The inherit value of CSS

In many styles, there will be time where it is uncertain what things could change over time, yet something must be done to stop the browser defaults. This is where the inherit value in CSS can help.

Consider the lowly a tag. It starts life in the browser as a #0000EE in color. But, what if the design has a mix of a tags within the navbar? Certainly, we wouldn't want to leave the default color there and our designer has sent us a mockup that shows the text in the navbar to be #626e67.

We could set our .top-nav a color to #626e67. But, our design also has some non-link text elements in the navbar that need to be #626e67. So, if we styled each to have the same color, we would be duplicating and doubling our work. Instead, we could use the inherit value in CSS to tell our a tags to use the value of their parent element.

So our styles could look like this:

.top-nav {
  color: #626e67;
  /* Other Styles for .top-nav*/

.top-nav__link {
  color: inherit;

Now if we need to change the text color for our entire top nav, we can change one color value and then the .top-nav__links will follow along.

Some other rules that are handy to use inherit with:

  • font-size
  • line-height
  • border (for buttons and inputs)

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