How to Build a Stylish CSS3 Search Box

A search box is probably one of the most common UI elements around, and I think there is no need to explain its purpose anymore. Whether it’s about a website or a web application, to increase user experience for it, you may want to add a stylish search box.

Today, you will learn how to create a nice CSS3 search box using pseudo-elements. Before we begin you can download the Source Files or view the Demo

The HTML

As you can see below, the markup is minimal and easy to understand:

<form class="form-wrapper cf">
        <input type="text" placeholder="Search here..." required>
        <button type="submit">Search</button>
    </form>   

You may have noticed the HTML5’s specific attributes like placeholder and required, here’s a short description:

  • placeholder- Basically, this attribute shows a text in a field until the field is focused upon, then it just hides the text.
  • required- This specifies that the current element is a required part of a form submission.

HTML5 also brought us a new value for the type attribute: type="search". Though, because of cross browser inconsistency, I decided to skip it for now.

Quick Tip

HTML elements like img and input have no content, therefore, a pseudo-element like :before will not render any arrow for our search button.

My solution was to use the button type="submit" element instead of casual input type="submit". This way, we can preserve the submitting form on ENTER key functionality.

The CSS

Below you can find the necessary styles for our demo:

Clear Floats

.cf:before, .cf:after{
    content:"";
    display:table;
}

.cf:after{
    clear:both;
}

.cf{
    zoom:1;
}    

Form Elements

Prefixed properties like -moz-box-shadow weren’t included, I just wanted to keep the following code clean. Though, they are included in the demo example.

/* Form wrapper styling */
.form-wrapper {
    width: 450px;
    padding: 15px;
    margin: 150px auto 50px auto;
    background: #444;
    background: rgba(0,0,0,.2);
    border-radius: 10px;
    box-shadow: 0 1px 1px rgba(0,0,0,.4) inset, 0 1px 0 rgba(255,255,255,.2);
}

/* Form text input */

.form-wrapper input {
    width: 330px;
    height: 20px;
    padding: 10px 5px;
    float: left;    
    font: bold 15px 'lucida sans', 'trebuchet MS', 'Tahoma';
    border: 0;
    background: #eee;
    border-radius: 3px 0 0 3px;      
}

.form-wrapper input:focus {
    outline: 0;
    background: #fff;
    box-shadow: 0 0 2px rgba(0,0,0,.8) inset;
}

.form-wrapper input::-webkit-input-placeholder {
   color: #999;
   font-weight: normal;
   font-style: italic;
}

.form-wrapper input:-moz-placeholder {
    color: #999;
    font-weight: normal;
    font-style: italic;
}

.form-wrapper input:-ms-input-placeholder {
    color: #999;
    font-weight: normal;
    font-style: italic;
}    

/* Form submit button */
.form-wrapper button {
    overflow: visible;
    position: relative;
    float: right;
    border: 0;
    padding: 0;
    cursor: pointer;
    height: 40px;
    width: 110px;
    font: bold 15px/40px 'lucida sans', 'trebuchet MS', 'Tahoma';
    color: #fff;
    text-transform: uppercase;
    background: #d83c3c;
    border-radius: 0 3px 3px 0;      
    text-shadow: 0 -1px 0 rgba(0, 0 ,0, .3);
}   
  
.form-wrapper button:hover{		
    background: #e54040;
}	
  
.form-wrapper button:active,
.form-wrapper button:focus{   
    background: #c42f2f;
	outline: 0;   
}

.form-wrapper button:before { /* left arrow */
    content: '';
    position: absolute;
    border-width: 8px 8px 8px 0;
    border-style: solid solid solid none;
    border-color: transparent #d83c3c transparent;
    top: 12px;
    left: -6px;
}

.form-wrapper button:hover:before{
    border-right-color: #e54040;
}

.form-wrapper button:focus:before,
.form-wrapper button:active:before{
        border-right-color: #c42f2f;
}      

.form-wrapper button::-moz-focus-inner { /* remove extra button spacing for Mozilla Firefox */
    border: 0;
    padding: 0;
}    

That’s all!

I hope you liked this tutorial and I’m looking forward to hear your thoughts about it. Thank you for reading!

Remember you can download the Source Files or view the Demo

Author: (1 Posts)

Catalin Rosu, a.k.a Red, is a professional web designer and developer who loves to be creative and enjoys CSS techniques. He works at Caphyon and writes regular tutorials on his website. Also, you can connect with him on Twitter @catalinred.

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