Cascading Style Sheets Level 2 Revision 1 (CSS 2.1) Specification

W3C Proposed Recommendation 12 April 2011

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Bert Bos <>
Tantek Çelik <>
Ian Hickson <>
Håkon Wium Lie <>

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This specification defines Cascading Style Sheets, level 2 revision 1 (CSS 2.1). CSS 2.1 is a style sheet language that allows authors and users to attach style (e.g., fonts and spacing) to structured documents (e.g., HTML documents and XML applications). By separating the presentation style of documents from the content of documents, CSS 2.1 simplifies Web authoring and site maintenance.

CSS 2.1 builds on CSS2 [CSS2] which builds on CSS1 [CSS1]. It supports media-specific style sheets so that authors may tailor the presentation of their documents to visual browsers, aural devices, printers, braille devices, handheld devices, etc. It also supports content positioning, table layout, features for internationalization and some properties related to user interface.

CSS 2.1 corrects a few errors in CSS2 (the most important being a new definition of the height/width of absolutely positioned elements, more influence for HTML's "style" attribute and a new calculation of the 'clip' property), and adds a few highly requested features which have already been widely implemented. But most of all CSS 2.1 represents a "snapshot" of CSS usage: it consists of all CSS features that are implemented interoperably at the date of publication of the Recommendation.

CSS 2.1 is derived from and is intended to replace CSS2. Some parts of CSS2 are unchanged in CSS 2.1, some parts have been altered, and some parts removed. The removed portions may be used in a future CSS3 specification. Future specs should refer to CSS 2.1 (unless they need features from CSS2 which have been dropped in CSS 2.1, and then they should only reference CSS2 for those features, or preferably reference such feature(s) in the respective CSS3 Module that includes those feature(s)).

Status of this document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at http://www.w3.org/TR/.

Publication as a Proposed Recommendation does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

Advisory Committee representatives are requested to review the document and fill the online form before 17 May 2011.

The (archived) public mailing list www-style@w3.org (see instructions) is preferred for discussion of this specification. When sending e-mail, please put the text “CSS21” in the subject, preferably like this: “[CSS21] …summary of comment…

This document was produced by the CSS Working Group (part of the Style Activity).

This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

The Working Group has created a test suite and an implementation report.

All changes since the previous Working Draft, the previous Candidate Recommendation and the previous Recommendation are listed in appendix C.

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