Cross-browser Flexbox mixins

This article provides a set of mixins for those who want to mess around with flexbox using the native support of current browsers.

This set uses:

  • Fallbacks using 2009 'box' syntax (FF and Older WebKit) and prefixed syntaxes (IE10, WebKit browsers without flex wrapping)
  • Final standards syntax (FF, Safari, Chrome, IE11+, Edge, Opera)

This was inspired by:

With help from:

Note: Mixins are not currently supported natively in browsers. Instead, you will need to use a CSS pre-processor to make the most of the following. However, CSS pre-processors simply generate valid CSS, so the techniques used below can be written in pure CSS instead, if preferred.

Flexbox containers

Using the display property's flex value causes an element to generate a block-level flex container box. The inline-flex value causes an element to generate an inline-level flex container box.

@mixin flexbox {
  display: -webkit-box;
  display: -moz-box;
  display: -webkit-flex;
  display: -ms-flexbox;
  display: flex;

//Using this mixin
%flexbox { @include flexbox; }
@mixin inline-flex {
  display: -webkit-inline-box;
  display: -moz-inline-box;
  display: -webkit-inline-flex;
  display: -ms-inline-flexbox;
  display: inline-flex;

%inline-flex { @include inline-flex; }

Flexbox direction

The flex-direction property specifies how flex items are placed in the flex container, by setting the direction of the flex container's main axis. This determines the direction in which flex items are laid out in.

@mixin flex-direction($value: row) {
  @if $value == row-reverse {
    -webkit-box-direction: reverse;
    -webkit-box-orient: horizontal;
    -moz-box-direction: reverse;
    -moz-box-orient: horizontal;
  } @else if $value == column {
    -webkit-box-direction: normal;
    -webkit-box-orient: vertical;
    -moz-box-direction: normal;
    -moz-box-orient: vertical;
  } @else if $value == column-reverse {
    -webkit-box-direction: reverse;
    -webkit-box-orient: vertical;
    -moz-box-direction: reverse;
    -moz-box-orient: vertical;
  } @else {
    -webkit-box-direction: normal;
    -webkit-box-orient: horizontal;
    -moz-box-direction: normal;
    -moz-box-orient: horizontal;
  -webkit-flex-direction: $value;
  -ms-flex-direction: $value;
  flex-direction: $value;

// Shorter version:
@mixin flex-dir($args...) { @include flex-direction($args...); }

Flexbox wrap

The flex-wrap property controls whether the flex container is single-lined or multi-lined and the direction of the cross-axis, which determines the direction in which the new lines are stacked in.

@mixin flex-wrap($value: nowrap) {
  // No Webkit/FF Box fallback.
  -webkit-flex-wrap: $value;
  @if $value == nowrap {
    -ms-flex-wrap: none;
  } @else {
    -ms-flex-wrap: $value;
  flex-wrap: $value;

Flexbox flow (shorthand)

The flex-flow property is shorthand for setting the flex-direction and flex-wrap properties, which together define the flex container's main and cross axes.

@mixin flex-flow($values: (row nowrap)) {
  // No Webkit/FF Box fallback.
  -webkit-flex-flow: $values;
  -ms-flex-flow: $values;
  flex-flow: $values;

Flexbox order

The order property controls the order in which flex items appear within their flex container, by assigning them to ordinal groups.

@mixin order($int: 0) {
  -webkit-box-ordinal-group: $int + 1;
  -moz-box-ordinal-group: $int + 1;
  -webkit-order: $int;
  -ms-flex-order: $int;
  order: $int;

Flexbox grow

The flex-grow property sets the flex grow factor. Negative numbers are invalid.

@mixin flex-grow($int: 1) {
  -webkit-box-flex: $int;
  -moz-box-flex: $int;
  -webkit-flex-grow: $int;
  -ms-flex: $int;
  flex-grow: $int;

Flexbox shrink

The flex-shrink property sets the flex shrink factor. Negative numbers are invalid.

@mixin flex-shrink($int: 0) {
  -webkit-flex-shrink: $int;
  -moz-flex-shrink: $int;
  -ms-flex: $int;
  flex-shrink: $int;

Flexbox basis

The flex-basis property sets the flex basis. Negative lengths are invalid.

@mixin flex-basis($value: auto) {
  -webkit-flex-basis: $value;
  flex-basis: $value;

Flexbox "flex" (shorthand)

The flex property specifies the components of a flexible length; flex-grow factor, flex-shrink factor, and the flex-basis. When an element is a flex item, flex is consulted instead of the main size property to determine the main size of the element. If an element is not a flex item, flex has no effect.

@mixin flex($fg: 1, $fs: 0, $fb: auto) {

  // Set a variable to be used by box-flex properties
  $fg-boxflex: $fg;

  // Box-Flex only supports a flex-grow value so lets grab the
  // first item in the list and just return that.
  @if type-of($fg) == 'list' {
    $fg-boxflex: nth($fg, 1);

  -webkit-box: $fg-boxflex;
  -moz-box: $fg-boxflex;
  -webkit-flex: $fg $fs $fb;
  -ms-flex: $fg $fs $fb;
  flex: $fg $fs $fb;

Flexbox justify content

The justify-content property aligns flex items along the main axis of the current line of the flex container. This is done after any flexible lengths and any auto margins have been resolved. Typically, it helps to distribute extra free space leftover when either all the flex items on a line are inflexible, or are flexible but have reached their maximum size. It also exerts some control over the alignment of items when they overflow the line.

Note: space-* values not supported in older syntaxes.

@mixin justify-content($value: flex-start) {
  @if $value == flex-start {
    -webkit-box-pack: start;
    -moz-box-pack: start;
    -ms-flex-pack: start;
  } @else if $value == flex-end {
    -webkit-box-pack: end;
    -moz-box-pack: end;
    -ms-flex-pack: end;
  } @else if $value == space-between {
    -webkit-box-pack: justify;
    -moz-box-pack: justify;
    -ms-flex-pack: justify;
  } @else if $value == space-around {
    -ms-flex-pack: distribute;
  } @else {
    -webkit-box-pack: $value;
    -moz-box-pack: $value;
    -ms-flex-pack: $value;
  -webkit-justify-content: $value;
  justify-content: $value;
  // Shorter version:
  @mixin flex-just($args...) { @include justify-content($args...); }

Flexbox align items

Flex items can be aligned in the cross axis of the current line of the flex container, similar to justify-content but in the perpendicular direction. align-items sets the default alignment for all of the flex container's items, including anonymous flex items. align-self allows this default alignment to be overridden for individual flex items. (For anonymous flex items, align-self always matches the value of align-items on their associated flex container.)

@mixin align-items($value: stretch) {
  @if $value == flex-start {
    -webkit-box-align: start;
    -moz-box-align: start;
    -ms-flex-align: start;
  } @else if $value == flex-end {
    -webkit-box-align: end;
    -moz-box-align: end;
    -ms-flex-align: end;
  } @else {
    -webkit-box-align: $value;
    -moz-box-align: $value;
    -ms-flex-align: $value;
  -webkit-align-items: $value;
  align-items: $value;

Flexbox align self

Values: auto (default) | flex-start | flex-end | center | baseline | stretch


@mixin align-self($value: auto) {
  // No Webkit Box Fallback.
  -webkit-align-self: $value;
  @if $value == flex-start {
    -ms-flex-item-align: start;
  } @else if $value == flex-end {
    -ms-flex-item-align: end;
  } @else {
    -ms-flex-item-align: $value;
  align-self: $value;

Flexbox align content

The align-content property aligns a flex container's lines within the flex container when there is extra space in the cross-axis, similar to how justify-content aligns individual items within the main axis. Note that this property has no effect when the flexbox has only a single line.

@mixin align-content($value: stretch) {
  // No Webkit Box Fallback.
  -webkit-align-content: $value;
  @if $value == flex-start {
    -ms-flex-line-pack: start;
  } @else if $value == flex-end {
    -ms-flex-line-pack: end;
  } @else {
    -ms-flex-line-pack: $value;
  align-content: $value;