How To Use Grid Column Start / End in Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework that provides a vast array of classes to build responsive, modern websites with ease. Among its features is a comprehensive grid system that allows for precise control over layout. In this article, we’ll delve into how to use the grid column start and end utilities in Tailwind to manage the placement of elements within a grid container.

Understanding the CSS Grid Layout

Before we jump into Tailwind specifics, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the CSS Grid Layout. The Grid Layout is a two-dimensional layout system for the web that allows developers to create complex designs easily. It works by defining a container element as a grid with columns and rows, then placing its child elements into the grid where you specify.

Enabling Grid Layout in Tailwind

To use the grid system in Tailwind, you first need to define a grid container. This is done by applying the grid class to your container element:

<div class="grid">
  <!-- your grid items here -->

Using Grid Column Start / End in Tailwind

Tailwind provides a set of utilities for controlling where an element starts and ends along the column axis of the grid. These classes are named using the format col-start-{n} and col-end-{n}, where {n} is a number corresponding to the grid line the element should start or end at.

Defining Column Start

To place a grid item at a specific starting point on the column axis, use the col-start-{n} class:

<div class="grid grid-cols-3">
  <div class="col-start-2">
    <!-- This item will start at the second column line -->

Defining Column End

Similarly, to define where a grid item should end on the column axis, use the col-end-{n} class:

<div class="grid grid-cols-3">
  <div class="col-end-3">
    <!-- This item will end at the third column line -->

Spanning Multiple Columns

You can also span grid items across multiple columns by combining col-start-{n} and col-end-{n}:

<div class="grid grid-cols-5">
  <div class="col-start-2 col-end-5">
    <!-- This item will span from the second to the fourth column line -->

Alternatively, Tailwind provides col-span-{n} classes to span an element across a specific number of columns:

<div class="grid grid-cols-5">
  <div class="col-span-3">
    <!-- This item will span across three columns -->

Responsive Design

Tailwind’s grid column utilities can be applied responsively using the {breakpoint}: prefix. This allows you to change the grid layout at different screen sizes:

<div class="grid grid-cols-6">
  <div class="col-start-1 col-end-4 md:col-start-2 md:col-end-6">
    <!-- This item will start and end at different points depending on the screen size -->

Handling Overlapping Elements

When using grid column start and end utilities, you might encounter situations where elements overlap. This happens when multiple items are placed on the same grid lines. You can resolve this by adjusting the start or end positions or by using z-index utilities to control the stacking order.

Best Practices

  • Plan your grid layout: Before adding any classes, sketch out your grid and decide where elements should start and end.
  • Use the smallest set of responsive utilities: Apply grid column utilities only at the breakpoints where changes are necessary to keep your HTML clean.
  • Combine with other utilities: Use Tailwind’s spacing, sizing, and alignment utilities to fine-tune the layout within grid items.


Tailwind’s grid column start and end utilities offer a powerful way to control the placement of elements within a grid layout. By understanding how these classes work and how to apply them responsively, you can create complex, adaptive designs with ease. For more information on Tailwind’s grid system and other utilities, visit the official Tailwind CSS documentation.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Experiment with different grid configurations and utilities to become proficient in creating responsive layouts with Tailwind CSS.


What do you think?