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Chapter 9. Cascading Style Sheets > The Elements of Styles

9.1. The Elements of Styles

At the simplest level, a style is nothing more than a rule that tells the browser how to display a particular HTML tag. Each tag has a number of properties associated with it, whose values define how that tag is rendered by the browser. A rule defines a specific value for one or more properties of a tag. For example, most tags have a color property, the value of which defines the color used to display that tag. Other properties include font attributes, line spacing, margins, and borders.

There are three ways to attach a style to a tag: inline styles, document-level styles, and external style sheets. You may use one or more style types in your documents. The browser either merges the style definitions from each style or redefines the style characteristic for a tag's contents. Styles from these various sources are applied to your document, combining and defining style properties that cascade from external style sheets through local document styles, ending with inline styles. This cascade of properties and style rules gives rise to the standard's name: Cascading Style Sheets.


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