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Definition of Box Model

The CSS box model describes the rectangular boxes that are generated for elements in the document tree and laid out according to the visual formatting model.

The margin, border, and padding can be broken down into top, right, bottom, and left segments (e.g., in the diagram, "LM" for left margin, "RP" for right padding, "TB" for top border, etc.).

The perimeter of each of the four areas (content, padding, border, and margin) is called an "edge", so each box has four edges:

content edge or inner edge

The content edge surrounds the rectangle given by the width and height of the box, which often depend on the element's rendered content. The four content edges define the box's content box.

padding edge

The padding edge surrounds the box padding. If the padding has 0 width, the padding edge is the

same as the content edge. The four padding edges define the box's padding box.

border edge

The border edge surrounds the box's border. If the border has 0 width, the border edge is the same as the padding edge. The four border edges define the box's border box.

margin edge or outer edge

The margin edge surrounds the box margin. If the margin has 0 width, the margin edge is the same as the border edge. The four margin edges define the box's margin box. Each edge may be broken down into a top, right, bottom, and left edge.

The dimensions of the content area of a box the content width and content height depend on several factors: whether the element generating the box has the 'width' or 'height' property set, whether the box contains text or other boxes, whether the box is a table, etc. Box widths and heights are discussed in the chapter on visual formatting model details.

The background style of the content, padding, and border areas of a box is specified by the 'background' property of the generating element. Margin backgrounds are always transparent.