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2011-11-27

Mnemonics for remembering the CSS order of top right bottom left

Whenever one specifies values for all directions in a single CSS property, one has to adhere to the standard order: top comes first, right second, bottom third, and left fourth. This post mentions three mnemonics for remembering that order.

Example: The four CSS properties

    margin-top: 10;
    margin-bottom: 9;
    margin-left: 5;
    margin-right: 4;
can be written as a single property:
    margin: 10 4 9 5;
Other examples are border and padding. Three suggestions for remembering the order:
  • tar ball: is a mnemonic for trbl, the first characters of top, right, bottom, left.
  • trouble: an alternative to tar ball, suggested by Josh Feuerstein and Rick Waldron.
  • clockwise: means that you enumerate the sides of a rectangle, starting at 12 o’clock, continuing clockwise. Suggested by Franz Graf.
Even with the mnemonics in my tool belt, I often add an explanatory comment:
    margin: 10 4 9 5;  /* trbl */

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