The position Property

Domains: CSS

The position property specifies the type of positioning method used for an element (static, relative, fixed, absolute or sticky).

The position Property

The position property specifies the type of positioning method used for an element.

There are five different position values:

  • static
  • relative
  • fixed
  • absolute
  • sticky

Elements are then positioned using the top, bottom, left, and right properties. However, these properties will not work unless the position property is set first. They also work differently depending on the position value.

position: static;

HTML elements are positioned static by default.

Static positioned elements are not affected by the top, bottom, left, and right properties.

An element with position: static; is not positioned in any special way; it is always positioned according to the normal flow of the page:

Here is the CSS that is used:

div.static {
  position: static;
  border: 3px solid #73AD21;
}

position: relative;

An element with position: relative; is positioned relative to its normal position.

Setting the top, right, bottom, and left properties of a relatively-positioned element will cause it to be adjusted away from its normal position. Other content will not be adjusted to fit into any gap left by the element.

Here is the CSS that is used:

div.relative {
  position: relative;
  left: 30px;
  border: 3px solid #73AD21;
}

position: fixed;

An element with position: fixed; is positioned relative to the viewport, which means it always stays in the same place even if the page is scrolled. The top, right, bottom, and left properties are used to position the element.

A fixed element does not leave a gap in the page where it would normally have been located.

Notice the fixed element in the lower-right corner of the page. Here is the CSS that is used:

div.fixed {
  position: fixed;
  bottom: 0;
  right: 0;
  width: 300px;
  border: 3px solid #73AD21;
}

position: absolute;

An element with position: absolute; is positioned relative to the nearest positioned ancestor (instead of positioned relative to the viewport, like fixed).

However; if an absolute positioned element has no positioned ancestors, it uses the document body, and moves along with page scrolling.

Note: A "positioned" element is one whose position is anything except static.

Here is the CSS that is used:

div.relative {
  position: relative;
  width: 400px;
  height: 200px;
  border: 3px solid #73AD21;
} 

div.absolute {
  position: absolute;
  top: 80px;
  right: 0;
  width: 200px;
  height: 100px;
  border: 3px solid #73AD21;
}

position: sticky;

An element with position: sticky; is positioned based on the user's scroll position.

A sticky element toggles between relative and fixed, depending on the scroll position. It is positioned relative until a given offset position is met in the viewport - then it "sticks" in place (like position:fixed).

Note: Internet Explorer, Edge 15 and earlier versions do not support sticky positioning. Safari requires a -webkit- prefix (see example below). You must also specify at least one of top, right, bottom or left for sticky positioning to work.

In this example, the sticky element sticks to the top of the page (top: 0), when you reach its scroll position.

div.sticky {
  position: -webkit-sticky; /* Safari */
  position: sticky;
  top: 0;
  background-color: green;
  border: 2px solid #4CAF50;
}

Overlapping Elements

When elements are positioned, they can overlap other elements.

The z-index property specifies the stack order of an element (which element should be placed in front of, or behind, the others).

An element can have a positive or negative stack order:

Note: If two positioned elements overlap without a z-index specified, the element positioned last in the HTML code will be shown on top.

More Examples

Set the shape of an element
This example demonstrates how to set the shape of an element. The element is clipped into this shape, and displayed.

All CSS Positioning Properties

Property Description
bottom Sets the bottom margin edge for a positioned box
clip Clips an absolutely positioned element
left Sets the left margin edge for a positioned box
position Specifies the type of positioning for an element
right Sets the right margin edge for a positioned box
top Sets the top margin edge for a positioned box
z-index Sets the stack order of an element

Similar pages

Page structure
Terms

CSS

position: relative;

position: static;

position: fixed;

position: absolute;

position: sticky;

Overlapping Elements