The World Wide Web Consortium Issues Cascading Style Sheets Recommendation

CSS1 offers fast, easy way to manage web site look and feel

Press Release

Fact Sheet


For immediate release

Contact America:

The Weber Group
Hazel Kochocki <>
Stephanie Townsend <>
 +1 617 661-7900   
 +1 617 661-0024   (fax)

Contact Europe:

Andrew Lloyd & Associates
Ned Mitchell <>
 +33 1 43 22 79 56
Andrew Lloyd <>
 +44 127 367 5100    

CAMBRIDGE, MASS., USA -- December 17, 1996 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today issued a Recommendation for Web style sheets. The Recommendation - Cascading Style Sheets, level 1 (CSS1) - gives Web designers a robust set of tools to help them specify Web page presentation properties such as fonts, colors and margins. Through links, CSS1 allows a single style sheet to apply to all Web pages on a site and thereby dramatically simplifying Web site maintenance. Also, a style sheet can be put inside a Web document and in detail specify how the document is presented. W3C Members have reviewed the CSS1 specification and support its adoption by the industry.

Microsoft and other software vendors have products that support CSS1; Netscape, Adobe, SoftQuad and Grif are among the W3C Members who will be adding support for CSS1 in their upcoming software releases.

With Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) content providers do not have the control they have in print media over color, text indentation, positioning, and other aspects of style. Today CSS1 offers a powerful and manageable way for authors, artists and typographers to specify the visual presentation of an HTML document or collection of documents.

"The Web's main document format, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), was intentionally designed as a simple language that valued document structure over document presentation. However, with the commercialization of the Web, presentation of Web documents is becoming increasingly critical," said Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the W3C and creator of the World Wide Web. "CSS1 brings HTML authoring to the next level by effectively combining the structure and content of Web pages with powerful presentation capabilities. We look forward to the industry's further adoption of CSS1."

"CSS1 is a powerful tool. It can alter the look and feel of an entire web site simply by changing a single style sheet," said Håkon Lie, co-architect of CSS1. "CSS1 makes it very much easier to maintain a consistent style throughout the entire Web site. At the same time, CSS1 enables rich individual expressions that Web designers will appreciate."

Creative web designers have tried to bypass HTML's limitations by using images of text, which look like good typography but result in documents that cannot be searched, fed to speech synthesizers for visually impaired users, and do not print well. They have also used non-portable proprietary HTML extensions to gain control of spacing, and tables to simulate margins and indents. CSS1 allows designers to directly express the appearance they seek while retaining device-indepedent document structure, reusability, searchability and accessibility for the disabled.

"By separating the structure from the visual presentation of documents, we ensure the documents created today can also be displayed on the presentation devices of tomorrow," said Bert Bos, co-architect of CSS1. "HTML has become a universal storage format that will outlast current computers. CSS1, when used correctly, assures that documents can be preserved without sacrificing aesthetics on the Web."

It is expected that other specifications will build on CSS1 to provide support for Web fonts, speech style sheets, extended layout and printing capabilities. Also, W3C is actively working with its members to ensure that script-based applications can take advantage of style sheets. For example, a script attached to a Web page may dynamically alter properties, such as color, set in a CSS1 style sheet.

Please see attached fact sheet and testimonials document for additional information on CSS1.

About the World Wide Web Consortium

The W3C was created to develop common protocols that enhance the interoperability and promote the evolution of the World Wide Web. It is an industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date 156 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see

About the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science

Now in its third decade, MIT LCS is dedicated to the invention, development and understanding of information technologies expected to drive substantial technical and socio-economic change. The LCS has helped information technology grow from a mere curiosity to 10 percent of the industrial world's economies by its pioneering efforts in interactive computing, computer networking, distributed systems and public key cryptography. LCS members and alumni have started some thirty companies and have pioneered the Nubus, the X-Window System, the RSA algorithm, the Ethernet and spreadsheets.

For more information about the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, see

About the Instiut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique

INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, is a public-sector scientific institute charged with conducting both fundemental and applied research, and with transferring research results to industry. INRIA is made up of five Research Units located at Rocquencourt (near Paris), Rennes, Sophia Antipolis, Nancy and Grenoble. Areas of current research include information processing, advanced high speed networking, structured documents, and scientific computation.

For more information about INRIA, see

About Keio University

Keio University is one of Japan's foremost computer science research centers and universities. It is one of the oldest private universities in Japan, and has five major campuses around Tokyo. Keio University has been promoting joint research projects in cooperation with industry, government and international organizations, and is now becoming one of the research leaders for the network and digital media technology.

For more information on Keio University, see

For information on CSS1 in particular, see

Press Release

Fact Sheet