Best CSS Books

by Bradley Nice, Content Manager at — software documentation tool

CSS is a special language used to style HTML content. CSS defines how HTML elements will be displayed — color, size, position, border, background, etc.”
CSS is used to separate the HTML content from the representation rules to make it easier to maintain the content style in a centralized manner.
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So what CSS book are the top ones?

CSS: The Definitive Guide (Kindle — 19.79, paperback — $32.20)

CSS: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition provides you with a comprehensive guide to CSS implementation, along with a thorough review of all aspects of CSS 2.1. Updated to cover Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft’s vastly improved browser, this new edition includes content on positioning, lists and generated content, table layout, user interface, paged media, and more.

Author Eric Meyer tackles the subject with passion, exploring in detail each individual CSS property and how it interacts with other properties. You’ll not only learn how to avoid common mistakes in interpretation, you also will benefit from the depth and breadth of his experience and his clear and honest style. This is the complete sourcebook on CSS.

The 3rd edition contains:

  • Updates to reflect changes in the latest draft version of CSS 2.1;
  • Browser notes updated to reflect changes between IE6 and IE7;
  • Advanced selectors supported in IE7 and other major browsers included;
  • A new round of technical edits by a fresh set of editors;
  • Clarifications and corrected errata, including updated URLs of referenced online resources.

CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems (Kindle — $18.35, paperback — $25.73)

In this practical guide, CSS expert Lea Verou provides 47 undocumented techniques and tips to help intermediate-to advanced CSS developers devise elegant solutions to a wide range of everyday web design problems.

Rather than focus on design, CSS Secrets shows you how to solve problems with code. You’ll learn how to apply Lea’s analytical approach to practically every CSS problem you face to attain DRY, maintainable, flexible, lightweight, and standards-compliant results.

Inspired by her popular talks at over 60 international web development conferences, Lea Verou provides a wealth of information for topics including:

  • Backgrounds and Borders;
  • Shapes;
  • Visual Effects;
  • Typography;
  • User Experience;
  • Structure and Layout;
  • Transitions and Animations.

CSS: The Missing Manual (Kindle — $18.35, paperback — $25.43)

CSS lets you create professional-looking websites, but learning its finer points can be tricky — even for seasoned web developers. This fully updated edition provides the most modern and effective tips, tricks, and tutorial-based instruction on CSS available today. Learn how to use new tools such as Flexbox and Sass to build web pages that look great and run fast on any desktop or mobile device. Ideal for casual and experienced designers alike.

The important stuff you need to know:

  • Start with the basics. Write CSS-friendly HTML, including the HTML5 tags recognized by today’s browsers.
  • Design for mobile devices. Create web pages that look great when visitors use them on the go.
  • Make your pages work for you. Add animations that capture the imagination, and forms that get the job done.
  • Take control of page layouts. Use professional design techniques such as floats and positioning.
  • Make your layouts more flexible. Design websites with Flexbox that adjust to different devices and screen sizes.
  • Work more efficiently. Write less CSS code and work with smaller files, using Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets (Sass).

The Book of CSS3: A Developer’s Guide to the Future of Web Design (Kindle — $15.37, paperback — $22.76)

This completely updated second edition of the best-selling Book of CSS3 distills the dense technical language of the CSS3 specification into plain English and shows you what CSS3 can do now, in all major browsers. You’ll find fully revised coverage of the updated syntax of gradients, grids, and flexible box layout, as well as all-new chapters on values and sizing, and graphical effects like filter effects and blend modes.

With an abundance of real-world examples and a focus on the principles of good design, The Book of CSS3 will help you expand your CSS skills, as you learn how to:

  • Style text with custom font choices, drop shadows, and other effects;
  • Create, position, and resize background images on the fly;
  • Spice up static web pages with event-driven transitions and animations;
  • Apply 2D and 3D transformations to text and images;
  • Use linear and radial gradients to create smooth color transitions;
  • Take control of layout with grids, columns, and flexible alignment;
  • Tailor a website’s appearance to every type of web-capable device.

CSS Pocket Reference (Kindle — $8.96, paperback — $9.43)

When you’re working with CSS and need a quick answer, CSS Pocket Reference delivers. This handy, concise book provides all of the essential information you need to implement CSS on the fly. Ideal for intermediate to advanced web designers and developers, the 4th edition is revised and updated for CSS3, the latest version of the Cascading Style Sheet specification. Along with a complete alphabetical reference to CSS3 selectors and properties, you’ll also find a short introduction to the key concepts of CSS.

Based on Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, this reference is an easy-to-use cheatsheet of the CSS specifications you need for any task at hand. This book helps you:

  • Quickly find and adapt the style elements you need;
  • Learn how CSS3 features complement and extend your CSS practices;
  • Discover new value types and new CSS selectors;
  • Implement drop shadows, multiple backgrounds, rounded corners, and border images;
  • Get new information about transforms and transitions.

CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions (Kindle — $26.05, paperback — $28.68)

CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions is your indispensable guide to cutting-edge CSS development―this book demystifies the secrets of CSS. While CSS is a relatively simple technology to learn, it is a difficult one to master. When you first start developing sites using CSS, you will come across all kinds of infuriating browser bugs and inconsistencies. It sometimes feels like there are a million and one different techniques to master, spread across a bewildering array of websites. The range of possibilities seems endless and makes for a steep and daunting learning curve.

While most books concentrate on basic skills, this one is different, assuming that you already know the basics and why you should be using CSS in your work, and concentrating mainly on advanced techniques. This new edition covers all of the CSS fundamentals such as the importance of meaningful markup, how to structure and maintain your code, and how the CSS layout model really works.

This new edition contains:

  • New examples and updated browser support information;
  • Full coverage of modular CSS and responsive design;
  • Essential information on CSS typography and layout control.

What You’ll Learn

  • Discover the best practice concepts in CSS design;
  • Master the most important (and tricky) parts of CSS;
  • Identify and fix the most common CSS problems;
  • Deal with the most common bugs;
  • See the latest information on CSS features and support.

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Have a nice day!

Bradley Nice,
Content Manager at — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors