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Mention the use of CSS in print media to people who work regularly on web design and they’re most likely to come up with the term print style sheets. We all know about creation of style sheets that are summoned whenever a web document gets printed. These sheets make sure that the print version of a web page is legible and doesn’t lead to the printing of unwanted images or content on it. However, it must be noted that CSS is also actively used in formatting of brochures, catalogs and books – the content that was never meant to take the shape of a web page.

In this short article, we’ll talk about use of CSS in creation of page and print media, instead of web pages that are meant to be viewed in web browsers.

Why cascading style Sheets (CSS) and hypertext markup language (HTML) make sense in print media?
Although it may seem a little strange that content which was never meant to be published on the internet should be maintained in the form of HTML files and formatted with the help of CSS, you may be able to make more sense of it when made aware of the fact that popular e-reader formats like MOBI and EPUB are actually CSS and HTML under the hood! Additionally, even if you don’t need to publish a catalog or a manuscript in entirety on a website, a part of it may most likely be given that form in the future.
Hypertext markup language becomes a pretty handy format to use as a standard, as it’s fairly easy to deal with and use. Furthermore, it’s much easier than having to dump everything inside a conventional desktop publishing package or a Word document.

How CSS for print is different from CSS for web?
The biggest conceptual shift or difference in case of print media is that the printed documents normally belong to a fixed size page model.
While in case of webpages we don’t have any idea about the viewport size, in print format every page has a fixed size. Owing to this fixed page size, the document needs to be considered as a collection of different pages (paged media) instead of a web page that’s a continuous media.
Paged media features concepts that have no relevance on the Internet. For instance, you are required to insert chapter titles, generate page numbers and their content in a manner that there is no incoherence. You may need to create tables of content, indexes, footnotes and cross references from the document. You can import the entire document into a desktop publishing software and create everything by hand, but you’ll need to redo everything when you update the copy next time. This is where CSS comes into the picture. In case of CSS, the specifications are designed for the creation of paged media.