Cross-browser CSS: Justified Block List

A cross-browser method using semantic markup and CSS to align list items horizontally and space them evenly so they are distributed across the full available width. Useful for laying out lists of thumbnail images or navigation links for example.

Tested in IE6, IE7, IE8, FF, Safari, Chrome

Fixed Width Content Using This Method:

Variable Width Content:


<ul class="block-list">


/* set base font-size (customize to suit) */
body, .block-list li {font-size: 12px;}

/* trigger hasLayout in IE */
.block-list, .block-list li {zoom: 1;}

.block-list {
	font-size: 0 !important; /* remove physical spaces between items */
	text-align: justify;
	text-justify: distribute-all-lines; /* distribute items in IE */
	list-style-type: none;
	margin: 0;
	padding: 0;

/* fully justify all items in browsers other than IE */
.block-list:after {
	content: "";
	display: inline-block;
	width: 100%;

.block-list li {
	text-align: left; /* customize to suit */
	vertical-align: top; /* can customize to suit */
	display: inline-block;
	width: 31.3%; /* optional, only need for text content to wrap */
	margin-bottom: 1em; /* optional, customize to suit */

/* IE hacks to make li's line up */
*+html .block-list li {display: inline;}
* html .block-list li {display: inline;}

There must be no space between the last li tag and the closing ul tag in your HTML markup. This is to fix a bug in Safari so it won’t add extra space after the last list item.


Cross-browser CSS: Justify last line of text in a paragraph

UPDATE: Just posted a new simplified technique but unfortunately it only works in Firefox so far, not Chrome:

Original Method:
Normally if you use CSS to justify text, the last line of text is aligned left rather than justified as on other lines. This is the desired behavior in most instances but for some layouts you may want to justify the last line as text as well. Following is a cross-browser method you can use which will work in IE6+ in addition to popular modern browsers. (This method is also useful if you want to justify just one line of text such as in a heading.)

Tested in IE6, IE7, IE8, FF, Safari, Chrome

Regular Justified Text vs. Text Using This Method:


p, h1 {
	text-align: justify;
	text-align-last: justify;

p:after, h1:after {
	content: "";
	display: inline-block;
	width: 100%;

A paragraph tag (p) and a header (h1) are used above just as examples. You can substitute any block level html elements instead such as a div.

See it in action:

Caveat: One issue with this method is that extra space is added to the bottom of html elements in browsers other than IE. It appears to happen as a result of how line-height spacing is added by browsers to the last visible line of text.

Update: You can add a negative bottom margin to the elements you are justifying (such as “margin-bottom: -1.2em;”) to remove extra spacing added by :after. You will need to add a margin back for IE.

An Experiment: WIRED on iPad, Recreated in HTML5 & CSS3

In May 2010, WIRED released the iPad edition of WIRED magazine. Currently each edition is produced using Adobe InDesign.

I decided to see if I could re-create a few of the page layouts from the “iPad Edition Free Preview” included with WIRED’s app using semantic HTML5 and CSS3.

So far I have re-created the “From the Editor” column on the first page which has a fairly simple layout. (Later, if I have time I plan to tackle the second page article which has a more complex column layout.)

Since I don’t own copies of any of the fonts WIRED uses, I made do with a couple somewhat similar but much less nice-looking fonts from Google Web Fonts.

Screen Shots of HTML5 / CSS3 Layouts:
horizontal view vertical view

View live in a new window.

(To toggle between horizontal and vertical views, click the little page icon at the top of the screen.)

NOTE: Since these layouts are intended for view within iPad, they were tested only in Safari and Firefox browsers.

(Magazine page designs, WIRED logo and WIRED magazine cover image copyright by WIRED.)

Printing Table Headers on Every Page

I recently researched how to print table headers on every page for long html tables spanning multiple pages. Following are my findings.

Results of Table Printing Tests

(Tested in IE7, Firefox 3, Chrome 12, Safari 5 and Opera 11.)

Firefox prints table headers on each page automatically as long as table is formatted with th tags wrapped in a thead and the main table content wrapped in tbody.


            <th>header 1</th>
            <th>header 2</th>
            <th>header 3</th>

            <td>content 1</td>
            <td>content 2</td>
            <td>content 3</td>

The other browsers still would not print table headers on each page however so I tried Googling a bit more and found this page:

I tried adding the following CSS styles based on those from the above page:

table {border-collapse: collapse;}

th, td {padding: 1px 8px;}

{background: #CCC;
text-align: left;}

td {border-bottom: 1px solid;}

thead {display: table-header-group;}
tfoot {display: table-footer-group;}
tbody {display: table-row-group;}

After adding these styles, Table headers printed on all pages in IE7 as well as Firefox. Headers still wouldn’t print in Chrome, Safari or Opera however.

Unfortunately, it turns out this is a known bug in Webkit which Safari and Chrome use:

I couldn’t find an official bug report for Opera but so far it doesn’t appear there is currently a way to enable printing table headers on multiple pages.


So until Webkit and Opera add support for this feature, only Firefox and IE6+ enable printing table headers on every page out of the browsers I tested.

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