How To Use Flex Basis in Tailwind CSS

Flexbox is a powerful layout tool in CSS that allows you to design complex layouts with ease. One of the key properties in Flexbox is flex-basis, which defines the default size of an element before the remaining space is distributed. Tailwind CSS, a utility-first CSS framework, provides a set of classes to control the flex-basis property directly in your markup. In this article, we’ll explore how to use flex-basis with Tailwind CSS effectively.

Understanding Flex Basis

Before diving into Tailwind specifics, it’s essential to understand what flex-basis does. The flex-basis property sets the initial size of a flex item. It can be specified in lengths (like px, em, etc.), percentages, or with the keyword auto, which sizes the item based on its content or specified width/height.

Getting Started with Tailwind CSS

If you’re not already using Tailwind CSS in your project, you’ll need to set it up first. You can include Tailwind by installing it via npm or yarn and then adding it to your build process. For detailed instructions, visit the official Tailwind CSS installation guide.

Using Flex Basis in Tailwind CSS

Tailwind provides a series of utility classes for flex-basis, which are based on the framework’s spacing scale. Here’s how you can use them:

Basic Usage

To set the flex-basis of an element, you can use the basis-{size} classes, where {size} is a value from Tailwind’s spacing scale. For example:

<div class="flex">
  <div class="basis-1/4">1/4</div>
  <div class="basis-1/2">1/2</div>
  <div class="basis-1/4">1/4</div>

In this example, the first and last elements will each take up a quarter of the available space, while the middle element takes up half.

Responsive Flex Basis

Tailwind also allows you to set flex-basis values that respond to different screen sizes using its responsive prefixes. For example:

<div class="flex">
  <div class="basis-1/3 md:basis-1/4">Item</div>

Here, the basis-1/3 class applies by default, but on medium screens and larger (as defined by Tailwind’s breakpoints), the basis-1/4 class takes effect.

Auto Flex Basis

To set the flex-basis to auto, you can use the basis-auto class:

<div class="flex">
  <div class="basis-auto">Auto Basis</div>

This will size the element based on its content or specified width/height.

Full Flex Basis

To have an element take up all available space, you can use the basis-full class:

<div class="flex">
  <div class="basis-full">Full Basis</div>

Custom Flex Basis

If you need a flex-basis value that isn’t included in Tailwind’s default spacing scale, you can extend Tailwind’s configuration file to include custom values:

// tailwind.config.js
module.exports = {
  theme: {
    extend: {
      spacing: {
        '128': '32rem',

Then, you can use your custom value like so:

<div class="flex">
  <div class="basis-128">Custom Basis</div>

Combining Flex Basis with Other Flex Properties

Tailwind also provides utility classes for other flex properties like flex-grow and flex-shrink. You can combine these with flex-basis for more complex flexbox behavior:

<div class="flex">
  <div class="flex-grow basis-1/4">Grow and Basis</div>
  <div class="flex-shrink basis-1/4">Shrink and Basis</div>


Tailwind CSS makes it incredibly easy to work with flex-basis and other Flexbox properties directly in your HTML. By using the utility classes provided by Tailwind, you can design responsive and flexible layouts without writing custom CSS.

For more advanced usage and customization options, refer to the official Tailwind CSS documentation on Flexbox. Always remember to test your layouts on different screen sizes to ensure your design is responsive and behaves as expected.

By mastering flex-basis and other Flexbox utilities in Tailwind, you’ll be able to create sophisticated layouts with minimal effort, keeping your HTML clean and maintainable.


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