css · geeky

Making Semantic Elements Behave Like a Table

CSS has properties to make any element you wish behave as if it was a table element. You’ll need to structure them essentially as you would a table, and it will be subject to the same source-order-dependency as a table, but you can do it. I’m not crapping on it either, it’s genuinely useful sometimes. If that layout style solves a problem and has no negative order implications, use it.

Don’t use inline styles, but just for understanding here’s how that would go:

<section style="display: table;">
  <header style="display: table-row;">
    <div style="display: table-cell;"></div>
    <div style="display: table-cell;"></div>
    <div style="display: table-cell;"></div>
  </header>
  <div style="display: table-row;">
    <div style="display: table-cell;"></div>
    <div style="display: table-cell;"></div>
    <div style="display: table-cell;"></div>
  </div>
</section>

A handy trick here is that you don’t even need the table-row element in there if you don’t want. A bunch of display: table-cell; elements that are children of a display: table; element will behave like they are all in one row.

You always alter the display property of the element to get the table-style behavior. Here’s the values:

display: table                /* <table>     */
display: table-cell           /* <td>        */
display: table-row            /* <tr>        */
display: table-column         /* <col>       */
display: table-column-group   /* <colgroup>  */
display: table-footer-group   /* <tfoot>     */
display: table-header-group   /* <thead>     */

Notice there is no <th> alternative. That is for semantic value only. It otherwise behaves just like a <td>, so, no need to replicate it in CSS.

There is also display: inline-table; which is pretty interesting. Remember we talked about how weird table elements widths are above. They are only as wide as they need to be, yet break onto new lines. It’s almost like they are inline-block elements which happen to break. This makes them literally like inline-block elements, without the breaking.

Copied from css-tricks

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