Practical Guide to CSS Grid

Taimoor Sattar

CSS grid is the most powerful layout system available. It makes life easy to layout content in 2-dimension. It allows you to layout content in rows and columns.

display: grid property used to define the 2-dimensional layout; assign to the HTML element which is the root/parent element and the child elements will flow in rows and column

Calculator in Grid

Let’s work on practical examples to understand the grid. We will be made a Calculator using CSS Grid.

You can view the full source code at CodePen. Link below…


calculator CSS Grid

First, Define the structure of HTML for calculator as below:

<div class="calc-btns">
  <button class="calc-btn is-clear">C</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">x</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">÷</button>

  <button class="calc-btn">7</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">8</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">9</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">-</button>

  <button class="calc-btn">4</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">5</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">6</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">+</button>

  <button class="calc-btn">1</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">2</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">3</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">%</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">0</button>
  <button class="calc-btn">.</button>
  <button class="calc-btn is-equal">

In the above HTML, calc-btns (with plural ‘s’) is the root HTML element and calc-btn (with singular) is the child HTML elements.

└── .calc-btn [.is-equal || .is-clear]

We can style the parent .calc-btns class as below in CSS:

  display: grid;
  background-color: #ececec;
  grid-template-rows: repeat(5, 1fr);
  grid-template-columns: repeat(4, 1fr);

/*   Same as above 2 line */
/*   grid-template: repeat(5, 1fr) / repeat(4, 1fr); */
  grid-gap: 20px;
  padding: 15px; 

In the above CSS code, we divide the rows in four(4) section and column in five(5) section for the layout of calculator.

We can style the single button with the .calc-btn class as below:

  background: rgb(47 47 47);
  border: 2px solid #d2d2d2;

  padding: 20px;
  color: #EEE; /* white text */
  border-radius: 5px; /* rounded corners */
  font-size: 22px; /* larger fonts */
  cursor: pointer; /* make it look clickable */

In the calculator, we have two button (equal, and clear) cover large space than other button. We can adjust the spacing of the button using grid property as below:

.is-clear   {
  grid-column: span 2;

.is-equal   {
    background-color: #9a9ab1;
    grid-row-start: 4;
    grid-row-end: 6;
    grid-column-start: 4;
    grid-column-end: 5;

Flexible Grid areas.

You can layout the whole website using a CSS grid. is the photoshop template for creating website templates. We are going to replicate the same feature using CSS Grid.

  • Header
  • content
  • Footer


Flexible Layout Grid

<div class="grid">
  <div class="item header">HEADER</div>
  <div class="item main">MAIN</div>
  <div class="item sidebar">SIDEBAR</div>
  <div class="item content1">CONTENT1</div>  
  <div class="item content2">CONTENT2</div>
  <div class="item content3">CONTENT3</div>
  <div class="item footer">FOOTER</div>  

The above HTML structure (in term of CSS class) structure as below:

└── .item [.header || .main || .sidebar || .content1 || .content2 || .content3 || footer]

For the parent .grid class, we can style the

.grid {
  /* define 2-dimensional Grid */
  display: grid; /* options: grid, inline-grid */

  grid-row-gap: 25px;
  grid-column-gap: 40px;;
  /* alternative way */  
  /* grid-gap: 50px 100px; */

  /* This define how much column in 2-dimension  layout */
  grid-template-columns: auto auto auto auto;
  grid-template-rows: 1fr 3fr 2fr 1fr;
  /* Define the Grid area to use in the items. */
            "nav nav nav nav"
            "main main main sidebar"
            "content1 content2 content3 sidebar"
            "footer footer footer footer";
  background-color: #c7c7c7;
  padding: 10px;

Above we have define grid-template-areas which tells that how HTML elements fits in the define area.

We can also change the structure of HTML elements on different screen size using media query.

/* This will make layout responsive. */
@media only screen and (max-width: 960px){
      grid-template-columns: 1fr;
    grid-template-rows: 1fr 3fr 2fr 1fr 1fr 1fr 1fr;

In the above style, when the browser width size is less than 960px HTML structure changes to fit the content area. Learn more about media query in CSS here →

We can style Individual block of HTML element with the .item class as below:

.item {
  border-radius: 3px;
  background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.8);
  border: 1px solid lightgrey;
  padding: 20px;
  font-size: 30px;
  text-align: center;

Last, we need to assign the related class names to the specific portion of the grid-area as below:

  grid-area: main;

  grid-area: sidebar;

  grid-area: content1;

  grid-area: content2;

  grid-area: content3;

  grid-area: footer;

About the Author

Written by Taimoor Sattar I'm Taimoor Sattar, a full-stack developer, experience to develop websites in React/JavaScript, Node, and HTML/CSS. You should follow them on Twitter. You can contact me on this page.