How can I vertically align elements in a div?

Wow, this problem is popular. It’s based on a misunderstanding in the vertical-align property. This excellent article explains it:

Understanding vertical-align, or “How (Not) To Vertically Center Content” by Gavin Kistner.

“How to center in CSS” is a great web tool which helps to find the necessary CSS centering attributes for different situations.

In a nutshell (and to prevent link rot):

  • Inline elements (and only inline elements) can be vertically aligned in their context via vertical-align: middle. However, the “context” isn’t the whole parent container height, it’s the height of the text line they’re in. jsfiddle example
  • For block elements, vertical alignment is harder and strongly depends on the specific situation:
    • If the inner element can have a fixed height, you can make its position absolute and specify its height, margin-top and top position. jsfiddle example
    • If the centered element consists of a single line and its parent height is fixed you can simply set the container’s line-height to fill its height. This method is quite versatile in my experience. jsfiddle example
    • … there are more such special cases.

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