A simpler way to footer

19.04.21 #lessons

Its used to be the case that you would do something like this to create a sticky footer on your webpage...

.content {
	height: 100%;
	margin-bottom: -50px;
.footer {
	position: absolute;
	bottom: 0;
	height: 50px;

This takes a .content element that stretches across the viewport height and adds a negative margin-bottom value to make room for the footer. We place the .footer at the bottom by absolutely positioning it and giving it a 50px height. See an example here. It's not a bad technique but using something like the margin-bottom: -50px seems hacky, and absolutely positioned elements can be a slippery slope.

The vh unit

Have you heard of vh (vertical height) unit? It's a representation of the height of your viewport. A value of 100vh would represent the full height of your display, 200vh would represent twice the full height of your display and something like 0vh would be no height.

If we give a .content div a height of 100vh with a footer element placed right after it, the footer element would appear but juuuuust off the screen... almost there.

Math in your CSS

Have you heard of calc() ? These days you can do math natively in your CSS and cook up some neat vodoo. In this case if we use 100vh on the .container wouldn't it be nice if we could just shave off the necessary height mathematically to place the footer within visible range? We can 😃 . Look...

.content {
	height: calc(100vh - 50px);
footer {
	height: 50px;

See the clever math there? This says that the height of our .content should stretch across the viewport, but shave off 50px to make enough room for the footer. (Note: I replaced the .footer element with the actual HTML element footer. See the vodoo here


With this technique document flow is nicely preserved and you have a solution that avoids absolute positioning. You could even take it further and make that 50px a variable that you modify as needed, just sayin' 😉 .

~ zan0

Last Updated: 4/22/2019, 8:25:40 AM