How to Create Bottom Bordered (Underline) Navigation Links with CSS

In today’s web development landscape, creating visually appealing and user-friendly navigation menus is essential. One popular design element is the bottom-bordered or underlined navigation links, which can provide a clear visual indication to users about the currently active page or section. In this article, we will explore how to achieve this effect using CSS, accompanied by code snippets for better understanding.

1. Introduction

In web design, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is used to control the visual appearance of HTML elements. By leveraging CSS properties and selectors, we can easily add custom styles to our navigation links, including the bottom border or underline effect.

2. HTML Structure

Before diving into the CSS code, let’s set up the HTML structure for our navigation menu. Typically, a navigation menu consists of an unordered list (<ul>) containing individual list items (<li>), which represent each navigation link.

<ul class="navigation-menu">
  <li><a href="#">Home</a></li>
  <li><a href="#">About</a></li>
  <li><a href="#">Services</a></li>
  <li><a href="#">Contact</a></li>

3. Styling the Navigation Links

To begin, we need to define the basic styles for our navigation links. We can target the <a> tags within the list items and apply relevant CSS properties to style them according to our design.

.navigation-menu li a {
  text-decoration: none;
  color: #333;
  font-weight: bold;

In the above code snippet, we’ve set the text decoration to none, which removes the default underline on the links. We’ve also defined the font color and weight to ensure the links are easily readable.

4. Adding the Bottom Border on Hover

To create the bottom border effect when the user hovers over a navigation link, we can utilize the CSS :hover pseudo-class. This allows us to apply specific styles when the cursor is placed over an element.

.navigation-menu li a:hover {
  border-bottom: 2px solid #333;

The border-bottom property is used to add a 2-pixel solid line at the bottom of the link. By applying this style on hover, the navigation links will have an underlined effect, giving users a clear indication of the active link.

5. Applying Transitions for Smooth Animations

To enhance the user experience further, we can apply smooth transitions to the bottom border when the hover effect is triggered. This creates a subtle animation that adds a touch of elegance to the navigation menu.

.navigation-menu li a {
  transition: border-bottom 0.3s ease;

In the above CSS snippet, we’ve added the transition property to the navigation links, targeting the border-bottom property. The transition duration is set to 0.3 seconds with an easing effect to ensure the animation appears smooth and natural.

6. Conclusion

In this article, we’ve explored how to create bottom-bordered (underlined) navigation links with CSS. By leveraging CSS selectors, pseudo-classes, and transitions, we can easily customize the appearance of our navigation menus to improve user experience and provide clear visual cues.

By following the outlined steps and utilizing the provided code snippets, you can now enhance your website’s navigation menu by adding a sleek and visually appealing bottom border effect to the links.


Can I use different colors for the bottom border?

Yes, you can customize the color of the bottom border by modifying the border-bottom property in the CSS code. Simply replace #333 with the desired color value.

How can I change the thickness of the bottom border?

To change the thickness of the bottom border, you can adjust the pixel value in the border-bottom property. Increase or decrease the value to achieve the desired thickness

Will this technique work with nested navigation menus?

Yes, this technique can be applied to nested navigation menus as well. Simply update the CSS selectors accordingly to target the appropriate elements.

Can I apply this effect to other elements besides navigation links?

Certainly! You can adapt the provided CSS code to add bottom borders or underlines to other elements like buttons or headings. Just update the relevant selectors and apply the desired styles.

Is it possible to add additional hover effects alongside the bottom border?

Absolutely! You can combine the bottom border effect with other CSS properties to create more elaborate hover effects. Experiment with box shadows, background color changes, or font color modifications to achieve unique visual interactions.

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