Thursday January 21, 2021 By David Quintanilla
Flexbox Align: When to Use Auto Margins Instead of Flexbox Center

Flexbox alignment properties are excellent and so they remedy a number of format issues, particularly the place the widespread “vertical and horizontal heart” format is required. Nevertheless, there are occasions when aligning with auto margins is safer and extra versatile. This tutorial will present you when!

Get Began with Flexbox

When you’re simply moving into the world of flexbox we have now a collection of complete newbie’s tutorials to get you on top of things. Be taught the fundamentals of flexbox alignment, flexbox ordering, and flexbox sizing, and also you’ll be completely outfitted for extra intermediate tutorials afterward!

The Challenge

For this demonstration, we’ll assume that we’re constructing a minimal weblog web site for a shopper. The designer offered us the next web page format:

The page layout

When the menu toggle button is clicked, the fullscreen menu will seem and appear like this:

The menu

Take note of the next:

  • The header might be fastened and stay as we scroll.
  • The menu might be fullscreen and glued. Its gadgets might be vertically and horizontally centered. Nevertheless, if their whole top exceeds the menu top, a scrollbar will seem. 

1. Outline the HTML Markup

Let’s start by setting out the required markup:

Inside the nav component, we’ll outline two helper buttons that may enable us so as to add or take away gadgets by clicking them. The minimal variety of gadgets might be three, however we will add and take away gadgets to make our demo clearer.

Helper buttons for adding or removing menu items

2. Specify Some CSS Kinds

Right here’s part of the types we’ll use:

By default, the .menu-wrapper component might be hidden and obtain show: flex as quickly as we click on the toggle button.

Flexbox Heart

To reply a basic format query, we’re going to make use of flexbox to heart the menu vertically and horizontally. Flexbox makes it very easy: to align the gadgets in the course of the web page we’ll use justify-content: heart and align-items: heart.

Nevertheless, there’s an overflow downside. If we add sufficient gadgets to make the scrollbar seem, we’ll discover that the highest ones are being lower off—they disappear fully and we will’t attain them by scrolling.

The align-items: center crops the items

Take a look at the demo to see your self; add 20 or so gadgets to the menu:

The secure Key phrase

One solution to overcome this problem is to make the most of a brand new CSS key phrase which we will use after we align gadgets:  secure

Right here’s its actual definition as taken from Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) Docs:

“Used alongside an alignment key phrase. If the chosen key phrase implies that the merchandise overflows the alignment container inflicting information loss, the merchandise is as a substitute aligned as if the alignment mode had been begin.”

To check this new worth we’ll exchange align-items: heart with align-items: secure heart.

In plain English we’d translate the secure heart values as observe:

“The weather might be vertically centered, but when their top exceeds the flex container’s one, the alignment mode will change to begin. After all, to see all of the gadgets, the flex container ought to have an applicable overflow-y worth like auto.”

Sadly, on the time of this writing, it isn’t thought-about a steady resolution. In precise reality, it has very limited browser support and solely works in current variations of Firefox. 

Verify the next demo to see how the secure key phrase works (make sure to take action in Firefox):

Auto Margins

Fortunately, there’s one other secure resolution that we will use: we’ll make the most of auto margins. This isn’t truly a flexbox property, in truth you’ve most likely already used it by way of the margin: 0 auto rule to heart a fixed-width component inside a mother or father container.

In our case, the trick is to take away the align-items: heart and justify-content: heart guidelines from the flex container and provides the flex merchandise margin: auto as a substitute.

By setting all margins to auto, all sides of our flex merchandise will attempt to occupy any obtainable house. If this house exists, they’ll push it into the middle.

This solves our particular downside as a result of auto margins received’t lower off components of the flex merchandise within the occasion it exceeds the scale of the container. 

Be aware: remember that as quickly as you employ this method, the flexbox alignment properties may have no impact.

Right here’s the associated demo:

3. Toggle Menu

Lastly, we’ll use some simple JavaScript code to toggle the menu:

The corresponding types:


Achieved! As we speak we mentioned the efficient use of auto margins for controlling the alignment of a flex format. We coated only one particular case, however hopefully you get the concept and can have the ability to apply it to your individual conditions.

Two issues it’s a must to keep in mind:

  • In contrast to flexbox alignment properties, auto margins must be outlined within the flex merchandise.
  • Auto margins take priority over the flexbox alignment properties.

As at all times, thanks so much for studying!

Extra Flexbox Tutorials

We have now a number of sensible tutorials that can assist you study flexbox–dive in!

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