W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > July 2000

Re: CSS precedence

From: Matthew Brealey <webmaster@richinstyle.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 10:56:17 +0100
Message-ID: <397EB5C1.596A@richinstyle.com>
To: fyodor checkov <suffolkuniversity@hotmail.com>
CC: www-style@w3.org
fyodor checkov wrote:
> I recently took an exam, 

(Cool - a CSS exam :-)

> and while I got the question correct I was
> wondering if the test "givers" have things backwards.

More like they have things completely wrong.
> What is the order of precedence between the types of styles (from lowest to
> highest)?
> Answer:
> 1) embedded, linked, inline
> 2) linked, inline, embedded
> 3) inline, embedded, linked
> 4) embedded, inline, linked

There is no such order of precedence. CSS has a cascade with the
following sections (in order, where if the first stage succeeds later
ones are not performed):

weight and origin 
'Finally, sort by order'
(this is defined in

The difference between embedded and linked styles is one of order, and
as such specificity sorting will be performed first. This means that the
question is ambiguous: in general 

vs .class
order is irrelevant; the qualifier of equal specificity (identical
origin is implied) is required.

More fundamentally, howevever, there is no rule regarding embedded vs.
linked order:

<link rel=stylesheet ....

has linked after embedded whereas:

<link rel=stylesheet ....

has the reverse

Finally, inline styles are a separate case, since they are (sadly - see
previous posts) resolved according to a specificity sort with
specificity of 100, and therefore whether more specific than
inline/embedded depends wholly on the specificity of the compared

(PS. If they want someone to write questions on CSS for them, I would be
willing to oblige for a modest fee.)

Please visit http://RichInStyle.com. Featuring:
MySite: customizable styles.         AlwaysWork style 
Browser bug table covering all CSS2 with links to descriptions.
Lists of > 1000 browser bugs         Websafe Colorizer 
CSS2, CSS1 and HTML4 tutorials.      CSS masterclass 
CSS2 test suite: 5000++ tests and 300+ test pages.
Received on Wednesday, 26 July 2000 05:56:57 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 27 April 2009 13:54:05 GMT