CSS Vertical Center with Flexbox

By  on  

I'm 31 years old and feel like I've been in the web development game for centuries.  We knew forever that layouts in CSS were a nightmare and we all considered flexbox our savior.  Whether it turns out that way remains to be seen but flexbox does easily solve a problem CSS has had for far too long:  CSS vertical centering.  Let me show you how easy it is!

Vertical centering requires a parent and children elements...

<div class="flexbox-container">
	<div>Blah blah</div>
	<div>Blah blah blah blah blah ...</div>
</div>

...but only the parent element needs CSS properties set for the vertical centering of child elements:

.flexbox-container {
	display: -ms-flexbox;
	display: -webkit-flex;
	display: flex;

	-ms-flex-align: center;
	-webkit-align-items: center;
	-webkit-box-align: center;

	align-items: center;
}

Aside from the vendor prefixes, that is some simple CSS!  Vertical centering without flexbox is hopeful at best so it's encouraging that the future of CSS layouts will make this task easy.  I'm still not sold on flexbox solving all of the web world's layout problems but solving vertical centering is quite an asset.

Recent Features

  • By
    9 Mind-Blowing WebGL Demos

    As much as developers now loathe Flash, we're still playing a bit of catch up to natively duplicate the animation capabilities that Adobe's old technology provided us.  Of course we have canvas, an awesome technology, one which I highlighted 9 mind-blowing demos.  Another technology available...

  • By
    Conquering Impostor Syndrome

    Two years ago I documented my struggles with Imposter Syndrome and the response was immense.  I received messages of support and commiseration from new web developers, veteran engineers, and even persons of all experience levels in other professions.  I've even caught myself reading the post...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    HTML5&#8217;s window.postMessage API

    One of the little known HTML5 APIs is the window.postMessage API.  window.postMessage allows for sending data messages between two windows/frames across domains.  Essentially window.postMessage acts as cross-domain AJAX without the server shims. Let's take a look at how window.postMessage works and how you...

  • By
    Style Textarea Resizers

    Modern browsers are nice in that they allow you to style some odd properties.  Heck, one of the most popular posts on this blog is HTML5 Placeholder Styling with CSS, a tiny but useful task.  Did you know you can also restyle the textarea resizer in WebKit...

Discussion

  1. Two words: Mind blown!

    I was just saying that despite being a developer for many years now, I still find it hard to vertical align anything. It shouldn’t be that hard!!! I’m looking forward to trying this out!

    Thanks!

  2. I’m still a bit confused about the behavior of the children (if one of them has a fixed width but the other one doesn’t, then the width of the first one isn’t really properly applied for example), but I haven’t looked into the whole flexbox thing enough so I’m sure that’s normal. Regardless, this example is already quite helpful for a bunch of situations.

  3. Remind me, what versions of IE is this (flex-box) supported back to? Thanks

  4. Answered my own question. Looks like it is only supported back to IE10 and even their it is partially supported using the -ms- prefix.

  5. I don’t see any mentions of the browser support. After a quick test, it works in Firefox, Chrome, and IE10+.

  6. Great post… regarding flexbox maybe this can help you:
    http://codepen.io/hicTech/pen/emvMBw

  7. Douwe

    Have been waiting for this for years! No more margin-top or padding nightmares! Thanks.

  8. undercover css cop
    .container { 
        position: absolute;
        top: 50%;
        left: 50%;
        transform: translate3d(-50%,-50%,0);
    }
    
  9. rud

    i’m not a big fan of position: absolute; and transform(3d): translateY();
    some browsers still support transform(3d) poorly..
    i’m sticking to dispay: table; and display: table-cell; for now..
    so i sure hope flexbox will become an adopted standard.. fast..

  10. Yeah I would avoide translate3d positioning… some browsers put your elements on a half pixel rendering your UI blurry… mainly because the way translated elements are painted to screen is different. :(

  11. Ali

    Do the elements in HTML have to be in DIVs? Can’t they be in HTML5 articles?

  12. emerson

    vertical align in flexbox is somewhat complicated because there are two modes for vertical-align, one for in-line vertical align and the other for in-container vertical-align.

    check the “Cross Align” and “Multi Align” panel in this flexbox generator to see the effect:
    http://loading.io/flexbox/

  13. The odd thing for me is that when I copy and paste the html and css into an editor and launch the file it’s not working. Am I missing something?

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!