Почему не работает margin 0 auto
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Почему не работает margin 0 auto

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Почему margin не работает?


Генрих Ройзман, синтаксис CSS смотрели внимательно? Зачем тут ; ? Самые азы:



Генрих Ройзман, что вы ожидаете увидеть, скажите, пожалуйста? Я убрал у body ненужный margin auto и поставил его для .container. Все работает так, как и должно:





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Уточняю, что margin: 0 auto; — это не неправильная запись. А лишь более полная, которая говорит, что margin-top и margin-bottom имеют значение 0, т. е. задает автоматические отступы только по горизонтали.

Может быть полезно в ряде случаев. Ну и более того, обычно так принято писать, чтобы выровнять горизонтально типичный блочный элемент в обычном контексте. Иначе при ряде обстоятельств можем получить ненужное выравние и по вертикали.

У некоторых версий IE11, кстати, есть проблема с пониманием margin: auto в любом контексте из-за бага с работой auto для вертикальных отступов, поэтому там для горизонтального выравнивания будет работать именно margin: 0 auto .

When and Why margin auto Does not Work in CSS

In this post, we will explain when and why margin auto does not work in CSS.

What is margin Property?

CSS “margin” property is used to create vacant space around the element, which could be from left, right, top, and bottom. The defined space always takes place outside of the selected HTML element.


The value “length” refers to the margin of elements, which can be specified into rem, pt, px, and in other units. Value “auto” allows the browser to adjust the margin.

To overview the margin property deeply, you can check out this dedicated article.

When and Why margin auto Does not Work in CSS?

Each HTML element has a display type by default, one is “block”, and the other is “inline”. In HTML, some are block level elements, and some are inline elements by default. Block level elements have predefined 100% width, while inline elements have no predefined width or padding.

Block Type HTML Element
Here in our HTML file, two “<p>” tags that have been defined with some text within the body section:

The display value as block will be applied by default to <p> element and it will consume the 100% width as shown below:

Now, let’s add the “margin” property with “auto” value to our block type element <p> along the “width” of “50px”:

After saving the mentioned code, notice that the predefined width has been overridden with 50px and margin auto has adjusted the element into the center:

Let’s move ahead toward inline type HTML elements.

Inline Type HTML Element
As the below image shows that when we have declared some text within <span> tags, they did not consume any space; it is only because the inline display value has been applied by default on this element:

Now, if we will apply the width property or margin property with auto value on the span element. As a result, no effects will take place. Because when the display inline is applied, it makes the element bound to consume only the space that exists within its tags.

Bonus Tip

If the display property for an element is set to inline by default, you can override it by specifying the value block of the display property by yourself.

Have a look below at the explained example.

Let’s intentionally use an element with predefined inline value, such as <span>:

In the next step, utilize the display property along the value “block”. Set the width to 50px and margin to auto as explained:


We have elaborated on when and why margin auto does not work in CSS.


The margin auto does not work with elements that have inline display by default, such as span. Only the elements with predefined display block work with auto margin. However, you can override the inline behavior of an element and make it behave like a block type element. This article discussed why and when margin auto does not work within CSS.

Why margin:auto doesn't work? [duplicate]

If your want it works, you should give a fixed width, and set display:block or display:inline-block .

For margin auto to work you need to have a width on the item.

You’re displaying your articles inline. Only block elements can be centered by setting their margins to auto . So you need to make them block level elements for margin: auto to work.

Your main section tag has a width of 100% by default. So you can’t center it if it already fills the screen. So you need to make the width less then 100% for margin: auto to work.

Fixing CSS margin auto not working issues

CSS margin auto not centering your content? Check out these possible solutions to resolve your issue!

Jan 8, 2023 | Read time 12 minutes

�� Table of contents


A common CSS trick to center a element within its parent is using the margin:auto property. For example, in the below, we can center the element of a class of .child with 500px within its parent element using the margin: 0 auto property:

To issues with margin: auto not working in CSS, you need to make sure that the element you are trying to center has a width and placed in a valid parent element with defined width. If the element still isn’t being centered as expected, you should check for any conflicting styles that might be overriding the margin: auto rule. You can also try using the text-align: center property on the parent element to center the child element. We can use different methods for centering the element, such as using absolute positioning or using flex.

How does margin:auto work?

We can center elements by using the margin auto property.

According to the specs, https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/CSS/margin, margin is a shorthand CSS property that is supposed to replace the four:

  • margin-left,
  • margin-right,
  • margin-top,
  • margin-bottom

So we can set margin without explitly writing out the above four properties like so:

The auto keyword just tells the browser to set the suitable margin to use for that element. Commonly used to center a element within its containing parent element!

1. Check for display:block

The most common reason why using margin:auto is not working for your designs is that the element’s display property is inline. This applies to elements like <span> , <strong> , <em> , etc.

With inline elements, they do not inherently have a width and therefore using margin auto will not work. This is setting margin:auto we are telling the browser to center a element based on the width.

To fix this, we just need to explicitly set the display CSS property to display:block . Any value that is not inline should work — eg display:inline-block, display:table, etc

Consider the following HTML structure:

Now the above will not work, because <span> by default is a inline display ( display:inline ) and therefore cannot set the width. To fix this, we need to change it over to display:block and set the width.

(Note: we can also use min-width here)

Tip: Consider using display:inline-block

Using display:inline-block is considered the sweetspot between trying to keep a element inline, but still able to control the width of the element!

2. Check for float CSS property

One thing to check is that we are not using the float property somewhere in our CSS stying. Adding float to a element removes it from the normal flow of the document. It allows you to place elements left or right side of a containing element and lets the text wrap around it.

Since margin:auto tells the browser to adjust margins based on the width, having something float will not work since the element will be outside of the control flow!

Consider the following HTML structure, we have a parent element and accidentally placed a float:right on the child element:

In the above, even when we have margin:0 auto , adding a float:right will move the element outside of the normal document flow (ignoring margin auto calculations) and places it on the very right side of the parent container!

3. Check the element for a width value

To make sure that margin:auto is centering your elements correctly, we need to check that the element contains a explicit width property.

Consider the below HTML structure. We have a two divs — a parent div with .container class and we want to center the child div with CSS class .content .

The above will not work because margin:auto relies on the width of the element. With <DIV> elements, they have default of 100% width. So the parent element will be 100% of the page, and the child element ( .content ) will also have 100% width of the parent.

To fix this we need to add a width value for the DIV with the .content CSS class:

4. Check for conflicting styles

A common problem that you can encounter is using margin:auto on one styling can be overwritten by another style.

In this case, we need to check the specifity of the element you are trying to style.

For example, you could have a styling that is more specific or using the !important keyword.

Lets consider the following example. We want to make the child of a .container DIV font to have color of red:

Our CSS can have multiple

The above will not work, since the DIV with .content class got a inline style. Inline stylings has higher specitivity than CSS class selectors. So in this case, the margin:auto will not be applied, but the margin:1rem in the inline style — eg <div style=»margin:1rem»>XXX</div>

What is CSS specificity?

Specificity is how browsers decide on which style to apply to which element. Based on the CSS selector is an order in which styles will be applied!

Generally, selectors with IDs will override classes. In turn, CSS selectors with classes will override pseudo-classes such as :last-child!

5. Check for browser support

Margin auto is widely available across modern browsers.

The margin auto property was initially used to center elements within a HTML container before flex or grid layouts came along. So if you are trying to support old browsers (such as IE10 or below) you might need to consider reverting back to margin:auto from your flex layouts!

One thing of note is that margin auto is not available in quirks mode for browsers like IE10 or below! Quirks mode is just a mode for browser to support legacy browsers such as Netscape and IE5 before the advent of W3C standards.

Typically we can trigger quirks mode by not including the <!DOCTYPE html> tag. Any HTML file that has the <!DOCTYPE html> tag will tell browsers that your page uses full standards mode.

Using margin:auto to center vertically

A common question or confusion is trying to use margin:auto to center a element vertically. Based on the previous CSS2 specification (https://www.w3.org/TR/CSS2/visudet.html#Computing_heights_and_margins) we cannot center it vertically since margin-top:auto and margin-bottom:auto the used value would compute to zero.

  1. Using position absolute hack
  2. Using flexbox

Consider the following HTML structure for the below hacks:

Now when we try to center the DIV with .content class vertically, it does not seem to work (even when we follow the above steps)

We can fix this using the two hacks below:

1. Vertically center using margin auto position absolute hack

We can vertically center the .content DIV with the position absolute hack. First we need to add a CSS position property for the .container DIV — eg position:relative .

Then for our .content DIV, we can add the following hack of setting the position to absolute and top/bottom/left/right to zero:

position:absolute; top:0; bottom:0; left:0; right:0;

So our final CSS will look like:

2. Vertically center using margin auto and flexbox

Margins work particularly well with flexbox — especially dealing with margin:auto. Auto margins on flex items have an effect very similar to auto margins in block flow — It is described in the specs here:

So we can expect similar behaviour as using display:block — since “any positive free space is distributed to auto margins in that dimension”


In this post we looked at using margin:auto to center elements in CSS. There are a few gotchas when using this technique. To center a element with margin:auto, we need to specify explicitly the width of the element. Additionally, the element should not be a inline element (eg <span> , <strong> , etc). Inline elements have default display:inline — for margin:auto to work it needs to have display:block or display:inline-block .

We also looked at a few ways to make margin:auto work to center a element vertically. We can do this using the position absolute hack or making the parent container flex — using display:flex .

�� About the Author

G’day! I am Kentaro a software engineer based in Australia. I have been creating design-centered software for the last 10 years both professionally and as a passion.

My aim to share what I have learnt with you! (and to help me remember ��)

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