Thumbnail CSS Selectors episode
4 minutes

CSS Selectors Explained: Unleash Your Styling Superpowers!

Welcome back, fellow web-wizard! Today, we’re diving deep into the enchanting world of CSS selectors, where the magic happens. If you’ve ever wondered how to sprinkle your web pages with your own unique style, CSS selectors are the secret wand you’ve been seeking.

What Are CSS Selectors, Anyway?

At its core, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is like the stylist of your web page. It’s in charge of making things look good, deciding on colors, fonts, and layouts. But to do this, it needs to know which HTML elements it should style. Enter CSS selectors!

CSS selectors are the detectives of the web world. They investigate and select HTML elements on your page so you can apply the styles you desire. There are a variety of selectors to choose from, and each has its own superpower.

  1. The Tag Selector (Element Selector) Think of the tag selector as the granddaddy of selectors. It selects all the elements with a particular HTML tag. For example, to style all your paragraphs, you can use:

    <p>I am feeling so blue right now!</p>
      <p>Me too!</p>
      <p>Same here…</p>
    p {
      color: blue;
  2. The Descendant Selector Descendant selectors are like family trees. They select elements that are nested within other elements. Let’s say you want to style all lists within a particular div:

    div ul {
      list-style: square;
  3. The Direct Descendant Selector Like descendant selectors, they allow you to select elements that are nested within other elements but, the nested elements have to be direct descendants, they can’t be nested more than one level deep:

      <p>I love red wine.</p>
      <!-- It will be red -->
        <p>Well I don’t.</p>
        <!-- It won’t be red -->
    div > p {
      color: red;
  4. The Class Selector Class selectors are like name tags at a costume party. They help you select specific elements by giving them a class name. For instance, if you have some special paragraphs, you can use:

    <p class="special-paragraph">I’m golden!</p>
    .special-paragraph {
      background-color: gold;

    Note that an element can possess multiple classes, in that case, the element will still have one class attribute with class names separated by spaces.

  5. The ID Selector ID selectors are like the VIP section of your web page. They select a single unique element with a specific ID attribute. It means that you can’t apply the same ID more than once inside a web page. For example:

    <div id="header">This is a big header</div>
    #header {
      font-size: 24px;
  6. The Universal Selector The universal selector is like a universal remote for your TV. It selects everything on your page. Use it with caution:

    * {
      margin: 0;
      padding: 0;

Practice Makes Perfect

Now, let’s put your newfound knowledge to the test. Imagine you have an HTML document with various elements, and you want to apply styles using these selectors. You haven’t seen too many CSS properties yet but you can try out the ones used in this episode and see what they do 😉

Here’s a quick challenge:

  1. Style all your <h1> elements with a nice font size.
  2. Give your elements with the class “highlight” a bright yellow background.
  3. Make the element with the ID “main-content” have a red font.

Ready to tackle these challenges? It’s like casting spells with your CSS wand!


With a better understanding of CSS selectors, you’re now well-equipped to work your magic on web pages. Remember, selectors are your friends; they help you bring your web design dreams to life. So, go forth and style your web pages, and may your CSS be forever magical!

Stay tuned for more enchanting adventures in the world of CSS. In our next episode, we’ll explore some must-know CSS properties and values. Until then, keep styling and profiling, web wizards!

Photo of Rhett Wesley from Unsplash