Master Flexbox CSS in Just 8 Minutes

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Master Flexbox CSS in Just 8 Minutes

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Flexbox
  2. Basic Concepts of Flexbox
    • Flex Container
    • Flex Items
  3. Setting up a Flex Container
    • HTML Structure
    • CSS Styles
  4. Understanding the Main Axis and Cross Axis
    • Default Main Axis
    • Changing the Main Axis
    • Aligning Items along the Main Axis
    • Aligning Items along the Cross Axis
  5. Controlling Flexbox Wrapping
    • Making Items Wrap
    • Aligning Wrapped Items
    • Adding Gaps between Items
  6. Flexible Sizing of Flex Items
    • Flex Grow
    • Flex Shrink
    • Flex Basis
    • Flex Shorthand
    • Align Self
  7. Changing the Order of Flex Items
    • Default Order
    • Modifying Item Order
  8. Pros and Cons of Using Flexbox
  9. Conclusion

Introduction to Flexbox

Flexbox is a layout model introduced in CSS that enables developers to create flexible and responsive web layouts. It revolutionized the way layouts were created by providing a highly efficient and intuitive approach. In this article, we will explore the key concepts of Flexbox and learn how to set up a Flex container, align items, control wrapping, and more. So, let's dive in and discover the power of Flexbox!

1. Basic Concepts of Flexbox

Flexbox operates on two fundamental entities: Flex Container and Flex Items.

Flex Container

The Flex Container is the parent element that wraps one or more Flex Items. It is responsible for defining the layout and alignment properties for its child items.

Flex Items

Flex Items are the child elements contained within the Flex Container. They can be horizontally or vertically arranged based on the Flex Container's layout settings.

2. Setting up a Flex Container

To use Flexbox, you need to set up a Flex Container in your HTML structure and apply CSS styles to it.

HTML Structure

In your HTML file, create a container element that will serve as the Flex Container. Inside the container, add the child elements that will be the Flex Items.

<div class="flex-container">
  <div class="flex-item">Item 1</div>
  <div class="flex-item">Item 2</div>
  <div class="flex-item">Item 3</div>

CSS Styles

In your CSS file, target the Flex Container using its class or ID selector. Apply the display: flex; property to the container to activate Flexbox.

.flex-container {
  display: flex;

3. Understanding the Main Axis and Cross Axis

Flexbox introduces two invisible axes: the Main Axis and the Cross Axis. These axes determine the direction of item placement and alignment.

Default Main Axis

By default, the Main Axis is horizontal, flowing from left to right. This means that Flex Items will be arranged in a row unless otherwise specified.

Changing the Main Axis

You can change the direction of the Main Axis by using the flex-direction property. Setting it to column will make the Main Axis vertical, from top to bottom.

.flex-container {
  flex-direction: column;

Aligning Items along the Main Axis

To align the Flex Items along the Main Axis, you can use the justify-content property. It offers various alignment options:

  • flex-start: Aligns items to the start of the Main Axis.
  • flex-end: Aligns items to the end of the Main Axis.
  • center: Centers items along the Main Axis.
  • space-between: Distributes items evenly with space between the first and last item.
  • space-around: Distributes items evenly with space on both ends and between each item.
  • space-evenly: Distributes space evenly between all items.

Aligning Items along the Cross Axis

To align the Flex Items along the Cross Axis, you can use the align-items property. It provides alignment options similar to justify-content:

  • flex-start: Aligns items to the start of the Cross Axis.
  • flex-end: Aligns items to the end of the Cross Axis.
  • center: Centers items along the Cross Axis.
  • baseline: Aligns items based on their text baseline.

4. Controlling Flexbox Wrapping

Flexbox allows you to control how Flex Items wrap when they exceed the available space in the Flex Container.

Making Items Wrap

By default, Flex Items try to fit into a single line. However, you can make them wrap to the next line by using the flex-wrap property. Set it to wrap to enable wrapping.

.flex-container {
  flex-wrap: wrap;

Aligning Wrapped Items

When Flex Items wrap, you can align them along the Cross Axis using the align-content property. It works in conjunction with flex-wrap: wrap and provides similar alignment options as justify-content.

Adding Gaps between Items

To add spacing between Flex Items, you can use the gap property on the container. This property introduces gaps between items, effectively creating margins.

.flex-container {
  gap: 10px;

5. Flexible Sizing of Flex Items

Flexbox offers flexible sizing options for the Flex Items, allowing them to dynamically adjust their size based on available space.

Flex Grow

The flex-grow property determines how much an item can grow in relation to other items. It takes a unitless value as a proportion. For example, flex-grow: 1; will allocate equal space to all items.

Flex Shrink

The flex-shrink property controls how fast an item shrinks compared to other items when there is limited space. Set it to 0 to prevent an item from shrinking.

Flex Basis

The flex-basis property defines the initial size of an item before the remaining space is distributed. It can be used to override the default size, such as width or height.

Flex Shorthand

The flex shorthand combines flex-grow, flex-shrink, and flex-basis into a single property. It provides a concise way to set all three values at once.

Align Self

The align-self property allows you to override the align-items property on individual items. It provides options like flex-start, flex-end, center, and baseline.

6. Changing the Order of Flex Items

Flexbox allows you to change the order in which Flex Items appear within the Flex Container. This can be useful for reordering elements.

Default Order

By default, Flex Items appear in the order defined in the HTML structure. Item 1 will be followed by Item 2, and so on.

Modifying Item Order

To change the item order, use the order property. Assign a numeric value to each item to redefine their order. Items with lower values appear first.

.flex-item {
  order: 2;

Please note that the order property should be used sparingly to avoid breaking the semantic structure and accessibility of your HTML.

8. Pros and Cons of Using Flexbox

Using Flexbox has several advantages for web developers:


  • Simplified layout creation with fewer CSS rules.
  • Automatic alignment and sizing of items.
  • Responsive design capabilities.
  • Intuitive and easy to understand.


  • Limited browser support for older versions.
  • Can be challenging to achieve complex layouts.
  • Requires additional CSS rules to handle specific scenarios.

9. Conclusion

Flexbox is a powerful CSS layout model that provides flexible and responsive design capabilities. By understanding the key concepts and properties of Flexbox, you can create dynamic and visually appealing layouts. Experiment with different options and explore the versatility of Flexbox in your web development projects.


  • Flexbox revolutionized web layout creation by introducing a flexible and intuitive approach.
  • Flex Container and Flex Items are the core entities in Flexbox.
  • Setting up a Flex Container involves creating a container element and applying CSS styles.
  • The Main Axis and Cross Axis determine the direction of item placement and alignment.
  • Flexbox enables control over item wrapping, content alignment, and spacing between items.
  • Flexible sizing options like Flex Grow, Flex Shrink, and Flex Basis allow items to adjust dynamically.
  • The order property allows reordering of Flex Items within the container.
  • Pros of Flexbox: simplified layout creation, automatic alignment, responsive design capabilities.
  • Cons of Flexbox: limited browser support, complexity for certain layouts, additional CSS rules for specific scenarios.
  • By mastering Flexbox, you can create visually appealing and responsive web layouts.


Q: Can I use Flexbox in older web browsers? A: While Flexbox has decent browser support, older versions of some browsers may not fully support all Flexbox properties. It's recommended to check the compatibility chart and provide fallback solutions for older browsers if needed.

Q: Is Flexbox suitable for complex layouts? A: Flexbox is great for most layout scenarios, but for highly complex layouts, it may have limitations or require additional CSS rules. In such cases, combining Flexbox with other CSS layout techniques like Grid or CSS frameworks can provide more flexibility.

Q: Do I need to set a fixed width for Flex Items? A: No, one of the main advantages of Flexbox is its ability to automatically adjust the size of items based on available space. You can use flexible sizing options like Flex Grow and Flex Shrink to control item behavior.

Q: Can I use Flexbox for responsive design? A: Absolutely! Flexbox is highly suitable for responsive design. Its flexible nature allows items to adapt to different screen sizes and orientations smoothly. Combine media queries and other responsive techniques with Flexbox to achieve optimal responsiveness.

Q: How does Flexbox compare to other layout models like CSS Grid? A: Both Flexbox and CSS Grid offer powerful layout capabilities. While Flexbox is primarily used for one-dimensional layouts (either row or column), CSS Grid is designed for two-dimensional layouts. Consider the requirements of your specific layout and choose the appropriate model accordingly.

Q: Is Flexbox easy to learn for beginners? A: Yes, Flexbox is relatively easy to grasp compared to other layout models. Its simplicity and intuitive behavior make it a great choice for beginners. Start with basic concepts and gradually explore advanced features to master Flexbox effectively.

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