How To Align Items with Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework that provides high productivity and flexibility for developers. One of the common tasks when designing a webpage is aligning items, whether it’s text, images, or other elements. Tailwind makes this process straightforward with its utility classes. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about aligning items using Tailwind CSS.

Understanding Flexbox in Tailwind

Before diving into the alignment, it’s crucial to understand that Tailwind uses Flexbox, a CSS3 layout model, for creating complex layouts with a more streamlined and efficient approach. To align items with Tailwind, you’ll primarily be using Flexbox-related utility classes.

Starting with a Flex Container

To align items, you first need to create a flex container. This is done by applying the flex class to a parent element.

<div class="flex">
  <!-- Child elements will go here -->

Aligning Items Vertically (Cross-axis)

To align items vertically, you’ll be adjusting the cross-axis alignment. Tailwind provides several utility classes for this purpose:

  • items-start: Aligns items to the start of the container (top).
  • items-end: Aligns items to the end of the container (bottom).
  • items-center: Centers items vertically.
  • items-baseline: Aligns items to their baselines.
  • items-stretch: Stretches items to fill the container (default behavior).


<div class="flex items-center">
  <!-- Child elements will be vertically centered -->

Aligning Items Horizontally (Main-axis)

Horizontal alignment is controlled by the justify-content property in Flexbox. Tailwind provides utility classes for this as well:

  • justify-start: Aligns items to the start of the container (left).
  • justify-end: Aligns items to the end of the container (right).
  • justify-center: Centers items horizontally.
  • justify-between: Distributes items evenly with the first item at the start and the last item at the end.
  • justify-around: Distributes items evenly with equal space around them.
  • justify-evenly: Distributes items evenly with equal space between them.


<div class="flex justify-between">
  <!-- Child elements will be spaced out evenly -->

Aligning Individual Items

Sometimes you might want to align one item differently from the others within the same flex container. Tailwind provides self-* classes for this purpose:

  • self-auto: Allows the item to follow the container’s default alignment.
  • self-start: Aligns the item to the start of the cross-axis.
  • self-end: Aligns the item to the end of the cross-axis.
  • self-center: Centers the item on the cross-axis.
  • self-stretch: Stretches the item to fill the container on the cross-axis.
  • self-baseline: Aligns the item to its baseline.


<div class="flex items-center">
  <div class="self-start">...</div> <!-- This item will align to the start -->
  <div>...</div> <!-- This item will be centered as per the container -->

Responsive Alignment

Tailwind’s responsive design features allow you to apply different alignments at different breakpoints. You can prefix any alignment utility with a breakpoint name:

  • sm:
  • md:
  • lg:
  • xl:
  • 2xl:


<div class="flex items-center md:items-start">
  <!-- Items will be centered on small screens and aligned to the start on medium screens and up -->

Combining Utilities

You can combine various alignment utilities to achieve complex layouts. For example, you might want a container that centers items vertically and spaces them out evenly horizontally:

<div class="flex items-center justify-evenly">
  <!-- Child elements will be centered and spaced evenly -->

Common Questions

Can I use Tailwind to align grid items?

Yes, Tailwind also supports CSS Grid with a set of utilities for aligning grid items.

How do I handle browser support?

Tailwind uses modern CSS features like Flexbox and CSS Grid, which are widely supported in modern browsers. However, for older browsers, you may need to write custom CSS or consider using Autoprefixer in your build process.

Where can I learn more about Flexbox?

To get a deeper understanding of Flexbox, you can visit CSS Tricks’ A Complete Guide to Flexbox, which provides an excellent overview and visual examples.


Aligning items with Tailwind CSS is a matter of understanding the Flexbox model and using the appropriate utility classes. With responsive design capabilities and a wide range of alignment options, Tailwind offers a powerful and efficient way to create layouts that look great on any device. Remember to experiment with different combinations of utilities to achieve the desired layout for your project.


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