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CSS - Display & Visibility

The display property specifies if/how an element is displayed, and the visibility property specifies if an element should be visible or hidden.

Hiding an Element - display:none or visibility:hidden

Hiding an element can be done by setting the display property to "none" or the visibility property to "hidden". However, notice that these two methods produce different results:

visibility:hidden hides an element, but it will still take up the same space as before. The element will be hidden, but still affect the layout.


h1.hidden {visibility:hidden;}

display:none hides an element, and it will not take up any space. The element will be hidden, and the page will be displayed as if the element is not there:


h1.hidden {display:none;}

CSS Display - Block and Inline Elements

A block element is an element that takes up the full width available, and has a line break before and after it.

Examples of block elements:

  • <h1>
  • <p>
  • <div>

An inline element only takes up as much width as necessary, and does not force line breaks.

Examples of inline elements:

  • <span>
  • <a>

Changing How an Element is Displayed

Changing an inline element to a block element, or vice versa, can be useful for making the page look a specific way, and still follow web standards.

The following example displays list items as inline elements:


li {display:inline;}