Know Your Size – CSS Units Explained: Part 2 REMs and EMs

Know Your Size – CSS Units Explained: Part 2 REMs and EMs

In CSS REM comes to the Root EM, where EM is a term borrowed from the typography world. It refers to a unit that allows setting the font-size of an element relative to the font-size of its parent 🤯.

You can see here the first part of this article: CSS Units Explained: Part 1 pixels, percentages and viewpoints units.

In CSS REM comes to the Root EM, where EM is a term borrowed from the typography world. It refers to a unit that allows setting the font-size of an element relative to the font-size of its parent .

Anyways, I promise that things will easier after we see these concepts in code.

Let's start with REM, the Root EM. How it works is that you define a font size for the body, and that font-size becomes the base unit of measure:

It's quite nice because if we move to a smaller screen it's enough to update just the font-size of the body all changes. All is relative to the base font-size.

On the other size, EM it's relative to the font-size of the parent container. Let's take the following code

But there is a small gotcha with this em. If em units are used on other properties than font-size, then the value is relative to the element’s own font-size.

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