Align content vs Align items in Flexbox (examples)

Align content vs Align items in Flexbox (examples)

Use align-content or align-items for centering with Flexbox?

Wesley (ByteGrad)'s photo
Wesley (ByteGrad)
·Nov 10, 2021·

2 min read

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You need to master both Flexbox and CSS Grid in order to professionally build modern websites & web apps. If you haven't mastered both of them yet, I highly recommend going through my CSS Course.

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Usually, to center flex items vertically we can use align-items:

CSS-Flexbox-Align-Content-vs-Align-Items-Center-Horizontally-And-Vertically.png

(I'm also using justify-content here to center the flex-items horizontally)

But what if we have more flex-items or flex-items that are much bigger so that they wrap onto a new line?

CSS-Flexbox-Align-Content-vs-Align-Items-Center-Horizontally-And-Vertically-Multiple-Lines (2).png

If you still use align-items then it will look weird. Now we actually need to use align-content.

By the way, if you change the flex-direction to column, the align-items and align-content properties will now center horizontally instead of vertically. And the justify-content property will now center vertically (so they 'flip').

Conclusion: use align-items if you have just 1 row or 1 column of flex-items. Use align-content if you have multiple rows or columns after flex-items wrap onto new lines.

By the way, I think CSS is the 'bottleneck' to most websites & web apps. I believe it's the highest-ROI skill you can master.

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