Saturday 3 February 2024

What are Universal selectors?072

 What are Universal selectors?

Universal selectors, denoted by an asterisk (*), represent a unique type of selector in CSS that allows you to target all elements on an HTML page in a single rule. While potentially convenient, their use comes with caveats due to potential specificity conflicts and maintainability concerns.

How it works:

  • Include * within your CSS rule:


* {
  /* Styles applied here will affect all elements */
  margin: 0;
  padding: 0;
  box-sizing: border-box;

  • This example resets default margins and padding for all elements.

When to use (cautiously):

  • Global CSS resets: As shown above, applying basic styles universally can quickly reset default element margins and padding across the page.

  • Temporary testing: For quick experimentation or visual checks, you can temporarily use the universal selector to style all elements.

When to avoid:

  • General Styling: Avoid using it for defining core styles, as it can lead to unintended consequences and difficulty in overriding styles for specific elements later.

  • Specificity issues: The universal selector has very low specificity, which means it's easily overridden by other more specific selectors, making it unreliable for consistent styling.

  • Maintainability: Overusing the universal selector can make your code harder to understand and maintain, especially in larger projects.


  • CSS resets: Consider using dedicated CSS reset stylesheets or frameworks like Normalize.css or Bootstrap to establish a baseline consistently across elements.

  • Targeted selectors: For general styling, prioritize using element selectors, class selectors, or attribute selectors to target specific groups of elements based on their type, class, or attributes.

  • Preprocessors: Explore CSS preprocessors like Sass or LESS, which offer features like variables and mixins to achieve cleaner and more modular styling without relying on the universal selector.

Remember: The universal selector can be a convenient tool for specific use cases, but use it sparingly and strategically to avoid potential maintenance and specificity issues in your CSS code.

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