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CSS Backgrounds

The CSS background properties are used to define the background effects for elements.
CSS background properties:
  • background-color
  • background-image
  • background-repeat
  • background-attachment
  • background-position

Background Color

The background-color property specifies the background color of an element.
The background color of a page is set like this:

Example

body {
  background-color: lightblue;
}
With CSS, a color is most often specified by:
  • a valid color name - like "red"
  • a HEX value - like "#ff0000"
  • an RGB value - like "rgb(255,0,0)"
Look at CSS Color Values for a complete list of possible color values.
In the example below, the <h1>, <p>, and <div> elements have different background colors:

Example

h1 {
  background-color: green;
}

div {
  background-color: lightblue;
}

{
  background-color: yellow;
}

Background Image

The background-image property specifies an image to use as the background of an element.
By default, the image is repeated so it covers the entire element.
The background image for a page can be set like this:

Example

body {
  background-image: url("paper.gif");
}
Below is an example of a bad combination of text and background image. The text is hardly readable:

Example

body {
  background-image: url("bgdesert.jpg");
}
Note: When using a background image, use an image that does not disturb the text.

Background Image - Repeat Horizontally or Vertically

By default, the background-image property repeats an image both horizontally and vertically.
Some images should be repeated only horizontally or vertically, or they will look strange, like this:

Example

body {
  background-image: url("gradient_bg.png");
}
If the image above is repeated only horizontally (background-repeat: repeat-x;), the background will look better:

Example

body {
  background-image: url("gradient_bg.png");
  background-repeat: repeat-x;
}
Tip: To repeat an image vertically, set background-repeat: repeat-y;

Background Image - Set position and no-repeat

Showing the background image only once is also specified by the background-repeat property:

Example

body {
  background-image: url("img_tree.png");
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
}
In the example above, the background image is shown in the same place as the text. We want to change the position of the image, so that it does not disturb the text too much.
The position of the image is specified by the background-position property:

Example

body {
  background-image: url("img_tree.png");
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-position: right top;
}

Background Image - Fixed position

To specify that the background image should be fixed (will not scroll with the rest of the page), use the background-attachment property:

Example

body {
  background-image: url("img_tree.png");
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-position: right top;
  background-attachment: fixed;
}

Background - Shorthand property

To shorten the code, it is also possible to specify all the background properties in one single property. This is called a shorthand property.
The shorthand property for background is background:

Example

body {
  background: #ffffff url("img_tree.png") no-repeat right top;
}
When using the shorthand property the order of the property values is:
  • background-color
  • background-image
  • background-repeat
  • background-attachment
  • background-position
It does not matter if one of the property values is missing, as long as the other ones are in this order.

All CSS Background Properties

PropertyDescription
backgroundSets all the background properties in one declaration
background-attachmentSets whether a background image is fixed or scrolls with the rest of the page
background-clipSpecifies the painting area of the background
background-colorSets the background color of an element
background-imageSets the background image for an element
background-originSpecifies where the background image(s) is/are positioned
background-positionSets the starting position of a background image
background-repeatSets how a background image will be repeated
background-sizeSpecifies the size of the background image(s)


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