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Force Margin/Space Between List and Floated Image

If you’re displaying floated images in your posts, you may notice that margins of lists and other block-level elements seem to “collapse”, as shown in this screenshot from the 2013 redesign:

[ Screenshot: Unordered list wrapping against floated image ]

And here is what is happening behind the scenes (Chrome browser):

[ Screenshot: Unordered list wrapping against floated image (via Inspect Element) ]

As you can see, the list is simply ignoring the floated item and stretching across the entire width of the content area. Depending on the design, this may not be a huge deal, but there is an easy way to prevent it from happening. Just apply a width and overflow property to the list element:

.content ul, .content ol { width: auto; overflow: hidden; }

Applying that code, the margin kicks in and we get this:

[ Screenshot: Unordered list with margin between floated image ]

..which looks like this under the hood:

[ Screenshot: Unordered list with margin between floated image (via Inspect Element) ]

This trick also works on other block-level elements, such as <div>s. Here is another example from the recent redesign, which shows a <div> stretching full-width behind the floated element, again in Chrome:

[ Screenshot: Div stretching full-width behind floated image ]

To get the popout <div> to sit next to the floated image — without floating it — we apply the simple fix:

.popout { width: auto; overflow: hidden; }

..which gives us this:

[ Screenshot: Div sitting next to floated image ]

..and via Inspect Element:

[ Screenshot: Div sitting next to floated image (via Inspect Element) ]

That’s pretty much it, although for this design I opted to let the popout divs stretch behind the floated images, just seems like a nice effect :)

This technique tested on latest Chrome 67+, Firefox 60+, and Opera 53+.

Jeff Starr
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Jeff Starr = Web Developer. Book Author. Secretly Important.
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39 responses to “Force Margin/Space Between List and Floated Image”

  1. Does this code snippet effect the max-width property, when you’re making a website responsive?

    Thanks.

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