Simply-Buttons v2

» November 11th, 2009 » 96 Comments

TESTED IE6 IE7 FF(PC/MAC) Safari SafariMobile Opera(PC/MAC)


I had some time a while back and read a few interesting articles on buttons:

These got me thinking… these techniques are pretty nice, but I think they can meet somewhere in the middle and make something even better, after all the button tag was created to make really nice buttons for your sites (W3 Button Element). After a little work I came up with the “Simply-Buttons Technique”.


  • Buttons size to fit text.
  • There are 3 states: Inactive, Active, and Hover.
  • They look and behave the same way in every browser and operating system.
  • The do not need the javascript to work, they work with just the css
  • Way better looking buttons than what anyone else can do with XHTML/CSS, isn’t that reason enough?!

How it Works

The markup is pretty simple, as you can see below. The thing to notice here is that both the button and link tags each have a nested-nested span tag.


<a class="button">

Now there are two parts involved here, the first thing to know here is that this method will work with just CSS. However it works a little better with some Javascript enhancements. Let’s take a look:

Generic (no javascript)

Now we see the buttons load nicely here, we are using the Sliding Doors Technique. The caveats are:

  • There are outlines on the buttons.
  • The text is selectable.
  • These buttons are not mobile friendly (the button tag).

The Solution

In comes the the Simply-Buttons Javascript component.   The library solves the caveats above as you can see below:

YouTube Style (w/ javascript)

Below is the object you can configure to further customize the buttons to suite your design.

  options : {
    hyperlinkClass : 'button' // 'a' tags with this class will be processed
    ,activeButtonClass : 'button_active' // Active class for active buttons
    ,states : { // The various states and css properties, define them as normal
      outer : {
        active : {
          backgroundPosition : 'bottom left'
        ,inactive : {
          backgroundPosition : 'top left'
      ,inner : {
        active : {
          backgroundPosition : 'bottom right'
        ,inactive : {
          backgroundPosition : 'top right'
    ,iphone : {
      replaceButtons : true // if iPhone; replace buttons with inputs?


Download the Code/Sample

Below you can download not only the core CSS and Javascript files but you also will get a few samples. I am not the greatest at tutorials so I will update this post as feedback comes in, however there are quite a few comments throughout the files. The important files are: stylesheets/buttons.css, javascripts/simply-buttons-v2.js.


Simply include the stylesheet and javascript and make sure they can find your images. Then simple call the init function, either using the default options as below or configuring it as show above.

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="stylesheets/SimplyButtons.css" media="screen" />
<script type="text/javascript" src="javascripts/SimplyButtons.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
  window.onload = function() 


As shown in the YouTube example, you can easily modify the buttons look and feel. You can do this by creating your own stylesheet and you can use the one supplied as an example, its filled with comments. There are also options that can be changed and configured on the javascript end as show above.

SUPPORT: Feedback and Donations help to support this Plugin and future development.

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96 Responses to “Simply-Buttons v2”

  1. great buttons – but I cant help myself, I do net get them centered. Can anyone give a hint?

  2. darki on August 6th, 2010 at 10:10 am
  3. not certain as i’m running a “fake” version of IE6 (IE Collection:, but the hover states don’t appear to work in IE6

  4. j. millington on August 30th, 2010 at 2:09 pm
  5. there’s a one pixel alignment issue in FF 3.5 – put a button and an html link on the same line and you can notice they’re not vertically aligned properly.

  6. loreley on September 29th, 2010 at 7:30 am
  7. I like what you have done with simply buttons. It looks great. I saw on another site an animated loading link after clicking the submit button on forms. Is this something you have considered? The following example looks pretty good!

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  15. a.button:visited span {
    background-repeat: no-repeat;

    this adds possibilities for transparent edges (useful when the background is not white).
    nice integration otherwise, ugly check and cross symbols default though..

  16. Fredrik on March 6th, 2011 at 9:25 pm
  17. Note that IE 6 and 7 have a bug where the values of ALL “button” elements are sent (as opposed to “input” with type submit). So if you need to check which button was pressed, don’t use this technique.

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