CSS Flexbox Layout Model

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) offer a robust set of tools for web developers and designers, allowing for precise control over the layout and arrangement of elements on web pages. One of the most powerful layout models introduced in CSS is Flexbox. In this comprehensive tutorial, we will delve into the Flexbox layout model, providing a thorough introduction, code examples, and practical insights into how it can streamline the design and layout of your web projects.

Introduction to Flexbox

The Flexbox layout model, officially known as the “Flexible Box Layout,” is designed to simplify the complexities of creating responsive and flexible layouts. It’s particularly useful for arranging elements when the size of your container is unknown or dynamic. Flexbox introduces a parent-child relationship between a container and its items, allowing you to control how they are distributed and aligned within the container.

The Flex Container and Flex Items

In Flexbox, there are two fundamental components:

  1. Flex Container: The parent element that contains one or more flex items. You apply the display: flex; property to turn an element into a flex container. If you want an inline-level container, you can use display: inline-flex;.
  2. Flex Items: The child elements within the flex container. These are the elements you want to arrange and distribute. By default, flex items will align horizontally within the container.

Key Concepts

Before we dive into code examples, it’s essential to understand some key concepts of Flexbox:

  • Main Axis: The primary axis along which flex items are laid out. By default, it’s horizontal (left to right for LTR languages).
  • Cross Axis: The perpendicular axis to the main axis. It’s vertical by default (top to bottom).
  • Flex Direction: You can change the direction of the main axis by setting the flex-direction property. Here are the possible values:
  • row (default): The main axis runs horizontally.
  • row-reverse: The main axis runs horizontally in the opposite direction.
  • column: The main axis runs vertically.
  • column-reverse: The main axis runs vertically in the opposite direction.

Example: Changing the Flex Direction

  • Justify Content: It controls how flex items are distributed along the main axis. Here are some values:
  • flex-start (default): Items are packed towards the start of the main axis.
  • flex-end: Items are packed towards the end of the main axis.
  • center: Items are centered along the main axis.
  • space-between: Items are evenly distributed with the first item at the start and the last item at the end.
  • space-around: Items are evenly distributed with equal space around them.

Example: Distributing Space Between Items

  • Align Items: It controls how flex items align on the cross-axis. Here are some values:
  • stretch (default): Items stretch to fill the container along the cross-axis.
  • flex-start: Items are aligned at the start of the cross-axis.
  • flex-end: Items are aligned at the end of the cross-axis.
  • center: Items are centered along the cross-axis.
  • baseline: Items are aligned based on their baselines.

Example: Aligning Items at the Start of the Cross-Axis

  • Flex Wrap: It specifies whether flex items should wrap into multiple lines when they overflow the container. Here are the possible values:
  • nowrap (default): Items are forced into a single line.
  • wrap: Items wrap onto multiple lines as needed.
  • wrap-reverse: Items wrap onto multiple lines in reverse order.

Example: Wrapping Flex Items

These key concepts, when combined with practical code examples, provide a strong foundation for understanding and using Flexbox to create responsive and flexible layouts in your web projects.

display: flex and display: inline-flex

The display property is used to create a flex container. It can be set to flex or inline-flex depending on your layout requirements.

  • display: flex;: This property makes the container a block-level element. It occupies the full width of its parent container and creates a new block formatting context.

Example: Creating a Flex Container

  • display: inline-flex;: This property makes the container an inline-level element. It occupies only as much width as necessary, similar to inline elements. It’s useful for placing flex containers inline with text or other elements.

Example: Creating an Inline-Flex Container

These properties are essential for defining the behavior and positioning of flex containers within your layouts.


Flexbox is a versatile and powerful layout model in CSS that simplifies the process of creating complex and responsive designs. It offers a more