Web Style Sheets
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(This page uses CSS style sheets)

What's new?

What are style sheets?

Press clippings





"Hopefully, future Web innovations will emulate the example set by the Web Consortium in its work on CSS"

-- Jakob Nielsen

What's new?

What are style sheets?

Style sheets describe how documents are presented on screens, in print, or perhaps how they are pronounced. W3C has actively promoted the use of style sheets on the Web since the Consortium was founded in 1994. The Style Sheets Activity has produced two W3C Recommendations (CSS1 and CSS2) which are widely, although not consistently, implemented in browsers.

By attaching style sheets to structured documents on the Web (e.g. HTML), authors and readers can influence the presentation of documents without sacrificing device-independence or adding new HTML tags.

The easiest way to start experimenting with style sheets is to find a browser that supports CSS. Discussions about style sheets are carried out on the mailing list and on comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylesheets.

The W3C Style Sheets Activity is also developing XSL.

Why two Style Sheet languages?

Wondering which one to choose? Read "CSS & XSL"

The fact that W3C has started developing XSL in addition to CSS has caused some confusion. Why develop a second style sheet language when implementors haven't even finished the first one? The answer can be found in the table below:

Can be used with HTML? yes no
Can be used with XML? yes yes
Transformation language? no yes
Syntax CSS XML

The unique features are that CSS can be used to style HTML documents. XSL, on the other hand, is able to transform documents. For example, XSL can be used to transform XML data into HTML/CSS documents on the Web server. This way, the two languages complement each other and can be used together.

Both languages can be used to style XML documents.

CSS and XSL will use the same underlying formatting model and designers will therefore have access to the same formatting features in both languages. W3C will work hard to ensure that interoperable implementations of the formatting model is available.

A W3C Note on "Using XSL and CSS together" is available.

Press clippings


Information about the buttons at the bottom of this page is available on the button page and at the CSS validator.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet mechanism that has been specifically developed to meet the needs of Web designers and users.


DSSSL is a document tree transformation and style language in with many adherents in the SGML community. DSSSL resources on the Web:


W3C has launched a Working Group to develop the eXtensible Style Language (XSL). XSL builds on DSSSL and CSS and is primarily targeted for highly structured XML data which e.g. needs element reordering before presentation. For more information on XSL see the W3C XSL resource page.

Conferences, workshops, research

Dynamic HTML

Dynamic HTML is a term used to describe HTML pages with dynamic content. CSS is one of three components in dynamic HTML; the other two are HTML itself and JavaScript (which is being standardized under the name EcmaScript). The three components are glued together with DOM, the Document Object Model.

CSS Valid CSS!

Bert Bos, W3C Style Sheets Activity Lead
Last updated: $Date: 2009/10/07 08:04:14 $ GMT

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