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7 CSS Tools You Should Be Using

CSS is getting more and more complicated to write. Thankfully, there are tools that make the task of authoring CSS a little bit easier.

From identifying errors in your stylesheets to presenting useful stats about your code, these online tools will undoubtedly help during CSS development.

CSS Lint

Screenshot of CSS Lint user interface

CSS Lint will point out syntax errors as well as highlight potential problems related to browser compatibility, performance, accessibility, and other areas of concern.

The source code of CSS Lint is available on GitHub in case you want to run it offline on your computer or web server.

Use for: Identifying issues that aren’t readily obvious through visual testing and CSS validation

CSS Stats

CSS Stats shows you statistics about a website's CSS

CSS Stats, just as its name suggests, provides you with a plethora of stats about a site’s CSS such how many style rules the website has, the media queries it uses, all the fonts it employs and more.

Another online CSS statistics tool to use is StyleStats.

Use for: ¬†Getting insights about a website’s CSS for analysis and for discovering potential improvement points

CSS Shrink

CSS Shrink minifies your CSS

CSS Shrink is an online tool for reducing the file size of your CSS, which translates to page-load-time improvements. It removes unnecessary stuff like spaces, comments, newlines and tabs — a process called minification.

Minifying your source code makes it hard to read, so this should only be done after development, and you should still have non-minified CSS source code for future development and maintenance.

Use for: Speeding up your website

ProCSSor

ProCSSor

This online tool will clean, format and organize your CSS. What’s great about this CSS-formatting tool in particular is that it has loads of configuration options so that you can have great control over how your code is formatted.

Other CSS code-formatting tools to check out are CSScomb, Code Beautifier and Styleneat.

Use for: Instantly formatting and cleaning up your CSS

Codrops CSS Reference

Codrops CSS Reference helps you learn about CSS features

This useful CSS reference developed by Codrops can be used as a tool for learning about certain CSS properties, pseudo-classes, functions, etc.

Use for: Learning and discovering unfamiliar CSS features

Can I Use (CSS)

Can I Use will let you know how well-supported a CSS feature is

This online reference tool will help you see how well-supported a CSS feature is in popular web browsers. Knowing the level of browser support a CSS feature has is important in helping you make informed implementation decisions.

Use for: Knowing how well-supported a CSS feature is in web browsers

W3C CSS Validation Service

W3C CSS Validation Service checks your CSS for compliance to W3C standards

This online tool will check your stylesheets to make sure it conforms to W3C CSS specifications.

Use for: Validating your CSS for compliance to W3C standards

Bonus: Developer Tools That Come with Your Browser

Perhaps the most important CSS development tool is the one that you probably already have: Chrome has DevTools, Firefox has a suite of built-in developer tools accessible through the browser’s menu, as well as the Firefox Developer Edition, Safari has Web Inspector and IE has F12 Developer Tools.

These developer tools aren’t strictly online tools like the others mentioned in this list because they will work even without an Internet connection, but they are tools that you should definitely be using during CSS development.

In-browser dev tools are jam-packed with features for debugging, analyzing and profiling your CSS.

Chrome DevTools — my favorite of the bunch — can, for instance, profile your CSS to help you spot performance issues pertaining to slow paint times and rendering times.

Timeline showing the rendering of a web page using Chrome DevTools

Use for: Debugging, analyzing and profiling your CSS

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About the Author

Jacob Gube is the founder of Six Revisions. He’s a front-end developer. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

This was published on Feb 25, 2015

4 Comments

Serge Rodrigue Mar 05 2015

Found “Can I use CSS” here. You’re my hero Jacob.

Cathy Mayhue Mar 16 2015

W3C CSS validation feature is some thing I was aware of and is very effective. Never hear about others but would love to try them all.

Great list of CSS tools indeed very useful.

Thanks for the share, these are very useful tools. As a designer, I am always trying to find tools out there to increase my productivity and give me more time to design.

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