Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More

CSS Books

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The books on CSS below are each hand-picked to list here. I personally own several of these exceptional CSS books, and the rest of the CSS book recommendations are top-selling books that are highly praised by other professionals.

  • Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web, Third Edition
    Cover: Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web, Third Edition, by Hakon Wium Lie, Bert Bos. Published 2005, by Addison-Wesley. By Hakon Wium Lie, Bert Bos. Published by Addison-Wesley, April 25, 2005. This 3rd Edition of the classic on CSS written by those who actually created CSS, is another best-seller on this important topic for Web site designers and developers. It not only provides the basics of CSS, it also explains the “why” of each design technique described.

    From the publisher:

    Direct from the creators of CSS, this is the definitive guide to CSS, today's indispensable standard for controlling the appearance of any Web or XML document. This book doesn't just show how to use every significant CSS 1 and 2.x feature; it carefully explains the “why” behind today's most valuable CSS design techniques. You'll find practical, downloadable examples throughout—along with essential browser support information and best practices for building high-impact pages and applications.

    Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web, Third Edition covers every CSS 2.1 improvement and fix, from new height/width definitions in absolutely positioned elements to new clip property calculations. Clear, readable, and thorough, it's the one must-have CSS resource for every Web developer, designer, and content provider. Coverage includes

    • Mastering essential CSS concepts: Rules, declarations, selectors, properties, and more
    • Working with type: From absolute/relative units to font size and weight
    • Understanding CSS objects: Box model, display properties, list styles, and more
    • Exercising total control over spacing and positioning
    • Specifying colors for borders and backgrounds
    • Managing printing: Margins, page breaks, and more
    • Implementing media-specific style sheets for audio rendering, handhelds, and other forms of presentation
    • Moving from HTML extensions to CSS: Five practical case studies
    • Making the most of cascading and inheritance
    • Using external style sheets and @import
    • Integrating CSS with XML documents
    • Optimizing the performance of CSS pages
    • Includes a handy CSS Quick Reference printed on the inside covers
  • The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks, Practical Solutions to Common Problems
    The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks. by Rachel Andrew  By Rachel Andrew. Published by SitePoint Books, November 2004. This CSS book is fantastic. Rachel is a terrific writer, and you'll find easy-to-understand explanations of how to use CSS effectively for so many common needs, such as navigation, layouts, using CSS for colors, and so much more. The question-and-answer format makes it easy to use for reading cover-to-cover, learning how to use CSS, or as a reference for figuring out solutions.'s owner/editor uses this for figuring out solutions to cross-browser, cross-platform challenges, too, especially Internet Explorer 6. It's a helpful book for anyone, whether for beginners or advanced designers. Highly recommended for anyone who uses CSS or wants to learn how to use CSS.
  • CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition
    Cascading Style Sheets, The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition. by Eric Meyer. O'Reilly Publishers, (November 2006). By Eric Meyer. O'Reilly Publishers, (November, 2006). As always, Eric Meyer writes clearly in easy-to-understand language. This book is an excellent starting point for learning how CSS works and as a reference book for experts with CSS. The 3rd edition chapters include:
    • CSS and Documents
    • Selectors
    • Structure and the Cascade
    • Values and Units
    • Fonts
    • Text Properties
    • Basic Visual Formatting
    • Padding, Borders, and Margins
    • Colors and Backgrounds
    • Floating and Positioning
    • Table Layout
    • Lists and Generated Content
    • User Interface Styles
    • Non-Screen Media

    From the publisher regarding the updated 3rd edition:

    Updated to cover Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft's vastly improved browser, this new edition includes content on positioning, lists and generated content, table layout, user interface, paged media, and more. Author Eric Meyer tackles the subject with passion, exploring in detail each individual CSS property and how it interacts with other properties. You'll not only learn how to avoid common mistakes in interpretation, you also will benefit from the depth and breadth of his experience and his clear and honest style. This is the complete sourcebook on CSS.

    The 3rd edition contains:

    • Updates to reflect changes in the latest draft version of CSS 2.1
    • Browser notes updated to reflect changes between IE6 and IE7
    • Advanced selectors supported in IE7 and other major browsers included
    • A new round of technical edits by a fresh set of editors
    • Clarifications and corrected errata, including updated URLs of referenced online resources
  • CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions
     Cover - CSS Mastery. by Andy Budd, Simon Collison, Cameron Moll. 02-2006.  by Andy Budd, with Simon Collison, Cameron Moll. Published by friends of ED, February 13, 2006. Uses a tutorial approach and includes two entire chapters on working with browser inconsistencies, including CSS hacks, filters, bug fixing. Also includes image replacement; professional link, form, and list styling; pure CSS layouts; and much more. Chapters include:
    • Chapter 1: Setting the Foundations
    • Chapter 2: Visual Formatting Model Recap
    • Chapter 3: Background Images and Image Replacement
    • Chapter 4: Styling Links
    • Chapter 5: Styling Lists and Creating Nav Bars
    • Chapter 6: Styling Forms and Data Tables
    • Chapter 7: Layout
    • Chapter 8: Hacks and Filters
    • Chapter 9: Bugs and Bug Fixing
    • Case Study 1: More Than Doodles
    • Case Study 2: Tuscany Luxury Resorts

    Read author Andy Budd's weblog post about his new book, Take a Look Inside CSS Mastery. See also the book's Web site, CSS Mastery where you can download a sample chapter and the Table of Contents.

  • CSS Pocket Reference, 3rd Edition
    CSS Pocket Reference: Visual Presentation for the Web, 3rd Edition, by Eric Meyer. Published by O'Reilly, October, 2007. By Eric Meyer. Published by O'Reilly, October, 2007. Very helpful pocket reference for CSS2 to keep handy at all times. The 3rd Edition has been completely revised and updated to reflect the latest Cascading Style Sheet specifications, CSS2 and CSS2.1. So even if you have the 1st or 2nd Editions, this updated edition is well worth checking out. Chapters include rule structure, adding styles to HTML, selectors, specifying values, style precedence, classification of elements, boxes and borders, CSS property reference, CSS support charts, pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements, the cascade, font properties, color and background properties, box properties, classification properties, and units. For more information, visit Eric Meyer's Web site.
  • More Eric Meyer on CSS
     More Eric Meyer on CSS, by Eric Meyer. Published by New Riders, 2004.  By Eric Meyer. Published by New Riders, 2004. Eric's follow-up to his already best-selling Eric Meyer on CSS is packed with new, updated information and new examples and projects. Eric writes in an easy-to-understand, clear way about using CSS in a practical way in the real world for your Web sites. Whether you're learning CSS for the first time, wanting to learn some new information, or wanting to fine tune your skills, this is an exceptional must-have book. For more information, visit More Eric Meyer on CSS companion Web site and Eric Meyer's Web site.
  • Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes
    Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes, by Russ Weakley. Sams (11-7-2005).  By Russ Weakley. Published by Sams, November 2005. As the publisher states, the short, focused lessons presented in Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes will help you quickly understand cascading style sheets (CSS) and how to immediately apply it to your work. Author Russ Weakley is a well-respected member of the CSS community and is known for his ability to make complicated concepts easy-to-understand for even inexperienced CSS users. With this book, you will cover the essentials for standards compliant techniques that are supported by the most common browsers. Once you master the basics, Weakley will also take you inside positioning, troubleshooting CSS, and handling common CSS bugs. Sams Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes is the ultimate quick learning tool and handy desk reference guide to CSS. For more information, visit the Teach Yourself CSS in 10 Minutes companion Web site and Russ Weakley's Web site.
  • The Ultimate CSS Reference
    Cover - The Ultimate CSS Reference, by Tommy Olsson, Paul O'Brien. Sitepoint (02-2008). by Tommy Olsson, Paul O'Brien. Published by SitePoint, February, 2008. Exceptional reference and resource for CSS. From the publisher:

    A complete and thorough and up-to-date reference guide for CSS.

    Stop wasting time doing Internet searches only to find inaccurate, out-of-date, or incomplete information. CSS: The Ultimate Reference includes all the ins-and-outs you need to know including compatability information for all major browsers, lists of useful hacks, known bugs in CSS, and much more - all presented in a beautiful, full color layout that will have you coming back over and over again.

    Coverage includes:

    • CSS 2.1 syntax and specifications, including features from current CSS 3 working drafts that are implemented in one or more major browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera), and useful browser-specific features
    • A clear and concise guide to the CSS cascade, including compatability information, known bugs and useful CSS hacks
    • A media type guide, with coverage of which media types apply in which user agents under what conditions.
    • A quick-reference guide to currently supported at-rules (@import, @media, etc.).
    • An alphabetical property reference

Also Recommended by Brainstorms and Raves:

  •  Cover - Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns. by Michael Bowers. Apress (4-23-2007). 
  • Beginning CSS Web Development. by Simon Collison.
  •  CSS: The Missing Manual. by David Sawyer McFarland. O'Reilly (08-2006). 
  •  Transcending CSS. by Andy Clarke, Molly Holzschlag. 
  • The Zen of CSS Design, by Dave Shea, Molly E. Holzschlag. Peachpit 12-2004.
  • Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation, 2nd Ed. By Owen Briggs, Steve Champeon, others. Glasshaus, 03-2004.
  • HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS, 2nd Ed. by Rachel Andrew, Daniel Shafer. SitePoint 04-2006.
  • Designing CSS Web Pages, by Christopher Schmitt. 2002.
  • Fundamental Web Design and Development Skills, by Rachel Andrew, Chris Ullman, Crystal Waters. Published July 2003, APress.
  •  Cover - Web Standards Creativity: Innovations in Web Design with XHTML, CSS, and DOM Scripting. Andy Budd, Andy Clarke, et al. friends of ED (3-19-2007). 
  • The Art and Science of CSS. By Cameron Adams, Jina Bolton, others.
  • Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML (Head First) by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Freeman. O'Reilly Media, Inc.; 1 edition (December 8, 2005).
  •  Cover - Mastering Integrated HTML and CSS. by Virginia DeBolt. Sybex; Pap/Cdr edition (February 20, 2007) 
  •  CSS Web Site Design. By Eric Meyer. Peachpit Bk/CD-Rom (11-09-2006). 

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Note: This is just a small sampling of the book recommendations that you'll find at my other site, Be sure to check out the larger Recommended Books, too!

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Recommended Books

Featured Book:

 Book cover: The Design of Sites, Second Edition : Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience. By Douglas K. van Duyne, James A. Landay, Jason I. Hong. Prentice Hall PTR (December 14, 2006). 

Book cover: Bulletproof Web Design: Improving flexibility and protecting against worst-case scenarios with XHTML and CSS, by Dan Cederholm.

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