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The max-width property in CSS is used to set the maximum width of a specified element. Themax-width property overrides the width property, but min-width will always override max-width whether followed before or after width in your declaration. Authors may use any of the length values as long as they are a positive value.

.wrapper {
  width: 100%;
  max-width: 20em; /* Will be AT MOST 20em wide */
}

.wrapper {
  min-width: 50em; /* Overrides max-width */
  width: 100%;
  max-width: 20em; /* Will be AT MOST 20em wide */
}
<h1>max-width</h1>

<figure class="demo">
  <p class="max max600">Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo.</p>
  <figcaption>Width = 80% / Maximum Width = 600px</figcaption>
</figure>

<figure class="demo">
  <p class="max max320">Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo.</p>
  <figcaption>Width = 100% / Maximum Width = 320px</figcaption>
</figure>

<figure class="demo">
  <p class="max max-percent">Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo.</p>
  <figcaption>Width = 100% / Maximum Width = 50%</figcaption>
</figure>

<figure class="demo">
  <p class="max em40">Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo.</p>
  <figcaption>Width = 100% / Maximum Width = 40em</figcaption>
</figure>

<figure class="demo">
  <p class="max rem40">Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Vestibulum tortor quam, feugiat vitae, ultricies eget, tempor sit amet, ante. Donec eu libero sit amet quam egestas semper. Aenean ultricies mi vitae est. Mauris placerat eleifend leo.</p>
  <figcaption>Width = 100% / Maximum Width = 40rem</figcaption>
</figure>

<h3>Tables</h3>
<figure class="demo">
  <table class="max maxtable">
		<thead>
			<tr>
				<th class="chrome"><span>Chrome</span></th>
				<th class="safari"><span>Safari</span></th>
				<th class="firefox"><span>Firefox</span></th>
				<th class="opera"><span>Opera</span></th>
				<th class="ie"><span>IE</span></th>
				<th class="android"><span>Android</span></th>
				<th class="iOS"><span>iOS</span></th>
			</tr>
		</thead>
		<tbody>
			<tr>
				<td class="yep-nope">24 </td>
				<td class="yep-nope">5.1 </td>
				<td class="yep-nope">18 </td>
				<td class="yep-nope">12.1 </td>
				<td class="yep-nope">8 </td>
				<td class="yep-nope">1.0 </td>
				<td class="yep-nope">2.1 </td>
			</tr>
		</tbody>
	</table>
  <figcaption>Width = 100% / Maximum Width = 600px</figcaption>
</figure>

<footer>
  <p><small>*These examples use the entire viewport width in order to understand and grasp the concepts outlined. Squeeze your browser to witness the results.</small></p>
</footer>
//========================================
// $Global Styles
//========================================

html {
  background: #444444;
  color: #ffffff;
}

.demo {
  background: #000;
}


//========================================
// $Maximum Width Demo
//========================================

.max {
  background: #e78629;
}


// Max-Width Length Values
// ========================================

// maximum 600px
.max600 {
  width: 80%;
  max-width: 600px;
}

// maximum 320px
.max320 {
  width: 100%;
  max-width: 320px;
}

// maximum 50%
.max-percent {
  width: 100%;
  max-width: 50%;
}

// maximum 40em
.em40 {
  width: 100%;
  max-width: 40em;
}

// maximum 40rem
.rem40 {
  width: 100%;
  max-width: 40rem;
}


// Max-Width TABLES
// ========================================

// maximum 30em
.maxtable {
  width: 100%;
  max-width: 600px;
}

Be mindful when assuming max-width is inherited as this property does not inherit from other parent elements. If a width of 300px has been defined with a max-width of 600px, the initialwidth value will always override the max-width value of 600px.

Related Properties

Browser Support

Chrome Safari Firefox Opera IE Android iOS
24+ 5.1+ 18+ 12.1+ 8+ 2.1+ 3.2+