HTML Layout

Education is not limited to just classrooms. It can be gained anytime, anywhere... - Ravi Ranjan (M.Tech-NIT)

HTML Layout Elements

Websites often display content in multiple columns (like a magazine or newspaper).

HTML5 offers new semantic elements that define the different parts of a web page:

HTML5 Semantic Elements
  • <header> - Defines a header for a document or a section
  • <nav> - Defines a container for navigation links
  • <section> - Defines a section in a document
  • <article> - Defines an independent self-contained article
  • <aside> - Defines content aside from the content (like a sidebar)
  • <footer> - Defines a footer for a document or a section
  • <details> - Defines additional details
  • <summary> - Defines a heading for the <details> element

HTML Layout Techniques

There are four different ways to create multicolumn layouts. Each way has its pros and cons:

  • HTML tables
  • CSS float property
  • CSS framework
  • CSS flexbox


Which One to Choose?

HTML Tables

The <table> element was not designed to be a layout tool! The purpose of the <table> element is to display tabular data. So, do not use tables for your page layout! They will bring a mess into your code. And imagine how hard it will be to redesign your site after a couple of months.

CSS Frameworks

If you want to create your layout fast, you can use a framework, like .CSS or Bootstrap.

CSS Floats

It is common to do entire web layouts using the CSS float property. Float is easy to learn - you just need to remember how the float and clear properties work. Disadvantages: Floating elements are tied to the document flow, which may harm the flexibility. Learn more about float in our CSS Float and Clear chapter.

CSS Flexbox

Flexbox is a new layout mode in CSS3.

Use of flexbox ensures that elements behave predictably when the page layout must accommodate different screen sizes and different display devices. Disadvantages: Does not work in IE10 and earlier.

Learn more about flexbox in our CSS Flexbox chapter.