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Centering In CSS

September 3, 2016

Unfortunately, there is no built in support for centering in CSS, but there are some ways to do it. I will be talking about two of the most effective ways to do it.


Using flexbox is a clean, hack-free way to center elements. The only downside is browser support, don't use this if you need to support IE 10 and below.

Say you have the following HTML:

<div class="center">
    <h1>Centered Content</h1>

You need to center everything within the div. So you would apply the following styles to the parent element. Which is .center in this case.

.center {
   display: flex; /* activates flexbox */
   align-items: center; /* align items vertically */
   justify-content: center; /* align items horizontally */


Using a table will require more code than flexbox, but will support many more browsers; this includes IE 6 and up!

With the following HTML:

<div class="center">
    <div class="cell">
        <div class="content">
            <h1>Centered Content</h1>

You will need three containers:

  1. One on the outside, representing a table

  2. A cell inside of of the table, this will be a table-cell

  3. A container for all of the centered content

Now, you can style them:

.center {
    display: table; /* make .center a table */

.cell {
    display: table-cell; /* make table cell */
    vertical-align: middle; /* vertically align cell in the middle */

.content {
    margin-left: auto; /* the content's left side margin is auto (centering it) */
    margin-right: auto; /* the content's right side margin is auto (centering it) */
    text-align: center; /* align any other text items in the center*/
    /* text-align: center; is optional */

There, now you can center things supporting IE 6 and up.