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Mastering Image Alignment: Centering Images with HTML & CSS


Correctly placing and aligning images affects a website’s look and function. This guide includes step-by-step instructions on various CSS techniques, from basic text-align to more advanced methods like Flexbox and CSS Grid. These techniques ensure that your images perform well on different devices and browsers, which is crucial for a good user experience.

We’ll also discuss the best practices for aligning images, including what to do and what to avoid to keep your site looking balanced and running smoothly. We’ll also introduce how Cloudinary can help manage and optimize images, making your workflow more efficient, your images load faster, and your site look better on any device.

In this article:

Why Center Images? The Benefits for Web Design

Centering images can transform a website’s aesthetics and user experience. When images are centered, they create a balanced, professional look that can significantly improve the overall design. This alignment is particularly effective in making focal points stand out, ensuring visitors are drawn to the most important parts of your page.

Additionally, centered images work well with responsive design strategies. A well-centered image maintains its position and impact across different screen sizes and resolutions, providing a consistent user experience. This can help reduce visual inconsistencies and layout shifts that might otherwise happen with less careful alignment practices.

Centering Images with HTML

To center an image using regular HTML and CSS, you’ll start by setting up your image in HTML without alignment attributes. Here’s how you can do it step by step:

  • Insert your image into HTML: Begin by adding your image using the standard ‘<img>' tag. Ensure your image source (‘src') is correct and that your image has an ‘alt’ attribute for accessibility. For example:
    <img src="path_to_your_image.jpg" alt="Descriptive text about the image">
  • Style your image with CSS: To center the image, you will apply CSS to the image’s container. If it is not wrapped in a container, you might want to enclose the image in a ‘<div>’ tag. This div can then be styled using CSS to center the image within it.
    <div class="image-container">
        <img src="path_to_your_image.jpg" alt="Descriptive text about the image">
  • Apply CSS for centering: In your CSS, use the following style rules to center the image horizontally within its container:
    .image-container {
        display: block;
        text-align: center;

This method involves setting the container to ‘display: block’ and applying ‘text-align: center’. The text-align property in CSS is commonly used for aligning text, but it also affects inline elements like images. The image will center itself within the ‘.image-container’ because it behaves as an inline element by default.


Getting Advanced with CSS Image Align Center

CSS offers techniques for more complex layout needs and provides robust control over image positioning.

Method 1: Using the Text-Align Property

It’s worth noting that while ‘text-align: center’ is perfect for inline elements, it works better when combined with other CSS properties for different contexts. This approach is particularly useful when you want to center an image within a text block or alongside other inline elements without altering the structural layout of the webpage.

Method 2: Leveraging Flexbox for Image Alignment

Flexbox provides a more sophisticated way to manage layouts in CSS. It allows you to easily align items horizontally and vertically, making it an ideal choice for centering images within a container.

To center an image using Flexbox, you can apply the following CSS properties to the container:

.image-flex-container {
    display: flex;
    justify-content: center;  // Centers the image horizontally
    align-items: center;      // Centers the image vertically
    height: 300px;            // Specify a height for vertical centering

Here, ‘display: flex;’ turns the container into a flex container. The ‘justify-content: center;’ aligns the contained image horizontally in the middle of the container, while ‘align-items: center;’ ensures it is also centered vertically. This method is particularly useful in responsive designs requiring vertical and horizontal centering within a variable viewport size.

Method 3: Image Alignment with CSS Grid

CSS Grid is another powerful layout tool that offers even more control and precision than Flexbox. It allows for direct placement of items within a grid system, which can be defined as rows and columns.

To center an image with CSS Grid, set up your container like this:

.image-grid-container {
    display: grid;
    place-items: center;      // Shortcut for aligning items both horizontally and vertically
    height: 300px;            // Set a height for proper vertical centering

place-items: center;’ is a shorthand property that sets both ‘align-items’ and ‘justify-items’ to ‘center’, which centers the child element(s) within the grid area in both dimensions. This method provides a clean and straightforward way to center images, especially when dealing with multiple elements that need precise alignment in a layout.

Behind the Codes: Understanding HTML & CSS Structure

Inline elements do not start on a new line and only occupy as much width as necessary. Common inline elements include <span>, <a>, and <img>. They are often used for smaller chunks of content or images that must be included within a line of text.

Conversely, block elements like <div>, <p>, and <h1> start on a new line and typically take up the full width available. Block elements are suitable for larger sections of content that require distinct separation from other parts of the page.

Knowing whether your image is treated as an inline or block element can affect which CSS properties you should use when aligning images. For instance, ‘margin: auto,’ in conjunction with ‘display: block’, can center a block-level image, but it won’t affect an inline image without additional modifications to its display property.

Combining these techniques and understanding the underlying structure of HTML and CSS allows you to effectively manage image alignment and create more engaging and visually balanced web designs. As you build your skills, experimenting with these methods will help you discover the best approaches for various design scenarios.

Best Practices: Dos and Don’ts of Image Alignment

Maintaining clarity and visual balance is key when aligning images on your web pages. Here are some essential dos and don’ts to ensure your images enhance, rather than detract from, your user experience.


  • Use CSS for Flexibility. Rely on CSS rather than deprecated HTML tags for image alignment. CSS is more robust and adaptable to various screen sizes and devices.
  • Keep It Responsive. Always consider your images’ responsiveness. Using responsive units like percentages or viewport widths ensures that the alignment looks good on all devices.
  • Test Cross-Browser Compatibility. Different browsers can display CSS differently. Always test your image alignment across multiple browsers to ensure consistency.
  • Accessibility Matters. Include alternative text for images and ensure the alignment does not interfere with the screen readers’ ability to narrate the content.


  • Overuse Absolute Positioning. While absolute positioning can be tempting for placing images exactly where you want them, it can lead to issues with responsiveness and overlap with other elements.
  • Neglect Image Loading Times. Even the best-aligned image can detract from user experience if it loads slowly. Optimize image sizes for faster loading times.
  • Forget About Content Hierarchy. Images should complement the textual content and not overshadow critical information. Ensure that the placement and alignment serve the flow and hierarchy of your content.

Comparing HTML and CSS in Image Align Center: Which is Better?

Traditionally, HTML was used for layout control, including image alignment. However, with the evolution of CSS, it’s become clear that CSS offers far greater control, efficiency, and responsiveness. Using CSS for image alignment adheres to modern web standards and enables more complex styles and interactions that are impossible with HTML alone.

CSS allows for the alignment of images in ways that react dynamically to the screen size and device, providing a much better user experience. That means when comparing HTML and CSS for image alignment, CSS is the superior, more modern approach that should be used in standard web design.

Using Cloudinary for Image Management

Integrating Cloudinary into your web projects can significantly streamline the management and deployment of images. Cloudinary offers cloud-based solutions that allow developers to upload, store, manage, and optimize media files effortlessly, improving your site’s performance and user experience. Cloudinary enhances Image Alignment with:

  • Automated Optimization – Cloudinary automatically optimizes images to ensure they load quickly and look great on any device, which is crucial for maintaining alignment and layout integrity across different screen sizes.
  • Responsive Images – With Cloudinary, you can easily generate responsive images that adapt to various device resolutions and widths. This ensures your images remain centered and visually impactful, regardless of the viewing environment.
  • Advanced Manipulation Options – Cloudinary allows for real-time image transformations, such as resizing, cropping, and adjusting orientation, directly through URL parameters. These capabilities enable precise control over how images are displayed, making it easier to maintain consistent alignment and formatting across your site.
  • Integration Simplicity – Cloudinary’s comprehensive APIs and SDKs simplify image management integration into your existing workflows. This means less time worrying about manual image adjustments and more time focusing on creating a visually appealing and high-performing website.

Final Thoughts

Any web developer must learn to align images using HTML and CSS. This article has taken you from basic HTML methods to more complex CSS strategies. We’ve covered different techniques, from straightforward CSS properties like text-align to more advanced Flexbox and CSS Grid methods. These allow you to manage image alignment across various situations, ensuring your site looks good on all devices and browsers.

It’s also important to follow best practices for image alignment. This means ensuring images load quickly and fit well with the rest of your content. Cloudinary can make managing images a lot easier by automating optimization and simplifying the creation of responsive images.

By applying these techniques and tools to your projects, you’ll improve the visual appeal of your websites and their functionality and accessibility. This is crucial for creating engaging, user-friendly web experiences that stand out.

Optimize, transform, and manage your media assets like a pro with Cloudinary. Sign up for free today!

Last updated: Jun 30, 2024