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How can I center an absolutely positioned element in a div?


Question

I need to place a div (with position:absolute;) element in the center of my window. But I am having problems doing so, because the width is unknown.

I tried this. But it needs to be adjusted as the width is responsive.

.center {
  left: 50%;
  bottom: 5px;
}

How can I do it?

2020/06/20
1
1119
6/20/2020 9:31:33 AM

Accepted Answer

<body>
  <div style="position: absolute; left: 50%;">
    <div style="position: relative; left: -50%; border: dotted red 1px;">
      I am some centered shrink-to-fit content! <br />
      tum te tum
    </div>
  </div>
</body>

2016/09/09
1371
9/9/2016 9:41:38 AM


Responsive Solution

Here is a good solution for responsive design or unknown dimensions in general if you don't need to support IE8 and lower.

.centered-axis-x {
    position: absolute;
    left: 50%;
    transform: translate(-50%, 0);
}

.outer {
    position: relative; /* or absolute */
    
    /* unnecessary styling properties */
    margin: 5%;
    width: 80%;
    height: 500px;
    border: 1px solid red;
}

.inner {
    position: absolute;
    left: 50%;
    top: 50%;
    transform: translate(-50%, -50%);
    
    /* unnecessary styling properties */
    max-width: 50%;
    text-align: center;
    border: 1px solid blue;
}
<div class="outer">
    <div class="inner">I'm always centered<br/>doesn't matter how much text, height or width i have.<br/>The dimensions or my parent are irrelevant as well</div>
</div>

Here is a JS Fiddle

The clue is, that left: 50% is relative to the parent while the translate transform is relative to the elements width/height.

This way you have a perfectly centered element, with a flexible width on both child and parent. Bonus: this works even if the child is bigger than the parent.

You can also center it vertically with this (and again, width and height of parent and child can be totally flexible (and/or unknown)):

.centered-axis-xy {
    position: absolute;
    left: 50%;
    top: 50%;
    transform: translate(-50%,-50%);
}

Keep in mind that you might need transform vendor prefixed as well. For example -webkit-transform: translate(-50%,-50%);

2020/06/20

I just wanted to add if someone wants to do it with a single div tag then here is the way out:

Taking width as 900px.

#styleName {
    position: absolute;
    left: 50%;
    width: 900px;
    margin-left: -450px;
}

In this case one should know the width beforehand.

2020/06/20

Absolute Centre

HTML:

<div class="parent">
  <div class="child">
    <!-- content -->
  </div>
</div>

CSS:

.parent {
  position: relative;
}

.child {
  position: absolute;
  
  top: 0;
  right: 0;
  bottom: 0;
  left: 0;

  margin: auto;
}

Demo: http://jsbin.com/rexuk/2/

It was tested in Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 8.

2020/06/20

This works for vertical and horizontal:

#myContent{
    position: absolute;
    left: 0;
    right: 0;
    top: 0;
    bottom: 0;
    margin: auto;
}

And if you want make an element center of the parent, set the position of the parent relative:

#parentElement{
    position: relative
}
  • For vertical center align, set the height to your element. Thanks to Raul.

  • If you want make an element center of the parent, set the position of the parent to relative

2020/06/20

If you need to center horizontally and vertically too:

left: 50%;
top: 50%;
transform: translate(-50%, -50%);
2019/02/15

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1776915
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