Some CSS style naming and layout tips

2 mins read

After doing CSS development work for a number of years there’s a few little tips that I’ve picked up that I thought it might be helpful to pass on.

List the styles alphabetically

I saw this tip listed on another website a few years ago and have been doing this myself ever since. It makes it so much easier to quickly scan across and see which styles you have used. Here’s an example of what I mean:

.container {color: #fff; background: red; padding: 5px; margin: 1.5em 0;}


.container {background: red; color: #fff; margin: 1.5em 0; padding: 5px;}

Use a different naming convention for class names used by JavaScript and keep them exclusive

I learnt this after working on larger websites and changing a class name in the HTML only to find this broke the JavaScript. It’s sometimes tricky to know if changing a class name would do this.

Using a different naming convention for classnames that are going to be used by the Javascript helps avoids this confusion. Here’s what I mean:

for CSS only use:

.btn-top or .btn_top

leaving the following just for JavaScript only:


Doing this means you always know if a class name in the HTML is used by the CSS or the JavaScript. The same holds true for ID’s too although I try not to use them at all if possible.

Which brings me on to my final tip…

Use a hyphen instead of an underscore in between words in class names and IDs

This becomes really useful when you use the keyboard to navigate around your code; the cursor always stops at a – which makes it so much easier if you want to change one of the words in the middle of a class and or ID. Using a _ instead would means the cursor keys take you to the end of the class name as it just treats _ the same as a letter.