use css to adjust div container size to hug content

is there a way using css that can get the container div to be just the right size to contain all its content divs? I have one container div with 3 member divs laid out horizontally inside.
bhomassAsked:
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Dave BaldwinConnect With a Mentor Fixer of ProblemsCommented:
Try this.  'float' elements need to be inside a 'positioned' element.  And to get the 'outer container to wrap, it needs to float inside that positioned element also.
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
 "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

<html>
<head>
<title>Minimum DIV</title>
</head>
<body>
<BODY>
<h1>Minimum DIV</h1>
<div style="position:relative;">
<div style="float:left;border-style:solid; border-width:1; border-color:black;min-width:10px;">
<div style="float:left;border-style:solid; border-width:1; border-color:blue" >left</div>
<div style="float:left;border-style:solid; border-width:1; border-color:gray" >middel</div>
<div style="float:left;border-style:solid; border-width:1; border-color:red" >right</div>
<div style="clear:left"></div>
</div>
</div>
</BODY>
</body>
</html>

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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
CSS only sets things, it doesn't read anything or adjust except for things like percentages which the browser calculates.  You can use javascript to read the style info for elements and calculate it yourself and change the width.
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DesignbyonyxCommented:
A DIV will expand to fit all of the content inside of it.  However, if the content inside is floated, you will need to put a "clearing DIV" at the end of your content... or,  you can use this CSS on your container DIV:

overflow: hidden;

The above CSS will work the way you want only if you OMIT width and/or height.  For example, this won't work like you want it because the height is fixed:

height: 250px;
overflow: hidden;


If you can provide a link or some HTML code, we can help you a little more.
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bhomassAuthor Commented:
It would be really great if the css method works.

I tried just overflow:hidden, just clear:left, both, but the containing div always expands to the width of its container. I even removed the height setting.
clearingdiv.jpg
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Gurvinder Pal SinghCommented:
@bhomass: please share the exact requirement with me. your requirement mentioned in the question is not clear to me.
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DesignbyonyxCommented:
Please post the HTML and the CSS that generated that screenshot.  Otherwise... we can't help you.
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bhomassAuthor Commented:
<BODY>
 <div style="overflow:hidden; border-style:solid; border-width:1; border-color:black">
<div style="float:left;border-style:solid; border-width:1; border-color:blue" >left</div>
<div style="float:left;border-style:solid; border-width:1; border-color:gray" >middel</div>
<div style="float:left;border-style:solid; border-width:1; border-color:red" >right</div>
<div style="clear:left"></div>
 </div>
 </BODY>

divcontainer.jpg
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DesignbyonyxCommented:
So you want the green box to shrink down to the width the content inside?

Then whatever DIV has the green background, just add float:left to it.

Also, floats do not need to be inside of positioned elements as suggested by DaveBaldwin.  Try this code:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
 "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

<html>
<head>
<title>Shrinking DIV</title>
<style type="text/css">
#wrapper {
	float: left;
	background-color: #090;
}
</style>
</head>
<body>
<div id="wrapper">
<form>
<input type="text" id="txtUsername" />
<input type="submit" value="Submit" />
</form>
</div>
</body>
</html>

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DesignbyonyxConnect With a Mentor Commented:
And using your floats example with overflow:hidden
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
 "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">

<html>
<head>
<title>Shrinking DIV</title>
<style type="text/css">
#wrapper {
	float: left;
	background-color: #090;
	overflow: hidden;
	padding: .5em;
}

.float {
	float: left;
	min-width: 5em;
	border: 2px solid #000;
	margin-right: .5em;
}

#float3 {
	margin-right: 0;	
}
</style>
</head>
<body>
<div id="wrapper">
    <div class="float" id="float1">left</div>
    <div class="float" id="float2">middel</div>
    <div class="float" id="float3">right</div>
</div>
</body>
</html>

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bhomassAuthor Commented:
what is float1 and float2? same as float?
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DesignbyonyxCommented:
those are just IDs I gave to them.  I was going to style them a little differently with something like:

#float1 {
  border-color: #F00;
}
#float2 {
  border-color: #FF0;
}
#float3 {
  border-color: #F0F;
}
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bhomassAuthor Commented:
right, sorry, I misread them as class.
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bhomassAuthor Commented:
they both worked! thanks
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bhomassAuthor Commented:
added points
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bhomassAuthor Commented:
works as shown,
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