Top Tools to Debug Your CSS

Writing CSS is so much easier when you have access to a debugger or a CSS validator. These tools allow you to identify and fix anything that might be wrong with your code, and many of the developer tools also let you edit the content of a live site, which provides invaluable support during a re-design or when trying to find errors. Here are some of our favorite debuggers and validators:

1. Web Developer Extension


This is an extension that can be downloaded and added to Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, and it will run on any OS that supports these browsers. It adds a toolbar to your browser that can be used to inspect your CSS elements in an effort to debug or test out changes.

2. Firebug

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Firebug is a tool that can be used exclusively with Firefox to edit and debug any CSS, HTML, and JavaScript on live webpages. The tool can be used to find errors, filter your code, and tweak your CSS.

3. Google Developer Tools

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This powerful and useful editing and debugging tool comes with any Google Chrome installation. And can be used to edit, debug, and tweak your code.

4. W3 CSS Validation Service

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If something is wrong with your CSS that you can’t quite pinpoint, a CSS validator is a great tool to make sure that your formatting is correct and that there aren’t any glaring errors.

5. CSS Lint

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CSS Lint is a really useful validator that will not only validate your code, but you can always use it to pick and choose which errors and warnings to test for.

Using CSS to Create a Fixed Header

Fixed headers are a popular trend in web design, and adding one to your site can be as easy as adding a position: fixed line to your CSS, but often it’s a little more complicated than that. Some other styling factors you’ll need to consider are top, width, and z-index. It’s important that you set […]

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How to Style Mandatory Fields with CSS3 Pseudo-Selectors

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It’s not uncommon for mandatory fields in a form to be marked as such — often these fields are marked with an asterisk or with a colored border around the input so that the user is aware that the particular form can’t be submitted without the required fields being filled out. With CSS3’s pseudo-selector :required, […]

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How To Use CSS3’s :not() Pseudo Selector

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CSS3’s :not pseudo selector makes it possible for you to select and apply styling to every type of element except one. This handy little trick can save you from having to manually write a lot of CSS code, because in just one line you can define a style to be applied to certain elements while […]

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Create Drop Caps Using CSS3

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A drop cap is the first letter of a paragraph or a text block that is larger and usually styled differently from the rest of the letters. This can be done a number of different ways, including inserting <span> tags into your HTML, but one effective and quick way to do it is by using […]

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Quick Tip: How to Minify Your CSS

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Minifying your CSS basically means to get rid of all of the unnecessary characters (spaces, line breaks, etc) to strip down your stylesheets so that only what is absolutely essential to run the code remains. Putting your CSS through this process makes your code more lightweight and can help to increase the speed and efficiency of […]

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CSS3’s Content Property

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CSS3’s content property allows for content to be added to the page from within the CSS. This is useful in styling, but it’s especially useful if for some reason you don’t have access to or don’t want to edit your HTML files. The content property is used in conjunction with the :before and :after pseudo-selectors to […]

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How to Use CSS’s Counter-Reset Property

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Most developers probably think of CSS as a means to bring designs to life, but CSS3 is capable of going beyond aesthetics. CSS3’s counter-reset property can actually be used to assign chronological numbers to certain sections and subsections of your HTML, which you can then use number certain elements. For this example, we’ll use the property to […]

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CSS3’s Font Shorthand

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There are many CSS font properties available to style your fonts. If you need to define the font-style, size, family, and weight, that can add up to a lot of lines of CSS. Fortunately, however, there is a shorthand for CSS font properties. Here’s the formula: Make sure you don’t forget the forward slash between […]

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Using CSS3’s Outline Property

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CSS3’s outline property is one that is often thought to be interchangeable with the border property. Though the two properties are very similar, the outline property can actually be used to place an outline OUTSIDE of a defined border. There are three facets of the outline property: outline-style, outline-color, and outline-width. Outline-style takes a bunch […]

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