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CSS Transition

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Mayank Dham

CSS has many features that make it a popular choice among web developers, one of which is transition. Transitions are a very versatile and powerful feature that allows for smooth animation on web pages. With the help of css transitions, you can control the duration and timing of the elements using transitions, and we can also make the project interactive by adding dynamic elements. This article will teach you everything you need to know about CSS transitions, starting with the fundamentals and progressing to properties, syntax, and examples.

What are CSS Transitions?

CSS transitions are a way to create smooth animations between two property values of an element over a specified duration. They provide a way to change the appearance or behavior of elements with dynamic and interactive effects, adding a level of interactivity and engagement to web pages. Transitions allow you to define how the change occurs and how long it takes, making them a powerful tool in modern web design.
Transitions define how an element should transition from one value to another and are applied to CSS properties such as color, background, opacity, width, height, and many others. Transitions can be used to smoothly fade in an element when it becomes visible, animate a button’s hover effect, or create smooth transitions between different states of an element, such as a menu expanding or collapsing.

CSS Transition Properties

CSS transitions are controlled using several properties that define the behavior and appearance of the animation. Let’s take a look at the commonly used properties for transitions:
transition-property: This property defines the CSS property or properties that you want to apply the transition to. You can specify multiple properties separated by commas, and the transition will be applied to all of them.

transition-duration: As the name suggests this property defines the duration of the transition, or how long it takes for the transition to complete. You can specify the duration in seconds (s) or milliseconds (ms).

transition-timing-function: This property defines the timing function that controls the acceleration and deceleration of the transition. It determines how the intermediate property values are calculated during the transition. Common values are ease, linear, ease-in, ease-out, ease-in-out, and cubic-bezier().

transition-delay: As you can guess by the name this property is related to delay but in proper words this property defines a delay before the transition starts. You can specify the delay in seconds (s) or milliseconds (ms).

CSS Transition Syntax

We will learn about the CSS transition syntax in this blog section.

/* shorthand syntax */
transition: [property] [duration] [timing-function] [delay];
/* longhand syntax */
transition-property: [property];
transition-duration: [duration];
transition-timing-function: [timing-function];
transition-delay: [delay];

You can use the shorthand syntax to specify all the properties in a single line, or you can use the longhand syntax to specify each property separately.

CSS Transitions Examples

Let’s take a look at some practical CSS transitions examples to understand how they can be used to enhance web design.

Example 1: Hover Effect on Buttons
In this example we will see the transition property while hovering on the button.


< !DOCTYPE html>
< html lang="en">

< head>
    < meta charset="UTF-8" />
    < meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
    < link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css" />
    < title>Browser
< /head>

< body>
    < button class="btn">Hover me

< /body>
< /html>

CSS Code

.btn {
display: inline-block;
padding: 12px 24px;
background-color: #007bff;
color: #fff;
border: none;
cursor: pointer;
transition: background-color 0.3s ease-in-out; 
/* Hover effect */
.btn:hover {
background-color: red;

Before Transition

After Transition

Explanation of the Above Example
In this example, we have a simple button with a hover effect. When the button is hovered over, the background color smoothly transitions from the initial value of #007bff to the new value of red over a duration of 0.3 seconds, creating a smooth and visually appealing animation.

Example 2: Expanding/Collapsing Menu
Now we will see other example of transition with code and output.

< !DOCTYPE html>
< html lang="en">

< head>
    < meta charset="UTF-8" />
    < meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
    < link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css" />
    < title>Browser
< /head>

< body>
< div class="menu">Hover me to expand
< /body> < /html>

CSS Code

/* Menu styles */
.menu {
width: 100px;
overflow: hidden;
transition: width 0.5s ease-in-out; 
/* Hover effect */
.menu:hover {
width: 200px; 

Before Transition

After Transition

Explanation of the Above Example
In this example, we have a menu with a width of 100 pixels. When the menu is hovered over, the width smoothly transitions from the initial value of 100 pixels to the new value of 200 pixels over a duration of 0.5 seconds, creating a smooth and interactive menu animation.

Practices to keep in Mind while working with CSS Transitions

When using CSS transitions in your web design, it’s important to keep a few best practices in mind:
Keep it subtle: Transitions should be used to enhance the user experience and should not be overly flashy or distracting. Subtle animations can create a polished and professional look without overwhelming the user.
Consider performance: While CSS transitions are relatively lightweight in terms of performance, excessive use of complex transitions or multiple transitions on a single page can impact performance. Always test your transitions across different devices and browsers to ensure smooth performance.
Use appropriate timing: The duration and timing function of your transitions play a crucial role in how the animation feels to the user. Experiment with different durations and timing functions to achieve the desired effect.
Provide fallbacks: Not all browsers or devices may support CSS transitions. It’s essential to provide fallbacks, such as default styles or alternative animations, for users who may not see the transitions.
Test across browsers and devices: CSS transitions may behave differently across various browsers and devices. Always test your transitions on different browsers and devices to ensure consistent behavior and user experience.

In the preceding blog, we looked at CSS transitions. Because they are a very powerful tool for adding smooth animations to webpages. We have covered the fundamentals of transitions and their syntax, as well as many properties of transitions that we can add to them. We can add dynamic elements to the webpage using transitions. The developer can customize the transition by changing the duration, timings, and delay of the transitions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the frequently asked questions on CSS transitions and CSS transitions examples.

Q1. What are CSS transitions, and what do they allow me to do in web design?
CSS transitions are a way to smoothly animate changes in CSS properties. They allow you to create fluid and visually appealing effects when properties like color, size, or position change on HTML elements without the need for JavaScript or complex animations.

Q2. How to use CSS transitions to animate a property change?
To use CSS transitions, you need to specify the property you want to animate, the duration of the transition, and the type of timing function you want to use. For example:

transition: property duration timing-function;

You can apply this to elements and their hover or other pseudo-classes to trigger transitions.

Q3. What is the purpose of the timing function in a CSS transition?
The timing function in a CSS transition defines the acceleration curve of the animation. It determines how the property change progresses over time. Common timing functions include ease (starts slow, accelerates, then slows down), linear (constant speed), ease-in (starts slow), and ease-out (slows down at the end). You can create custom timing functions as well.

Q4. Can I animate multiple properties simultaneously with CSS transitions?
Yes, you can animate multiple properties simultaneously by listing them in the transition property separated by commas. For example:

transition: property1 duration timing-function, property2 duration timing-function;

This allows you to create complex animations with different properties transitioning at the same time.

Q5. What types of properties can be animated with CSS transitions?
CSS transitions can be used to animate a wide range of properties, including but not limited to: color, background-color, width, height, margin, padding, opacity, and transform. Essentially, any property that can have numeric or color values can be animated using transitions.

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