How to Generate Runtime Multi-columns with CSS3

How to Generate Runtime Multi-columns with CSS3

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Multi-columns with CSS3

How to do Multi-columns with CSS3

Have you ever had the need to create multi-column layout to display any information? What looks like the columns of newspapers. I think that your answer is – yes. And many of you may have implemented it using just ordinary DIV (or other) elements, with the property float: left. More recently – CSS3 gives us his alternative. You do not need to be cut into blocks of text output – multi-column layout is quite possible to do using a single element.

In our example we will use the new CSS3 properties: column-count, column-gap and column-rule. It is possible that not all browsers support these CSS3 styles, but I think – most newer browsers already support them. Here we see that the result should look like:

Multi-columns result

Live Demo
download result

Ok, download the example files and lets start coding !


Step 1. HTML

Here are full html code of our result page. Pay attention – that I have only single DIV element with text.

index.html

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en" >
    <head>
        <meta charset="utf-8" />
        <title>Multi-columns with CSS3 | Script Tutorials</title>
        <link href="css/main.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
        <script type="text/javascript" src="js/jquery-1.5.2.min.js"></script>
        <script type="text/javascript" src="js/script.js"></script>
    </head>
    <body>
        <div class="controls">
            <input type="button" id="more_cols" value="More columns" />
            <input type="button" id="less_cols" value="Less columns" />
            <input type="button" id="more_gap" value="More gap" />
            <input type="button" id="less_gap" value="Less gap" />
        </div>

        <div class="container" id="container">
            <p>The King sat naked. Like a foolish pauper on the street, he sat leaning
            against  a  cold  wall, drawing in his blue, goose-bumped legs. He shivered,
            with his eyes closed, he listened, but everything was quiet.</p>
            <p>He awoke at midnight from a nightmare and immediatelly understood  that
            he  was  finished.  Some  one  weezed and writhed by the door of the bedroom
            suite, he heard footsteps, metalic jingling and  drunken  mummbling  of  His
            Highness,  Uncle  Buht: "Let me through... Let me.. Break it down, hell with
            it..." Wet with icy sweat, he slintly rolled off  his  bed,  ducked  into  a
            secter  closet,  and  loosing  himself  he ran down the underground passage.
            Something sqelched under his bare feet, the startled rats dashed  away,  but
            he  did  not notice anything, just now, sitting next to a wall he remembered
            everything; the darkness, the slippery walls, and the pain from  a  blow  on
            the  head against the shakled door to the temple, and his own unberable high
            yelp.</p>

            <p>They shall not enter here, he thought. No one shall enter here. Only if
            the King  order's  so.  But  the  King  shall  not  order...  He   snickered
            hysterically. Oh no, the King will not order! He carefully un screwed up his
            eyes  and  saw  his  blue, hairless legs with scraped knees. Still alive, he
            thought. I will live, because they shall not enter here.</p>
            <p>Everything in the temple  was  blueish  from  the  cold  light  of  the
            lanterns -- long glowing tubes that were stretched under the ceiling. In the
            center,  God stood on an eminence, big, heavy, with sparkling dead eyes. The
            King continuously and stupidly stared, until God was suddenly screened by  a
            shabby  lay  brother,  still  a  greenhorn. Scraching, with an open mouth he
            gazed at the naked King. The King squinted once again. Scum, he  thought,  a
            lousy  vermine,  catch the mongrel and to the dogs, for them to ravage... He
            reasoned that he did not remember the lout well, but he was  long  gone.  So
            scrawny,   snotty...   That's  all  right,  we'll  remember.  We'll  remeber
            everything, Your Highness, Uncle Buht. During the father's  reighn,  I  dare
            say you sat quietly, drank a bit and kept silent, were afraid to be noticed,
            you knew that King Prostyaga did not forget you ignoble treachery...</p>
        </div>

        <footer>
            <h2>Multi-columns with CSS3</h2>
            <a href="http://www.script-tutorials.com/how-to-do-multi-columns-with-css3/" class="stuts">Back to original tutorial on <span>Script Tutorials</span></a>
        </footer>
    </body>
</html>

Step 2. CSS

Now – all CSS styles

css/main.css

*{
    margin:0;
    padding:0;
}

body {
    background-color:#bababa;
    color:#fff;
    font:14px/1.3 Arial,sans-serif;
}

footer {
    background-color:#212121;
    bottom:0;
    box-shadow: 0 -1px 2px #111111;
    display:block;
    height:70px;
    left:0;
    position:fixed;
    width:100%;
    z-index:100;
}

footer h2{
    font-size:22px;
    font-weight:normal;
    left:50%;
    margin-left:-400px;
    padding:22px 0;
    position:absolute;
    width:540px;
}

footer a.stuts,a.stuts:visited{
    border:none;
    text-decoration:none;
    color:#fcfcfc;
    font-size:14px;
    left:50%;
    line-height:31px;
    margin:23px 0 0 110px;
    position:absolute;
    top:0;
}

footer .stuts span {
    font-size:22px;
    font-weight:bold;
    margin-left:5px;
}

/*new styles*/
.container {
    background:#C5DFF0;
    color:#000;
    margin:20px auto;
    padding:20px;
    position:relative;
    width:800px;

    border-radius:5px;
    -moz-border-radius:5px;
    -webkit-border-radius:5px;

    box-shadow:1px 1px 5px #111111;

    column-count: 3;
    column-gap: 3em;
    column-rule: 1px dashed black;
    -moz-column-count: 3;
    -moz-column-gap: 3em;
    -moz-column-rule: 1px dashed black;
    -webkit-column-count: 3;
    -webkit-column-gap: 3em;
    -webkit-column-rule: 1px dashed black;
}
.controls {
    background:#C5DFF0;
    margin:20px auto;
    padding:20px;
    position:relative;
    width:800px;

    box-shadow:1px 1px 5px #111111;
    border-radius:5px;
    -moz-border-radius:5px;
    -webkit-border-radius:5px;
}
.controls input[type=button] {
    border: 1px solid #000;
    background-color: #666;
    box-shadow: 0 1px 0 rgba(150, 150, 150, 0.5);
    color: #FFF;
    cursor: pointer;
    font-size: 14px;
    font-weight: bold;
    margin-right: 10px;
    padding: 8px 12px;
}
.controls input[type=button]:hover {
    background-color:#444;
}
.controls input[type=button]:active {
    background-color:#000;
}

Most imporant styles is styles of ‘.container’ selector. See how I’m using our new styles.

Step 3. JavaScript

I added some JS functionality, so you can play with the styles (column-count and column-gap) in real time.

js/script.js

$(function(){
    var iColumns = 3;
    var iGap = 3;
    var cont = document.getElementById('container'); 

    $('#less_cols').click(function(e) { // mouse click handler
        iColumns--; // decreasing amount of columns
        if (iColumns < 1) iColumns = 1;
        cont.style.MozColumnCount = iColumns; // apply styles
        cont.style.WebkitColumnCount = iColumns;
    });
    $('#more_cols').click(function(e) {
        iColumns++; // increasing amount of columns
        if (iColumns > 5) iColumns = 5;
        cont.style.MozColumnCount = iColumns; // apply styles
        cont.style.WebkitColumnCount = iColumns;
    });
    $('#less_gap').click(function(e) {
        iGap--; // decreasing value of gap
        if (iGap < 0) iGap = 0;
        cont.style.MozColumnGap = iGap+'em'; // apply styles
        cont.style.WebkitColumnGap = iGap+'em';
    });
    $('#more_gap').click(function(e) {
        iGap++; // increasing value of gap
        if (iGap > 5) iGap = 5;
        cont.style.MozColumnGap = iGap+'em'; // apply styles
        cont.style.WebkitColumnGap = iGap+'em';
    });
});

Live Demo
download result

Conclusion

I hope that our nice tips help you. Good luck!

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