How To Reset/Remove CSS From HTML Element – Simple Examples

Welcome to a quick tutorial on how to remove or reset CSS styles from an HTML element. So a certain element on your webpage is showing the wrong CSS styles and needs to be reset?

  • To reset a single CSS property for an element – #ID { PROPERTY: initial; }
  • To reset all CSS styles for an HTML element – #ID { all: initial; }
  • We can also use Javascript to reset the CSS styles – document.getElementById("ID").style.all = "initial";

That covers the basics, but resetting CSS styles is actually not that simple. Let us walk through a few examples in this guide – Read on!

ⓘ I have included a zip file with all the example source code at the start of this tutorial, so you don’t have to copy-paste everything… Or if you just want to dive straight in.

 

 

REAL QUICK SLIDES

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Download & Notes CSS Reset Useful Bits & Links
The End

 

DOWNLOAD & NOTES

Firstly, here is the download link to the example code as promised.

 

EXAMPLE CODE DOWNLOAD

Click here to download the source code, I have released it under the MIT license, so feel free to build on top of it or use it in your own project.

 

QUICK NOTES

If you spot a bug, please feel free to comment below. I try to answer questions too, but it is one person versus the entire world… If you need answers urgently, please check out my list of websites to get help with programming.

 

 

CSS RESET

All right, let us now get into the examples on how to reset CSS styles, and how they work exactly.

 

THE 4 HORSEMEN OF RESET

In the introduction, we have only used inherit. But in actual fact, there are more ways to “reset” CSS styles:

Reset Value Description Reference Link
initial Reverts the CSS value back to the “browser default”. Click Here
inherit Restores the CSS value to follow the parent. Click Here
unset Attempt to revert to the inherited value first. If none is defined, it will revert to the initial value. Click Here
revert Restore back to the user style sheet first. If none is defined, it will go back to the initial. Click Here

Yes, it’s kind of confusing. Let us walk through simple examples to better explain each one.

 

1) RESET TO INITIAL

1-initial.html
<!-- (A) CSS STYLES -->
<style>
#demoA-parent { color: red; }
#demoA-child { color: green; }
</style>
 
<!-- (B) HTML -->
<div id="demoA-parent">
  <p>Red</p>
  <p id="demoA-child" onclick="this.style.color='initial'">
    Green - Click To Reset
  </p>
</div> 

Red

Green – Click To Reset

For you guys who are still new to CSS, here is what happens.

  • When we set #demoA-parent { color: red }, all the children will also adopt this style. Both <p> inside will have red text.
  • #demoA-child { color: green } will override and turn the text green.
  • When we set #demoA-child { color: initial }, it will do a hard reset and revert to the browser default black (instead of red).

 

 

2) RESET TO INHERIT 

2-inherit.html
<!-- (A) CSS STYLES -->
<style>
#demoB-parent { color: red; }
#demoB-child { color: green; }
</style>

<!-- (B) HTML -->
<div id="demoB-parent">
  <p>Red</p>
  <p id="demoB-child" onclick="this.style.color='inherit'">
    Green - Click To Reset
  </p>
</div>

Red

Green – Click To Reset

Following up from the previous example, we now reset to inherit instead. Take note of how it reverts to the parent’s red instead of the browser default black.

 

3) UNSET

3-unset.html
<!-- (A) CSS STYLES -->
<style>
#demoC-parent { color: red; }
#demoC-child, #demoD-child { color: green; }
</style>

<!-- (B) HTML -->
<div id="demoC-parent">
  <p id="demoC-child" onclick="this.style.color='unset'">
    Parent Red - Click To Reset
  </p>
</div>
<div id="demoD-parent">
  <p id="demoD-child" onclick="this.style.color='unset'">
    Parent None - Click To Reset
  </p>
</div>

Parent Red – Click To Reset

Parent None – Click To Reset

Now, unset is a “selective” one – If the parent has a user-defined style, it will resolve to use inherit. If not, it will resolve to use initial instead.

  • #demoC-parent is set to color: red, while #demoD-parent is not.
  • So when we set #demoC-child { color: unset }, it will resolve to inherit and turns red.
  • But when we set #demoD-child { color: unset }, it will resolve to initial and turns black.

 

 

4) REVERT

4-revert.html
<!-- (A) CSS STYLES -->
<style>
#demoE { color: red; }
</style>

<div id="demoE" onclick="this.style.color='revert'">
  Click To Revert
</div>
Click To Revert

To fully understand how revert works, we have to go back to the basics of CSS first. The term “cascading” actually comes from the various places where the styles can be defined. In general, there are 3 sources of stylesheets:

  • Author Style Sheet – Styles defined by the developer of the website. This one has the highest priority.
  • User Style Sheet – The customizations that users set in their own browsers. I.E. Use a different font, different font size, font color, etc…
  • User-Agent Style Sheet – This is the “browser default”. Has the lowest priority.

Now, revert is confusing in the sense that:

  • initial will revert to the user-agent style sheet (browser default).
  • revert will try the user style sheet (user customization) first. If none is found, it will go back to initial.

 

 

USEFUL BITS & LINKS

That’s all for the tutorial, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.

 

INFOGRAPHIC CHEAT SHEET

CSS Reset (Click To Enlarge)

 

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

THE END

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end. I hope that it has helped you to better understand, and if you want to share anything with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy coding!

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