The CSS reference

"position" - css property (v. css 2)

  • To specify the type of positioning for an element.
  • The 'position' and 'float' properties determine which of the CSS 2.1 positioning algorithms is used to calculate the position of a box.
  • Initial value: static
  • The property is not inherited
  • HTML usage: all elements
  • Browsers that support the position - property :
    Internet Explorer Mozilla Firefox Opera Google Chrome Apple Safari

Possible position values:

value Comments CSS
static The box is a normal box, laid out according to the normal flow. The 'top' , 'right' , 'bottom' , and 'left' properties do not apply. 2
relative The box's position is calculated according to the normal flow. The effect on table-row-group, table-header-group, table-footer-group, table-row, table-column-group, table-column, table-cell, and table-caption elements is undefined. 2
absolute The box's position (and possibly size) is specified with the 'top' , 'right' , 'bottom' , and 'left' properties. These properties specify offsets with respect to the box's containing block. Absolutely positioned boxes are taken out of the normal flow. 2
fixed The box's position is calculated according to the 'absolute' model, but in addition, the box is fixed with respect to some reference. Normally the box is fixed with respect to the viewport (a window or other viewing area on the screen) and does not move when scrolled. 2
inherit Will inherit the value from parent specification. 2

The three properties that affect box generation and layout interact as follows:

display value position value float value Comments
'none' Based on display value UA should ignore this Based on display value UA should ignore this The element generates no box
Based on position value: se table below. 'absolute' or 'fixed' Based on position computed value to be 'none' The position of the box will be determined by the 'top' , 'right' , 'bottom' and 'left' properties and the box's containing block.
Computed value: se table below. 'static' or 'relative' other than 'none' The box is floated.
Computed value: se table below. The element is the root element.
Apply as specified. All other cases.

Computed value based on specified value for display property under certain conditions:

Specified value Computed value
inline-table table
inline, run-in, table-row-group, table-column, table-column-group, table-header-group, table-footer-group, table-row, table-cell, table-caption, inline-block block
others same as specified

Property "position" example:

<html  >
    <script type="text/javascript" >
    <style   type="text/css">
      div { position:absolute;
            height: 100px;
            width:  100px; }
      .d0 { background-color: #FFFFDD;
            height: 200px;
            width:  200px; }
      .d1 { background-color: #d6d6d6;
            bottom: 10px;
            left: 20px;}
      .d2 { background-color: #aad5ff;
            top: 20px;
            right: 10px;}
    <body >
      <div class="d0" >
      This is the outer div text.
      <div class="d2" >
        This div has top: 20px; and right: 10px;
      <div class="d1" >
        This div has bottom: 10px; and left: 20px;

Javascript access:

// To SET values ([o] is the target object)
[o].style.position="position value"
// To GET values you must first get the computed style object
// To get that object in IE or Opera:
var cStyle=[o].currentStyle;
// To get that object in Firefox, Chrome or Safari (w3c-type):
var cStyle=window.getComputedStyle([o],null)
// To GET the property value:;
var value=cStyle.position;
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