June 5, 2008 - Rajesh Odayanchal

IE and width & height issues

IE has a rather strange way of doing things. It doesn’t understand the min-width and min-height commands, but instead interprets width and height as min-width and min-height – go figure!

This can cause problems, because we may need boxes to be resizable should more text need to go in them or should the user resize text. If we only use the width and height commands on a box then non-IE browsers won’t allow the box to resize. If we only use the min-width and min-height commands though then we can’t control the width or height in IE!

This can be especially problematic when using background images. If you’re using a background image that’s 80px wide and 35px high, then you’ll want to make sure that the default size for a box using this image is exactly 80 x 35px. However, if users resize the text then the box size will need to expand gracefully.

To resolve this problem, you can use the following code for a box with class=”box”:

.box
{
width: 80px;
height: 35px;
}

html>body .box
{
width: auto;
height: auto;
min-width: 80px;
min-height: 35px;
}

All browsers will read through the first CSS rule but IE will ignore the second rule because it makes use of the child selector command5. Non-IE browsers will read through the second one and will override the values from the first rule because this CSS rule is more specific, and CSS rules that are more specific always override those that are less specific.

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