Comprehensive CSS Cheat Sheet + PDF

CSS Cheat Sheet Introduction

Cascading Style Sheets, also known as CSS, are the background of web design and development. It’s the kind of thing that beginners look at and then calmly run the other way.

The time and effort required to grasp, let alone learn, CSS can be intimidating, but if you’re here, then you’ve already been through that fiery crucible.

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Even the most masterful developers still need a few reminders once in a while. That’s why we’re going to cover some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to CSS and give you a cheat sheet to refer to when you’re in the depths of coding.

CSS3 Cheat Sheet + PDF

There’s a lot of terms and technical tags in CSS that aren’t easy to recall off the top of your head. Even experts will forget them from time-to-time. Now, you don’t have to worry anymore!

This cheat sheet will be ready and waiting for you in your bookmarks for those times when you need a reminder.

Download PDF Version Here

CSS 3 Cheat Sheet

What is Meant by CSS?

Let’s break down this term into its definitions:

  • CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets
  • This coding language tells browsers how to display HTML elements
  • It’s beneficial because it can control layouts and functionality of multiple pages at once
  • External style sheets are stored in CSS files

The way your website looks when you’ve finished designing it is powered in the background by CSS stylesheets that give it that unique look and feel. Beyond design and visual styles, CSS is also used to make websites responsive and therefore able to display properly on mobile devices.

Furthermore, the creation of CSS took a lot of weight off the shoulders of HTML. The codes used in HTML are supposed to define what things are (a header, a bullet point, a paragraph, etc.), but it was never meant to be a coding language for design and layout.

When tags like <font> were added to HTML 3.2, it added a huge amount of work for web developers. This wasn’t going to work out, so the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created CSS. This new language took style formatting out of HTML’s repertoire.

With this new language, you could created external .css files that could be used to alter an entire website quickly and easily. This was far more preferable to the idea of coding every page with HTML.

How Do You Save a CSS File?

We all know Notepad. It comes pre-loaded on Windows computers and it’s the perfect place to create a CSS file that you can connect to your website. If you need to save or modify your CSS style sheets, simply follow these steps:

How to Save a CSS File

  • Start by highlighting all of the code in your style sheet online and copy it.
  • Paste this into a blank Notepad file
  • Save the file in notepad with a title of your choice and make the extension: css. An example would be StyleSheet1.css
  • Once you’ve saved the file, you’ll have an external copy of your style sheet!

What is Inline CSS?

Inline CSS is a term that refers to the CSS coding found within an HTML file. You’ll find this type of code between style tags in HTML. All this really means is that you’re putting your CSS into the HTML file as opposed to creating an external stylesheet using the method we discussed above.

Using an inline solution offers some benefits. For starters, it reduces the number of files the browser had to download before it can display your web page. If you’re using an external file, the browser needs to load the HTML file first, and then download the CSS file.

For this reason, inline CSS can be a great solution for optimizing your CSS delivery and it could speed up your website in the process. Here are a couple things to remember about inline coding:

  • You must place the inline code in the head section of your HTML sheet
  • You have to use the proper HTML tags, but otherwise you can copy/paste the CSS content directly between the style tags

Are there any downsides to this? Well, by using an inline code, does save the server from having to send separate files, but it also means that your external sheets won’t be cached for when users load other pages.

This isn’t an issue if you have simple CSS in place, but if you’re dealing with complicated stylesheets, then this could bog down your website’s performance.

What is Span in CSS and What is it Used For?

Span is a pretty simple, but useful tool for developers and designers. It’s very similar to divisions, with one key difference: no linebreak is created when a span is used. Spans are an inline element and not a block level element.

You can use the span tag to augment certain areas of text in your content. Here’s an example:

<span class="italic">This text shall be italic!</span> 

Then we go to our CSS file and make the following change:


font-style: italic; 

When all is said and done, the text looks like this: This text shall be italic! 

What Are The Different Types of CSS?

Before we wrap things up and you get back to your epic coding, let’s review the different types of CSS:

1. Inline Styles 

These are the tags that are used within the actual HTML as opposed to an external CSS stylesheet.

2. Embedded Styles 

These are the tags that are used in the head section of your HTML document. These only affect the tags on the page they’re embedded in.

3. External Styles 

Finally, we have the codes that are used in a separate style sheet that is externally saved and attached to your website.

Final Thoughts

CSS is a powerful tool for developers to create unique and well-designed websites. What was your journey through learning and utilizing CSS in your website development? Let us know in the comments!