Add scroll margin to all elements which can be targeted


We can add an extra bit of space to targeted elements, thanks to modern CSS!

You can target an element with HTML by giving it an id then in the URL bar, adding a reference to that id, prefixed with a #, like so:

Code language
<h2 id="my-lovely-heading">Hello</h2>
Code language

With this set up, the browser will automatically scroll the user to that targeted element. It’s why you often find this pattern in long-form writing, such as on this site. What’s been problematic in the past though, is that targeted element will be flush to the top of the viewport when the browser has finished scrolling—not ideal.

Luckily, CSS has our back with scroll-margin-top. A pro tip is to add this to all elements with an id in your project.

Code language
[id] {
  scroll-margin-top: 2ex;

The extra fancy part is by using 2ex, we use the x-height of the chosen font and its size, twice. Handy! You can read more about these sort of units, here.

An extra bonus pro tip is to style the targeted element with the :target pseudo-class and use some native smooth scrolling, just like I did in the below demo 👇



If you liked this post, you might like these ones, too

  1. Improve the readability of the content on your website

    Learning how to make long-form content, like blog posts, read well is a valuable and transferable design skill to learn. In this tutorial, we’re looking at how CSS gives us all the tools we need to achieve this, as a compliment to semantic HTML.

  2. Create a semantic breakout button to make an entire element clickable

  3. Contains CSS attribute selector

    🔥 A handy quick tip.


Become a supporter by joining the Piccalilli Membership

For as little a $5 per month, you can get access to a private, friendly community, get a weekly newsletter and help to make as much content free as possible around here. If you join the $10 per month supporters club, you get access to premium tutorials and free access to mini courses!

Become a member

Sign up for updates

Stay up to date with updates from Piccalilli. You’ll get alerted as soon as any new content gets published. You’ll also get updates on upcoming courses and membership features! You can unsubscribe at any time, too.