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Position: fixed CSS templates

In 2006 I wrote an article about simulating Frames and Iframes and from time to time, I get questions of how to make modifications to the templates presented. But one big thing has changed since 2006: Perfect support for IE6 is no longer mandatory.

So yesterday, when Brandon Cobb of Super Fighter Team asked about a design with a fixed header, fixed left column, and scrolling right column, I thought I’d renew my take on simulating frames with CSS (The original article is still good for background information, so I still recommend reading it).

Position: fixed CSS templates

The idea is this: Instead of specifying what parts of the page should scroll, we can specify what parts should stay fixed when scrolling. This makes it easier to deal with several fixed parts of the same layout, but also allows us do to things frames cannot do.

So what’s the trick? Well, position: fixed does exactly what we want. It works just like position: absolute, but it stays still when the page is scrolled. So it’s really just a matter of making sure things don’t overlap.

Try resizing the page, and see how the scrolling works. The templates have been tested in: Fx 3.5, IE8, IE7, IE6 (see note below), Opera 10, Safari 4; all on Windows. Let me know if you can test it on more browsers, or find bugs.

You’re of course free to use this templates as you see fit, with or without a link back, commercially or not. Consider it public domain.

Fixes for IE6

As I’ve said, these designs don’t act the same in IE6. Instead of some parts being fixed, the whole page scrolls in IE6. The good thing about this is that IE6 users won’t see that your site is “broken”, they will just get another design. And as the number of IE6 users goes towards zero, your design will be more and more consistent :). The fallback is very simple, IE6 gets position: absolute instead of fixed, using the !important hack (you should probably use conditional comments instead).

Hope these templates are useful for some of you!

Friendly Bit is a blog by Emil Stenström, a Swedish interface developer and web strategist that blogs about the modern web and how to make best use of it.