Flexible boxor Flexbox in short, is a set of properties in CSS introduced in to provide a new, exceptional layout system. You are probably already using many of the new properties in CSS3, such as box-shadowborder-radiusbackground gradientsand so on.
However, Flexbox has yet to see the widespread adoption that it deserves. This may be because of all the breaking changes it has suffered over the years, or because it is only partially supported in Internet Explorer 10, or just because Flexbox is a whole ecosystem while previous paradigms have been predominantly based on single, ready-to-go properties.
It is super powerful and offers a wide range of options to achieve layouts that, previously, could only be dreamed of.
A Complete Guide to Flexbox
By default, HTML block-level elements stack, so if you want to align them in a row, you need to rely on CSS properties like floator manipulate the display property with table-ish or inline-block settings. If you choose to use float left or rightyou must clear the wrapper at some point to push it until the very last floated element, otherwise, they will overflow over anything coming after.
However, with float, you are limited to organizing elements horizontally. Alternatively, or in addition, you can manipulate the display property to try to achieve the layout you desire! This approach is particularly ineffective if you are targeting multiple devices of varying sizes—which is almost always the case nowadays.
With a simple rule applied to a parent element, you can easily control the layout behavior of all of its children. I understand Flexbox can be tough in the beginning. I think it is easier to learn ten unrelated CSS properties than five with some inter-dependency. However, with your current CSS skills, and maybe a little help from this article, you will launch yourself into a new CSS universe. The difference between the two is that a display: flex wrapper acts like a block element while a display: inline-flex wrapper acts like an inline-block.
Also, inline-flex elements grow if there is not enough space to contain the children. But other than those differences, the behavior of the two would be the same. Now that you have seen the first sample, you can infer that the default behavior is to simply make a row of the elements. But there is more:. Hint: The column and column-reverse values can be used to swap the axes, so the properties that would affect the horizontal axis would affect the vertical axis instead.
This is where flex-wrap comes into play:. You can combine flex-direction and flex-wrap properties into a single property: flex-flow. Note: Remember flex-directionwhen set to column or column-reverseswaps the axis. If one of these is set, justify-content will affect vertical alignment, not horizontal. This property is similar to justify-content but the context of its effects is the rows instead of the wrapper itself:.
This property is similar to justify-content and align-items but it works in the vertical axis and the context is the entire wrapper not the row like the previous example. To see its effects, you will need more than one row:. This property sets the relative proportion of the available space that the element should be using. The value should be an integer, where 0 is the default. If both have a flex-grow value of 1, they will grow equally to share the available space.This article is outdated and no longer accurate.
Introduction I'd bet that you've done your fair share of styling elements to be arranged horizontally or vertically on a page. As of yet, though, CSS has lacked a suitable mechanism for this task. Flexbox gives us a new value for the display property the box valueand eight new properties:.
Common CSS Flexbox Layout Patterns with Example Code
I've left box-flex-groupbox-ordinal-groupbox-directionbox-lines out of the above because, frankly, they're not necessary for most of your flexbox work. View the links in the summary to see those properties at work. A note on syntax: current implementations of flexbox in WebKit and Gecko require the use of vendor prefixes. In this tutorial, I've mostly left them out for clarity.
Build a responsive website layout with flexbox (Step-by-step guide)
For the details, read the browser support section. Now, we want them to lay out horizontally next to each other, and their heights should always match, regardless of the content in each. How would you currently tackle this? Most, without thinking, would simply float these paragraphs, perhaps adding overflow:hidden; to the parent in order to clear the floats. Nothing very special.CSS FlexBox Essentials
But we could also do it quite easily with flexbox:. No floats. The widths of the children remain as specified or their inherent width if not specified.
By default, children of a flexbox remain inflexible. That might seem a little odd, but it's it gives a chance for the children to opt into the flexible experience. But what if you wanted children one and two to have specific widths and child three to adjust itself depending on the available space within the parent? Flexbox to the rescue:. Note that the element only becomes flexible along the orientation axis of the box; in this case the element becomes flexible horizontally.
The value for box-flex is relative. So if we were to make the second and third children flexible:. These would each take up the same amount of available space, in fact dividing the available space equally between them. Hover over one of the boxes to see the flexible box in action. As your hover target expands, the remaining boxes shrink in size, but the total width always matches the size of the parent box.
There are really only two styles in play here, the display: box kicks things into flexbox mode, and then box-flex: 1 on the children makes them operate in flexible mode, taking up all extra space. The default orientation is horizontal, so in fact the box-orient: horizontal isn't necessary but it's wise to include for clarity and maintainability. The default box-align is stretch which is why these divs take up the full height of their parent box.
Not too bad, eh? You can see this technique used for navigation in this flexiblenav demo by Raphael Goetter. Centering something horizontally and vertically has long been a challenge in CSS. And that only flies with explicitly sized elements.When you work with responsive web design, you will find yourself with a combination of floats, heights swell as any number of hacks to get things done. CSS Flexbox aims to get rid of these hacks and let us create flexible layouts. CSS Flexbox controls the position, size and spacing of elements about their parent elements and each other.
By using flexbox css, we can quickly build complex layouts like navigations bars and menus, grid layouts, bar charts and more. Even though the browsers do not entirely support flex box, people are started using flex box.
It is excellent idea to keep fallback options like moderniser. In this post, you can see a great resource of flexbox tools, cheat sheets, reference, frameworks and much more. I am Prasad G Prechu. I analyse, Optimise websites to improve their search results, a regular blogger of cssauthor.
This is an excellent round up of Flexbox resources. This must have taken you forever to take all these screenshots and list this out. It is definitely an exhaustive list and I appreciate all of your hard work. This post is definitely added to my bookmark list. Way to go! Good work and a real timesaver.
I recently developed a CSS framework, which is very much based on Flexbox. Great work! Thank you so much. Leave A Reply Cancel Reply. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.
Learn how your comment data is processed.A flex container expands items to fill available free space or shrinks them to prevent overflow. Most importantly, the flexbox layout is direction-agnostic as opposed to the regular layouts block which is vertically-based and inline which is horizontally-based. While those work well for pages, they lack flexibility no pun intended to support large or complex applications especially when it comes to orientation changing, resizing, stretching, shrinking, etc.
Note: Flexbox layout is most appropriate to the components of an application, and small-scale layouts, while the Grid layout is intended for larger scale layouts. Since flexbox is a whole module and not a single property, it involves a lot of things including its whole set of properties. Please have a look at this figure from the specification, explaining the main idea behind the flex layout. Items will be laid out following either the main axis from main-start to main-end or the cross axis from cross-start to cross-end.
This defines a flex container; inline or block depending on the given value. It enables a flex context for all its direct children.
This establishes the main-axis, thus defining the direction flex items are placed in the flex container. Flexbox is aside from optional wrapping a single-direction layout concept. Think of flex items as primarily laying out either in horizontal rows or vertical columns. By default, flex items will all try to fit onto one line. You can change that and allow the items to wrap as needed with this property. There are some visual demos of flex-wrap here. The default value is row nowrap.
This defines the alignment along the main axis. It helps distribute extra free space leftover when either all the flex items on a line are inflexible, or are flexible but have reached their maximum size.
It also exerts some control over the alignment of items when they overflow the line. Note that that browser support for these values is nuanced. MDN has detailed charts. The safest values are flex-startflex-endand center. There are also two additional keywords you can pair with these values: safe and unsafe.
This defines the default behavior for how flex items are laid out along the cross axis on the current line. Think of it as the justify-content version for the cross-axis perpendicular to the main-axis.
The safe and unsafe modifier keywords can be used in conjunction with all the rest of these keywords although note browser supportand deal with helping you prevent aligning elements such that the content becomes inaccessible.
By default, flex items are laid out in the source order. However, the order property controls the order in which they appear in the flex container. This defines the ability for a flex item to grow if necessary.Curious about deep-diving into Flexbox?
Watch our sample video from the course below. Fortunately, some historical difficulties can be alleviated with CSS flexbox. Consider how forms are typically coded without flexbox. What HTML mark-up would you use for the following fields? Flexbox can solve these issues.
Flexbox is a magical way to layout multiple elements on the page. They can be aligned in horizontally, vertically, in order, reversed and sized in relation to other elements.
However, the most basic CSS to enable flexbox:. All child elements of the. The main difference between flexbox and grid systems such as the new CSS Grid Module is that flexbox is one-dimensional. Flexbox items are laid in a line and wrap when necessary. Grids are two-dimensional with defined columns and non-wrapping rows. Flexbox tools and resources:. You could consider the code as a base style for all forms on your site — presuming you have a consistent layout throughout. You can add classes should you want to use but they may not necessary for smaller sites or demonstrations.
We can fix ordering using the appropriately-named order property which is set to a positive or negative integer. We apply a width and padding to the label to ensure they align consistently. One disadvantage of flexbox is that you may need to adjust this width if you introduce longer text labels. Note the flex: 1 1 auto setting for inputtextarea and select fields.
The three values are:. The following code places the field first again, stops it using all the space and applies a margin which matches our label width set above:. We can switch off the default width and apply a little padding:. Sprinkle on a few colors and styles and we have a glorious form which will look great no matter what fields we throw at it.
Another advantage of the label coming last is that we can style it according to the state of its field.Learn more. This will not be aligned nicely in a browser, so do not expect a pat on the back from your client:. We do not want the text to overflow the radio button. We can avoid that without using flex box, however if we do use flexbox, it will be almost ridiculously simple. All you need is the following declaration:. You can clearly see that an empty text node i. Technically speaking, every item has a flex property and a default value set to initial.
The initial value means that an item can shrink when there is not enough space, however, it will not extend to fill up extra space. Take a look at the last line in the picture, where we combine various units. We want to define the width of the radio button in pixels, however, the width of the caption depends mainly on the font size, so we want to use em units. Also, we want the text input to fill up the rest of the space.
At the same time, we do not want to change the size of the caption. This is easy when using flexbox. The browser will handle the combination of units. Notice that we set flex: none for the radio button and text because we do not want them to shrink or extend. They simply keep the same width at all costs. Have you struggled with this problem too? Stop struggling, use flexbox. Then all you need to do is tell the flex item to center itself using the align-self property.
Both vertical and horizontal centering using flexbox is literally trouble-free. If you need to set an order of items in HTML one way and display it another way, flexbox will help you. Just remember the order property, which is used to change the order of flex items. Since the order property counts from zero, we will do it this way:. Changing the visual order might also come in handy when ordering items from Z to A.
Imagine a horizontal navigation where you do not know the number of items. But beware, do not imagine a long navigation as you might get a headache. Without flexbox, we can solve this by using display: table. This is because of the relative distribution of extra space when using flex-basis: autowhich is hidden in every flex: auto shorthand.
We may need all items to be equally distributed, right? So we will make the flex model absolute by setting flex-basis: 0. And what is an absolute flex model? The flex item takes up the remaining space based on its own width. On the other hand, when using a relative flex model, the flex item will take up the remaining space based on the space that is left between the content and the total width of the parent container.
This makes us happy, right? You can try a live example at cdpn. We know enough about flexbox now so the following solution will not surprise us:.Every example assumes that your HTML contains an element with a class of container which then contains several children that all have a class of item the number of children varies per example :.
The most basic flexbox pattern: getting a few boxes to stretch and fill the full width of their parent element. All you need to do is to set display: flex on the container, and a flex-grow value above 0 on the children:. Increasing flex-grow will increase the amount of space that an element is allowed to stretch to compared to any other element.
The middle item gets two chunks flex-grow: 2 worth of space, and all other elements get one chunk flex-grow: 1. A common app and web pattern is to create a top bar where we want to stretch only the middle element, but keep the right most and left most elements fixed.
If we just want one element to stretch, we can set a fixed width e. Even if the middle element here has a defined width of pxflex-grow will make it stretch to take up all the available space. You have to target the first item by selecting every third element, and then stepping back two items:. The margins between the items are the leftovers from every row, i.
You can change the flex-basis to increase or decrease the number of items on each row. We can create a grid full of items with constrained proportions by using a somewhat hacky padding CSS trick. To change the proportions of the items all you need to do is change the proportions of the width and padding-bottom on the.
If you want to use flexbox to create a simple graph visualization, all you need to do is to set align-items of the container to flex-end and define a height for each bar. Using the same technique as for vertical bars, we can simply add flex-direction on the container with a value of column to create a set of horizontal bars. To create a vertical stack and make the items run from top to bottom all we need to do is to change the flex-direction from the default value of row to column :.
One of the main challenges of creating a masonry layout with flexbox is that to make an item affect the positioning of an item above and below it we need to change the flex-direction of the container to columnwhich makes items run from top to bottom. This creates a layout that looks great, and similar to the masonry effect, but it could be confusing for users; it creates an unexpected ordering of elements.
If you read from left to right the elements would seem to be shuffled and appear in a seemingly random order, for example 1, 3, 6, 2, 4, 7, 8, etc. Luckily, we can use the order property to change in which order elements are rendered. We can combine that property with some clever use of the nth-child selector to order items dynamically depending on their original order.
This will set the order to 1 for the 1st element, 4th element, 7th element, etc. These three groups represent our three columns.