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margin-top property

Sets or retrieves the height of the top margin of the object.

CSS 2.1, Section 5.5.1 Internet Explorer 9



margin-top: <margin-width> | inherit

Property values


Default. Top margin is set equal to the bottom margin.


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

CSS information

Applies ToAll elements
Initial Value0

Standards information


As of Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or later, 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 Internet Explorer 4.0 or 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 or later, apply the margin to an object, such as div or p, within the td.

As of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5, this property applies to inline elements. 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.

For inline elements, the value of this property is used to compute the border area of a surrounding inline element, if present. This value does not contribute to the height of a line.

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


In the following example, three div elements specify height, width, and background-color values. The second div element also specifies a margin-top value 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-top: 10px;
#green {
   background-color: #7FBA00;
   height: 50px;
   width: 50px;

The following image shows the result. The second div element has a top margin of 10 pixels.

Three squares with margin-top applied to the middle square

The following example uses inline scripting to set and reset the margin when the onclick and ondblclick events occur, respectively.

Code example:

<!DOCTYPE html>

  <p>Click the top horizontal rule to expand its margin to 2cm. Double-click to return to the default margin.</p>

  <hr onclick="'2cm'" ondblclick="''">
  <span style="font-size: 14px">The time has come, the Walrus said,<br>
    To speak of many things;<br>
    Of sailing ships and sealing wax;<br>
    Of cabbages and kings.<br>
    - apologies to Lewis Carroll

See also

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