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margin-left property

Sets or retrieves the width of the left margin of the object.

CSS 2.1, Section 5.5.4 Internet Explorer 9



margin-left: <margin-width> | inherit

Property values


Default. Left margin is set equal to the right margin.


Integer, followed by a percent sign (%). The value is a percentage of the width of the parent object.

CSS information

Applies ToAll elements
Initial Value0

Standards information


You can specify possible length values relative to the height of the element's font (em) or the height of the letter "x" (ex).

In Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0, the specified margin value is added to the default value of the object. In Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 and later, the margin value is absolute. The margin properties do not work with the td and tr objects in Internet Explorer 4.0, but they do work in Internet Explorer 3.0. To set margins in the cell for Internet Explorer 4.0 and later, apply the margin to an object, such as div or p, within the td.

This property applies to inline elements, starting with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5. With earlier versions of Windows Internet Explorer, inline elements must have an absolute  position or layout to use this property. Element layout is set by providing a value for the height property or the width property.

Negative margins are supported, except for top and bottom margins on inline objects.


The following example shows three div elements with specified height, width, and background-color values. The second div element also specifies a margin-left setting of 10px.

<div id="blue"></div>
<div id="yellow"></div>
<div id="green"></div>

#blue {
   background-color: #00A4EF;
   height: 50px;
   width: 50px;
#yellow {
   background-color: #FFB900;
   height: 50px;
   width: 50px;
   margin-left: 10px;
#green {
   background-color: #7FBA00;
   height: 50px;
   width: 50px;

The following image shows the result. The second div element has 10 pixels of padding on the left margin.

Three squares with margin-left applied to the center square

This example uses inline scripting to set the left margin of the image to 1 centimeter when an onclick event occurs.

Code example:

<img src="sphere.jpg" onclick="'1cm'">

See also

CSS Values and Units Reference
Other Resources
CSS Enhancements in Internet Explorer 6