CSS Box Model

CSS Box Model is a module of CSS that defines the rectangular boxes—including their padding and margin—that are generated for elements and laid out according to the visual formatting model.

Box model overview

A box in CSS consists of a content area, which is where any text, images, or other HTML elements are displayed. This is optionally surrounded by padding, a border, and a margin, on one or more sides. The box model describes how these elements work together to create a box as displayed by CSS. To learn more about it read Introduction to the CSS Box Model.

Box-edge keywords

The Box Model specification defines a set of keywords that refer to the edges of each part of the box, these are used as keyword values in CSS including as a value for the box-sizing property, to control how the box model calculates its size.


The edge of the content area of the box.


The edge of the padding of the box, if there is no padding on a side then this is the same as content-box.


The edge of the border of the box, if there is no border on a side then this is the same as padding-box.


The edge of the margin of the box, if there is no margin on a side then this is the same as border-box.


In SVG refers to the stroke bounding box, in CSS treated as content-box.


In SVG refers to the nearest SVG viewport element's origin box, which is a rectangle with the width and height of the initial SVG user coordinate system established by the viewBox attribute for that element. In CSS treated as border-box.


Note: This specification defines the physical padding and margin properties. Flow-relative properties, which relate to text direction, are defined in Logical Properties and Values.

Properties for controlling the margin of a box

Margins surround the border edge of a box, and provide spacing between boxes.

Properties for controlling the padding for a box

Padding is inserted between the content edge and border edge of a box.

Other properties

There are other properties that relate to the box model, that are defined elsewhere.


The border properties specify the thickness of the border, drawing style and color.


Controls what happens when there is too much content to fit into a box.


Introduction to the CSS box model

Explains one of the fundamental concept of CSS: the box model. This model defines how CSS lays out elements, including their content, padding, border, and margin areas.

Mastering margin collapsing

Sometimes, two adjacent margins are collapsed into one. This article describes the rules that govern when and why this happens, and how to control it.

Visual formatting model

Explains the visual formatting model.


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