Tag: Fixed

On fixed elements and backgrounds

After just playing with apsect-ratio and being pleasantly surprised at how intuitive it is, here’s an example of CSS acting unintuitively:

If you have a fixed element on your page, which means it doesn’t move when you scroll, you might realise that it no longer acts fixed if you apply a CSS filter on its nearest ancestor. Go ahead, try it on the CodePen.

This is because applying a filter on the fixed element’s immediate parent makes it becoming the containing block instead of the viewport.

Hui Jing has more to teach in there about scrolling, rendering performance, and trickery with using pseudo elements to avoid issues.

I find this kind of thing among the most challenging CSS concepts to wrap my mind around, like Block Formatting Contexts (BFCs). A BFC Is A Mini Layout In Your Layout. 🤯

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Fixed Headers and Jump Links? The Solution is scroll-margin-top

The problem: you click a jump link like <a href="#header-3">Jump</a> which links to something like <h3 id="header-3">Header</h3>. That’s totally fine, until you have a position: fixed; header at the top of the page obscuring the header you’re trying to link to!

Fixed headers have a nasty habit of hiding the element you’re trying to link to.

There used to be all kinds of wild hacks to get around this problem. In fact, in the design of CSS-Tricks as I write, I was like, “Screw it, I’ll just have a big generous padding-top on my in-article headers because I don’t mind that look anyway.”

But there is actually a really straightforward way of handling this in CSS now.

h3 {   scroll-margin-top: 5rem; /* whatever is a nice number that gets you past the header */ }

We have an Almanac article on it, which includes browser support, which is essentially everywhere. It’s often talked about in conjunction with scroll snapping, but I find this use case even more practical.

Here’s a simple demo:

In a related vein, that weird (but cool) “text fragments” link that Chrome shipped takes you to the middle of the page instead, which I think is nice.

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Fixed Headers, On-Page Links, and Overlapping Content, Oh My!

Let’s take a basic on-page link:

<a href="#section-two">Section Two</a>

When clicked, the browser will scroll itself to the element with that ID: <section id="section-two"></section>. A browser feature as old as browsers themselves, just about.

But as soon as we position: fixed; came into play, it became a bit of an issue. The browser will still jump to bring the newly targeted element into view, but that element may be obscured by a fixed position element, which is pretty bad UX.

I called this “headbutting the browswer window” nearly 10 years ago, and went over some possible solutions. Nicolas Gallager documented five different techniques. I’m even using a fixed position header here in v17 of CSS-Tricks, and I don’t particularly love any of those techniques. I sort of punted on it and added top padding to all my <h3> elements, which is big enough for the header to fit there.

There is a new way though! Finally!

Šime Vidas documented this in Web Platform News. There are a bunch of CSS properties that go together as part of CSS scroll snapping, but it turns out that scroll-padding and scroll-margin can be used outside of a scroll snapping container.

body {   scroll-padding-top: 70px; /* height of sticky header */ }

This only works in Chromium browsers:

See the Pen
Scroll Padding on Fixed Postion Headers
by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier)
on CodePen.

This is such a useful thing we shoot hoot and holler for WebKit and Firefox to do it.

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