Anthony Zinni shows you how to use CSS to make a liquid page layout that expands on screen and adapts for print.
With the growing variation of computers and monitor resolutions hitting the market, designing a website that intelligently fills available screen space has become a critical concern. Liquid layouts expand to fill high-end widescreen monitors and avoid forcing viewers with older hardware to endure a lesser experience. However, this flexibility comes with its own set of technical restrictions and design considerations.
The subject of liquid layouts is a complex one, but after completing this simple tutorial you'll have gained all the necessary fundamentals. We'll use CSS to control the overall width of the website and make sure that blocks of copy remain within a comfortable line length for reading. Then we'll review a technique to crop images and maintain a consistent column structure, and add a conditional style sheet to make sure the layout works in older versions of Internet Explorer. Finally, we'll use a print style sheet to adapt our liquid layout for an optimised printout of the website.