When to use margin vs padding in CSS ?

Ask a question
6

When writing CSS, is there a particular rule or guideline that should be used in deciding when to use margin and when to use padding?

Coin iconoffer bounty
add comment

3 Answers

3

If you need space inside the block, between the edge of the element and the content use padding, on the other hand if you need space between the blocks use margin.

For an example if you are having twodivs and inside each <div> you are having an image<img>

  • to separate the divs use margin
  • to give some space between image and the div you can use padding.
add comment
4
  • Use margin to separate the block from things outside it
  • Use padding to move the contents away from the edges of the block.
add comment
5

By default I use margin everywhere, except when I have a border or background and want to increase the space inside that visible box.

To me, the biggest difference between padding and margin is that vertical margins auto-collapse, and padding doesn’t.

Consider two elements one above the other each with padding of 1em. This padding is considered to be part of the element and is always preserved.

So you will end up with the content of the first element, followed by the padding of the first element, followed by the padding of the second, followed by the content of the second element.

Thus the content of the two elements will end up being 2em apart.

Now replace that padding with 1em margin. Margins are considered to be outside of the element, and margins of adjacent items will overlap.

So in this example, you will end up with the content of the first element followed by 1em of combined margin followed by the content of the second element. So the content of the two elements is only 1em apart.

This can be really useful when you know that you want to say 1em of spacing around an element, regardless of what element it is next to.

The other two big differences are that padding is included in the click region and background color/image, but not the margin.

add comment

Your Answer