Learn How to Create a Zebra Striped Table with CSS

Have you ever wondered how to add an attractive zebra striped pattern to your HTML tables using CSS? Zebra striping not only enhances the visual appeal of your tables but also improves readability, making it easier for users to follow data rows. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of creating a zebra striped table with CSS. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, this tutorial will provide you with clear and detailed explanations along with code snippets to ensure your success.

Introduction to Zebra Striped Tables

Zebra striping is a popular technique in web design that involves applying alternating background colors to table rows, creating a visually appealing “zebra-like” pattern. This not only adds style to your tables but also assists users in distinguishing between different rows of data. Whether you’re building a data-heavy dashboard, an e-commerce website, or a blog, zebra striped tables can greatly enhance the user experience.

Setting Up Your HTML Structure

Before we dive into the CSS magic, let’s start by setting up the basic HTML structure for our table. Here’s an example of a simple HTML table that we’ll be working with:

         <td>Widget A</td>
      <!-- More rows... -->

Styling the Table Using CSS

Targeting the Table

To begin styling our zebra striped table, we’ll start by targeting the <table> element in our CSS code. We’ll set a fixed width, border-collapse, and other basic styling properties. Here’s how you can do it:

table {
   width: 100%;
   border-collapse: collapse;
   /* Add more styling properties here */

Alternating Row Colors

The key to achieving the zebra striped effect is by applying alternating background colors to the table rows. We can use the :nth-child() pseudo-class to target odd and even rows and set different background colors. Here’s how you can implement this:

/* Alternating row colors */
tbody tr:nth-child(odd) {
   background-color: #f2f2f2;

tbody tr:nth-child(even) {
   background-color: #ffffff;

Enhancing Readability

To improve readability, we can add a subtle border to separate rows and columns. Additionally, let’s style the table header to differentiate it from the data rows:

/* Add borders and style the header */
table, th, td {
   border: 1px solid #dddddd;

th {
   background-color: #4CAF50;
   color: white;
   font-weight: bold;

Hover Effects

Adding hover effects to table rows can provide users with visual feedback. When a user hovers over a row, we can highlight it with a different background color:

/* Hover effect */
tbody tr:hover {
   background-color: #e0e0e0;

Implementing Code Snippets and Examples

Let’s put everything together by implementing the HTML markup and CSS styling:

HTML Markup

<!-- Your HTML table structure goes here -->

CSS Styling

/* Your CSS styling goes here */

Full Code Example

For a complete example, you can combine the HTML and CSS code as follows:

<!-- Your complete HTML and CSS code goes here -->

Fine-Tuning and Customization

Adjusting Stripe Width

If you want to adjust the width of the zebra stripes, you can modify the background-size property. For instance, to make the stripes wider, you can use:

tbody tr {
   background-size: 20px;

Choosing Color Schemes

Feel free to experiment with different color schemes to match your website’s design. You can easily update the background colors to create a unique look that aligns with your brand.

Benefits of Zebra Striped Tables

Zebra striped tables offer several benefits:

  1. Improved Readability: Alternating row colors make it easier for users to follow and compare data, reducing the strain on their eyes while navigating through the table.
  2. Enhanced Visual Appeal: Zebra striping adds a touch of style to otherwise plain tables, making them look more engaging and aesthetically pleasing.
  3. User-Friendly: Users can quickly identify rows as they scroll through the table, improving the overall user experience. This is particularly helpful when dealing with large sets of data.

Best Practices for Responsive Design

In today’s mobile-driven world, it’s crucial to ensure that your zebra striped tables look great on all devices. Here are some best practices to follow:

Media Queries

Use media queries to adjust the table layout for different screen sizes. For example, you can define styles that are specifically targeted for smaller screens like smartphones and tablets:

@media (max-width: 768px) { /* Adjust styling for smaller screens */ }

Flexibility and Adaptability

Consider using flexible units like percentages for widths to ensure that your tables adapt well to various screen sizes. This helps prevent horizontal scrolling on smaller devices.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Incorrect CSS Selectors: One common mistake is using incorrect CSS selectors, which can lead to styles not being applied as intended. Double-check your selectors to ensure they match the elements you’re targeting.
  2. Overlooking Hover States: Adding hover effects can greatly enhance the user experience by providing visual feedback when interacting with table rows. Don’t skip this step, as it contributes to the overall interactivity of your tables.
  3. Inadequate Color Contrast: When choosing background colors for your zebra stripes, ensure that the contrast between the background color and the content is sufficient for easy reading. Low contrast can hinder readability.

Troubleshooting and Debugging

Browser Compatibility

While the CSS properties used for zebra striping are generally well-supported across modern browsers, it’s always a good practice to test your tables on different browsers to ensure consistent rendering.

Inspecting Elements

Use browser developer tools to inspect table elements, identify styling issues, and debug effectively. These tools allow you to visualize how your styles are being applied and quickly diagnose any problems.


Creating zebra striped tables with CSS is a fantastic way to enhance the aesthetics and usability of your web tables. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily implement this eye-catching design pattern and improve the user experience on your website. Zebra striping not only adds a visually appealing touch but also contributes to the overall readability and accessibility of your data tables.


Can I apply zebra striping to any type of table?

Absolutely! Whether it’s a simple data table or a complex layout, zebra striping can be applied universally.

Do zebra striped tables affect performance?

No, the CSS techniques used for zebra striping are lightweight and won’t significantly impact performance.

Can I use gradient backgrounds for stripes?

Yes, you can experiment with gradient backgrounds to achieve unique striping effects.

Are zebra stripes compatible with all browsers?

Generally, yes. The CSS properties used for zebra striping are well-supported across modern browsers.

Is zebra striping only for desktop websites?

Not at all! Zebra striping is effective for both desktop and mobile websites, enhancing user experience across devices.

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