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Posted 14 Feb 2011

HTML5/CSS3 graphic enhancement: buttons, inputs

, 23 Feb 2015
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Aesthetic enhancement of HTML5 web elements via pure CSS3; no image files required



The solution described in this article serves both practical and didactic purposes. This popular Electrical Engineering Calculator VOLTA demonstrates HTML5/CSS3 styling technique, which does not require any graphic files like .jpg or .png, etc. All aesthetic enhancements, like:

  • rounded corners
  • color gradients (in particular, color-stop property)
  • borders
  • shadows

are achieved exclusively via CSS3 styling, resulting in very small digital footprint and fast web page load. Following Demo and sample code snippets demonstrate aforementioned HTML5/CSS3 styling technique applied to the core elements of online calculator, i.e. input, button and div elements. The solution implements client-side jQuery scripting, making it rather universal, capable of running in off-line standalone mode (without Internet connectivity).

Online Demo

Fully-functional Demo is available online at: Engineering Calculator VOLTA. Following are sample screenshots of online Engineering Calculator VOLTA-2011 utilizing aforementioned HTML5/CSS3 graphic enhancements:

Calculator VOLTA-2013, landscape layout adapted for 16:9 display aspect ratio

Dynamic switch to another CSS3 file produced a rounded-corner effect as shown below in Fig.3:

Calculator VOLTA-2013, landscape layout, rounded corners achieved via CSS3 styling

Another screenshot corresponding to the "light" background (dynamically loaded CSS3) follows:

Calculator VOLTA-2013, "light" background 

Aesthetic HTML5 Button elements

Note: All aesthetic enhancements are achieved via pure HTML5/CSS3 styling; project does not use any graphic/image files.

Listing 1. HTML 5 Button and Input elements styling via pure CSS (no graphical files)
    <title>AESTHETIC BUTTONS | HTML5, CSS3</title>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />
    <meta http-equiv="Author" content="Alexander Bell" />
    <meta http-equiv="Copyright" content="2011 Alexander Bell" />
    <meta http-equiv="Expires" content="0" />
    <meta http-equiv="Cache-control" content="no-cache">
    <meta name="Robots" content="all" />
    <meta name="Distribution" content="global" />
    <meta name="Keywords" content="HTML5, CSS3, Buttons, CalculatorS " />
    <meta name="Description" content ="Aesthetic buttons with Gradient and Rounded Corners, HTML5, CSS3" />
   <style type="text/css">
        height: 60px;
        margin: 0px;
        padding: 0px;
        cursor: pointer;
        cursor: hand;
        font-family: Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, Calibri;
        font-size: 28pt;
        text-align: center;
        border: 2px solid #ababab;
        color: #dadada;
        -moz-border-radius: 10px;
        -webkit-border-radius: 10px;
        border-radius: 10px;
    input:hover  { font-weight:bold;}
    input:active { border: 2px; }
        background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #707070, #505050 48%, #bababa 50%, #303030 52%, #101010);
        background: -webkit-gradient(linear, center top, center bottom, from(#707070), color-stop(0.48, #505050), color-stop(0.5, #bababa ), color-stop(0.52, #303030), to(#101010));
        background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #dadada, #505050 5%, #bababa 50%, #bababa 50%, #303030 52%, #101010);
        background: -webkit-gradient(linear, center top, center bottom, from(#707070), color-stop(0.48, #505050), color-stop(0.5, #bababa ), color-stop(0.52, #303030), to(#101010));
        background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #dadada, #707070 5%, #515151 50%, #bababa 50%, #303030 52%, #101010);
        background: -webkit-gradient(linear, center top, center bottom, from(#707070), color-stop(0.48, #505050), color-stop(0.5, #bababa ), color-stop(0.52, #303030), to(#101010));
       background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #f0f0f0, #bababa 10%, #cacaca 46%, #909090 48%, #dadada 52%, #cacaca 54%, #cacaca 90%, #ababab);
       background: -webkit-gradient(linear, center top, center bottom, from(#f0f0f0), color-stop(0.1, #bababa ), color-stop(0.46, #cacaca), color-stop(0.48, #909090), color-stop(0.52, #dadada ), color-stop(0.54, #cacaca), color-stop(0.90, #cacaca), to(#ababab));
        background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #f0f0f0, #cacaca 48%, #707070 50%, #cacaca 52%, #fafafa);
        background: -webkit-gradient(linear, center top, center bottom, from(#f0f0f0), color-stop(0.48, #cacaca), color-stop(0.5, #707070 ), color-stop(0.52, #cacaca), to(#fafafa));
    .divClear { clear:both;}
    <input type ="button" button value="A" class="btnType1" />
    <input type ="button" button value="L" class="btnType1" />
    <input type ="button" button value="E" class="btnType1" />
    <input type ="button" button value="X" class="btnType1" />
    <input type ="button" button value="A" class="btnType1" />
    <input type ="button" button value="N" class="btnType1" />
    <input type ="button" button value="D" class="btnType1" />
    <input type ="button" button value="E" class="btnType1" />
    <input type ="button" button value="R" class="btnType1" />
    <div class="divClear"></div>
    <input type ="button" button value="B" class="btnType2" />
    <input type ="button" button value="E" class="btnType2" />
    <input type ="button" button value="L" class="btnType3" />
    <input type ="button" button value="L" class="btnType3" />
    <input type ="button" button value="2" class="btnType4" />
    <input type ="button" button value="0" class="btnType4" />
    <input type ="button" button value="1" class="btnType5" />
    <input type ="button" button value="1" class="btnType5" />
Design Notes

The box shadow effect could be achieved by using the following CSS code block shown in Listing 2:

Listing 2. Box Shadow effect using CSS
/* add shadows */
-moz-box-shadow: 5px 5px 10px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);
-webkit-box-shadow: 5px 5px 10px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);
box-shadow: 5px 5px 10px rgba(0,0,0,0.3);

Adding Tooltips. Further enhancement could be achieved by adding the context-sensitive help (a.k.a. Tooltips) to the buttons by using HTML elements "abbr" or "acronym". In this case no any Javascript is needed; the pop-up text will correspond to the title attribute of the abbr tag. Listing 3 demonstrates the sample implementation of this feature, pertinent to the Calculator Volta 2011

Listing 3
    <menu id="menu1" class="oscMenu">
        <a href="" title="Return to the front page">HOME</a>
    <li id="active">
        <a href="" title="Read Instruction online">INSTRUCTION</a>

Points of Interest

Browser compatibility 

Online Calculator Volta is compatible with all major Web Browsers that support HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery version(s) 2.0x

  • Mozilla FireFox v.23+
  • Google Chrome v.28+
  • Safari v.6+
  • IE9+
  • Opera v.15+

Desktop version

The first desktop version of the Engineering Calculator software was created as a contest submission via direct conversion tool (HTML5 into Windows application) provided by Intel Corporation during the Ultrabooks Application Innovation Contest (AIC 2012). It was placed at the Intel's online App store for some time.

Much better results were achieved by completely re-programming the app using Microsoft .NET framework (WPF/XAML/C#) in Visual Studio 2010.

Engineering Calculator VOLTA-814D

Demo screenshot: Calculator Volta-814D for Windows implements border-less WPF window with graphic enhancements via XAML, similar to the original online version utilizing HTML5/CSS3


  • Dec 2010: Scientific Calculator ZENO-5000 has been released (HTML5 web app)
  • Feb 2011: Online Electrical Engineering Calculator Volta-2011 has been released  (HTML5)
  • Mar 2012: Calculator VOLTA-2011 has been tested on newly released Apple iPad
  • Oct 2012: Calculator Volta-2013 submitted to AppInnovation contest (app submission winner)
  • Jan 2013: Calculator Volta-814D for Windows has been released
  • Apr 2013: Online Calculator VOLTA was tested on Azure platform  [7]


  1. Scientific Calculator ZENO-5000


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Founder Infosoft International Inc
United States United States
Dr. Alexander Bell is a seasoned full-stack Software Engineer (Win/Web/Mobile). He holds PhD in EE/IT, authored 37 inventions and published 300+ technical articles. Currently focused on Java/Javascript, .NET/C#, Android/Mobile, SQL, 'Big Data', Machine Learning, AI, IoT. Alex participated in App Innovation Contests (AIC 2102/2013) with multiple winning submissions. Portfolio samples:

  1. Real-time NY Bus Tracking Web App (IoT)
  2. Android Fraction Calculator "Fractal MK-12"
  3. Android Prime Factorization Calculator 18-digit)
  4. Semaphon™ semantic phone num-to-text converter
  5. Educational Web Portal
  6. Free Online NY Payroll Tax Calculator
  7. WebTV powered by YouTube Player powered by .NET API (#1 on Google)
  8. Engineering Calculator VOLTA
  9. Big Data: Facebook and YouTube
  10. NY City Trivia Quiz
  11. Publications by A. Bell

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
LoRdPMN7-Jun-13 8:23
memberLoRdPMN7-Jun-13 8:23 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
DrABELL7-Jun-13 11:46
memberDrABELL7-Jun-13 11:46 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Amitosh Swain5-Jun-13 7:07
memberAmitosh Swain5-Jun-13 7:07 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
DrABELL5-Jun-13 9:25
memberDrABELL5-Jun-13 9:25 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
sravani.v5-Oct-12 1:04
membersravani.v5-Oct-12 1:04 
GeneralRe: My vote of 5 Pin
DrABELL5-Oct-12 3:16
memberDrABELL5-Oct-12 3:16 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 nice article Pin
nikhi _singh13-Feb-12 19:09
membernikhi _singh13-Feb-12 19:09 
GeneralRe: Many thanks for your note/vote! Pin
DrABELL13-Feb-12 19:39
memberDrABELL13-Feb-12 19:39 
Many thanks for your note/vote!
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 cool Pin
Jucer10-Feb-12 16:19
memberJucer10-Feb-12 16:19 
GeneralRe: Reason for my vote of 5cool Pin
DrABELL4-Oct-12 14:11
memberDrABELL4-Oct-12 14:11 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 so easy, so simple and clean Pin
itaitai1-Nov-11 23:25
memberitaitai1-Nov-11 23:25 
GeneralRe: Many thanks! Pin
DrABELL2-Nov-11 5:38
memberDrABELL2-Nov-11 5:38 
GeneralImpressive design :) Pin
kiran dangar30-Sep-11 4:06
memberkiran dangar30-Sep-11 4:06 
GeneralRe: Thanks! Pin
DrABELL30-Sep-11 16:53
memberDrABELL30-Sep-11 16:53 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Very nice! Pin
Spliffa27-Sep-11 5:44
memberSpliffa27-Sep-11 5:44 
GeneralRe: Thank you! Pin
DrABELL27-Sep-11 6:20
memberDrABELL27-Sep-11 6:20 
GeneralReason for my vote of 1 to good Pin
bhupatpatel17-Sep-11 9:30
memberbhupatpatel17-Sep-11 9:30 
GeneralRe: Frankly speaking, it's a bit confusing: why did you rate my ... Pin
DrABELL17-Sep-11 10:49
memberDrABELL17-Sep-11 10:49 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Nice graphics. Pin
jknickel13-Sep-11 21:51
memberjknickel13-Sep-11 21:51 
GeneralRe: Many Thanks! Pin
DrABELL14-Sep-11 2:28
memberDrABELL14-Sep-11 2:28 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 very helpful Pin
itaitai13-Sep-11 20:34
memberitaitai13-Sep-11 20:34 
GeneralRe: Thank you! Pin
DrABELL14-Sep-11 2:27
memberDrABELL14-Sep-11 2:27 
GeneralSorry. Clicked the wrong place, in error. Still. A great p... Pin
Steve Stark12-Sep-11 16:48
memberSteve Stark12-Sep-11 16:48 
GeneralRe: Thanks! :) Pin
DrABELL13-Sep-11 3:15
memberDrABELL13-Sep-11 3:15 
GeneralReason for my vote of 5 Nice looking calculator, thanks for ... Pin
BrianBissell6-Sep-11 6:31
memberBrianBissell6-Sep-11 6:31 

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