Quiz Questions

Describe `z-index` and how stacking context is formed.

Quiz Topics

The z-index property in CSS controls the vertical stacking order of elements that overlap. z-index only affects positioned elements (elements which have a position value which is not static) and its descendants or flex items.

Without any z-index value, elements stack in the order that they appear in the DOM (the lowest one down at the same hierarchy level appears on top). Elements with non-static positioning (and their children) will always appear on top of elements with default static positioning, regardless of the HTML hierarchy.

A stacking context is an element that contains a set of layers. Within a local stacking context, the z-index values of its children are set relative to that element rather than to the document root. Layers outside of that context — i.e. sibling elements of a local stacking context — can't sit between layers within it. If an element B sits on top of element A, a child element of element A, element C, can never be higher than element B even if element C has a higher z-index than element B.

Each stacking context is self-contained - after the element's contents are stacked, the whole element is considered in the stacking order of the parent stacking context. A handful of CSS properties trigger a new stacking context, such as opacity less than 1, filter that is not none, and transform that is notnone.

Note: What exactly qualifies an element to create a stacking context is listed in this long set of rules.