override facility alone—some people prefer to embed the style information on each page using a server-side include, as this approach ensures that all the style information is present and correct, and avoids the danger that a link to the style information may break. Note that this approach precludes you from gaining the benefit of having the content cached—a benefit you’d enjoy if the style sheet data were contained in an external style sheet.


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Every browser listed supports this element type.

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