How to Use Tailwind CSS Box Decoration Break

Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework that provides a vast array of classes to style your HTML elements quickly and efficiently. One of the features you can control with Tailwind is the box decoration break, which is particularly useful when dealing with inline elements that span multiple lines. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using the box decoration break utility in Tailwind CSS.

What is Box Decoration Break?

Before diving into Tailwind’s implementation, let’s understand what box decoration break is. The box-decoration-break CSS property defines how the decorations of a box, such as background, border, margin, padding, and shadow, are applied when the box is fragmented. Fragmentation occurs when an inline box wraps onto multiple lines or when a block spans across multiple columns or pages.

The property has two main values:

  • slice: The default value. Decorations are applied to each fragment as if they were separate boxes, with the edges of each fragment decorated separately.
  • clone: Decorations are applied to each fragment identically, making it look like the box was cloned for each fragment.

How to Use Box Decoration Break in Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS provides utility classes for box decoration break, allowing you to control how your elements’ decorations are handled across fragments. Here’s how to use them:

Step 1: Ensure You Have the Correct Version of Tailwind CSS

First, make sure you have a version of Tailwind CSS that supports box decoration break utilities. These utilities are available in Tailwind CSS v2.1.0 and later. You can check your Tailwind CSS version in your package.json file or by running npm list tailwindcss in your project directory.

Step 2: Add the Utilities to Your Configuration

By default, Tailwind doesn’t include box decoration break utilities in the generated CSS due to file size considerations. To enable them, you need to extend your tailwind.config.js file:

// tailwind.config.js
module.exports = {
  // ...
  theme: {
    extend: {
      // Enable box decoration break utilities
      boxDecorationBreak: ['responsive'], // or 'hover', 'focus', etc., if needed
  // ...

Step 3: Apply the Utility Classes to Your HTML

Once you’ve configured Tailwind to include the box decoration break utilities, you can use the following classes in your HTML:

  • box-decoration-slice: Applies the slice behavior to the element.
  • box-decoration-clone: Applies the clone behavior to the element.

Here’s an example of how to use these classes in your HTML:

<p class="box-decoration-slice bg-blue-200 p-2 border-2 border-blue-500">
  This paragraph has a background, padding, and border that will be sliced at each line break.

<p class="box-decoration-clone bg-blue-200 p-2 border-2 border-blue-500">
  This paragraph has a background, padding, and border that will be cloned at each line break.

Step 4: Test and Adjust

After applying the utility classes, test your design across different screen sizes and with varying amounts of content to ensure it behaves as expected. Adjust your HTML and CSS as necessary to achieve the desired effect.

Considerations When Using Box Decoration Break

  • Browser Support: Not all browsers support the box-decoration-break property. Check the Can I use page for current browser support information.
  • Design Impact: Using clone can significantly affect the visual design of your elements, especially with borders and shadows. Make sure to review your design in context to ensure it’s visually coherent.
  • Performance: Overusing box decoration break utilities can lead to larger CSS file sizes, which may impact performance. Use them judiciously and consider purging unused styles with Tailwind’s purge options.


Tailwind CSS’s box decoration break utilities offer a powerful way to control the appearance of elements across multiple lines or fragments. By understanding how to enable and apply these utilities, you can create more consistent and visually appealing designs. Remember to consider browser support and design impact when using these features, and always test your implementation across different scenarios.

For more information on Tailwind CSS and its utilities, visit the official Tailwind CSS documentation. If you’re looking to dive deeper into the box-decoration-break property itself, the MDN Web Docs provide a comprehensive guide.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you should now be equipped to effectively use the Tailwind CSS box decoration break utilities in your projects. Happy styling!


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