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How to align checkboxes and their labels consistently cross-browsers


Question

This is one of the minor CSS problems that plagues me constantly. How do folks around Stack Overflow vertically align checkboxes and their labels consistently cross-browser? Whenever I align them correctly in Safari (usually using vertical-align: baseline on the input), they're completely off in Firefox and IE. Fix it in Firefox, and Safari and IE are inevitably messed up. I waste time on this every time I code a form.

Here's the standard code that I work with:

<form>
    <div>
        <label><input type="checkbox" /> Label text</label>
    </div>
</form>

I usually use Eric Meyer's reset, so form elements are relatively clean of overrides. Looking forward to any tips or tricks that you have to offer!

2018/02/23
1
1751
2/23/2018 4:24:11 AM

Accepted Answer

After over an hour of tweaking, testing, and trying different styles of markup, I think I may have a decent solution. The requirements for this particular project were:

  1. Inputs must be on their own line.
  2. Checkbox inputs need to align vertically with the label text similarly (if not identically) across all browsers.
  3. If the label text wraps, it needs to be indented (so no wrapping down underneath the checkbox).

Before I get into any explanation, I'll just give you the code:

label {
  display: block;
  padding-left: 15px;
  text-indent: -15px;
}
input {
  width: 13px;
  height: 13px;
  padding: 0;
  margin:0;
  vertical-align: bottom;
  position: relative;
  top: -1px;
  *overflow: hidden;
}
<form>
  <div>
    <label><input type="checkbox" /> Label text</label>
  </div>
</form>

Here is the working example in JSFiddle.

This code assumes that you're using a reset like Eric Meyer's that doesn't override form input margins and padding (hence putting margin and padding resets in the input CSS). Obviously in a live environment you'll probably be nesting/overriding stuff to support other input elements, but I wanted to keep things simple.

Things to note:

  • The *overflow declaration is an inline IE hack (the star-property hack). Both IE 6 and 7 will notice it, but Safari and Firefox will properly ignore it. I think it might be valid CSS, but you're still better off with conditional comments; just used it for simplicity.
  • As best I can tell, the only vertical-align statement that was consistent across browsers was vertical-align: bottom. Setting this and then relatively positioning upwards behaved almost identically in Safari, Firefox and IE with only a pixel or two of discrepancy.
  • The major problem in working with alignment is that IE sticks a bunch of mysterious space around input elements. It isn't padding or margin, and it's damned persistent. Setting a width and height on the checkbox and then overflow: hidden for some reason cuts off the extra space and allows IE's positioning to act very similarly to Safari and Firefox.
  • Depending on your text sizing, you'll no doubt need to adjust the relative positioning, width, height, and so forth to get things looking right.

Hope this helps someone else! I haven't tried this specific technique on any projects other than the one I was working on this morning, so definitely pipe up if you find something that works more consistently.

2016/08/05
1017
8/5/2016 10:54:58 PM

Sometimes vertical-align needs two inline (span, label, input, etc...) elements next to each other to work properly. The following checkboxes are properly vertically centered in IE, Safari, FF, and Chrome, even if the text size is very small or large.

They all float next to each other on the same line, but the nowrap means that the whole label text always stays next to the checkbox.

The downside is the extra meaningless SPAN tags.

.checkboxes label {
  display: inline-block;
  padding-right: 10px;
  white-space: nowrap;
}
.checkboxes input {
  vertical-align: middle;
}
.checkboxes label span {
  vertical-align: middle;
}
<form>
  <div class="checkboxes">
    <label for="x"><input type="checkbox" id="x" /> <span>Label text x</span></label>
    <label for="y"><input type="checkbox" id="y" /> <span>Label text y</span></label>
    <label for="z"><input type="checkbox" id="z" /> <span>Label text z</span></label>
  </div>
</form>

Now, if you had a very long label text that needed to wrap without wrapping under the checkbox, you'd use padding and negative text indent on the label elements:

.checkboxes label {
  display: block;
  padding-right: 10px;
  padding-left: 22px;
  text-indent: -22px;
}
.checkboxes input {
  vertical-align: middle;
}
.checkboxes label span {
  vertical-align: middle;
}
<form>
  <div class="checkboxes">
    <label for="x"><input type="checkbox" id="x" /> <span>Label text x so long that it will probably wrap so let's see how it goes with the proposed CSS (expected: two lines are aligned nicely)</span></label>
    <label for="y"><input type="checkbox" id="y" /> <span>Label text y</span></label>
    <label for="z"><input type="checkbox" id="z" /> <span>Label text z</span></label>
  </div>
</form>

2019/06/09

Working off of One Crayon's solution, I have something that works for me and is simpler:

.font2 {font-family:Arial; font-size:32px} /* Sample font */

input[type=checkbox], input[type=radio] {
  vertical-align: middle;
  position: relative;
  bottom: 1px;
}

input[type=radio] { 
  bottom: 2px; 
} 
<label><input type="checkbox" /> Label text</label>
<p class="font2">
  <label><input type="checkbox"/> Label text</label>
</p>

Renders pixel-for-pixel the same in Safari (whose baseline I trust) and both Firefox and IE7 check out as good. It also works for various label font sizes, big and small. Now, for fixing IE's baseline on selects and inputs...


Update: (Third-Party Edit)

The proper bottom position depends on font-family and font-size! I found using bottom: .08em; for checkbox & radio elements is a good general value. I tested it in Chrome/Firefox/IE11 in windows with Arial & Calibri fonts using several small/mid/large font-sizes.

.font2, .font2 input {font-family:Arial; font-size:32px} /* Sample font */

input[type=checkbox], input[type=radio] {
  vertical-align: middle; 
  position: relative;
  bottom: .08em; /* this is a better value for different fonts! */
}
<label><input type="checkbox" /> Label text</label> 

<p class="font2">
  <label><input type="checkbox"/> Label text</label>
</p>

2019/01/30

One easy thing that seems to work well is to apply a adjust the vertical position of the checkbox with vertical-align. It will still be vary across browsers, but the solution is uncomplicated.

input {
    vertical-align: -2px;
}

Reference

2015/07/30

try vertical-align: middle

also your code seems like it should be:

<form>
    <div>
        <input id="blah" type="checkbox"><label for="blah">Label text</label>
    </div>
</form>

2017/11/12

Try my solution, I tried it in IE 6, FF2 and Chrome and it renders pixel by pixel in all the three browsers.

* {
  padding: 0px;
  margin: 0px;
}
#wb {
  width: 15px;
  height: 15px;
  float: left;
}
#somelabel {
  float: left;
  padding-left: 3px;
}
<div>
  <input id="wb" type="checkbox" />
  <label for="wb" id="somelabel">Web Browser</label>
</div>

2016/08/06

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/306252
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