How to Center a Div

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love flexbox

January 27, 2023

CSS has the uncanny ability of taking a simple idea and making it hard to implement. An infamous example of this is the challenge of centering a div. But with the addition of flexbox, centering a div has become as simple as it sounds.

The Flex Approach

Here's how to center a div using flexbox. Given a div you want to center, assign the following attributes to its parent element:

.parent {
  display: flex;
  justify-content: center;
  align-items: center;

By default, the justify-content attribute centers the div along the horizontal axis and align-items centers along the vertical axis.

There are some scenarios where this won’t work perfectly, but the main idea stands. To center a div, simply add a couple of flex attributes to the parent.

A Complication

The flex approach is less simple when the parent element also contains other children. In this case, changing the parent also affects every other child. To get around this issue and only center the target div, create a new div between the parent and child. Then proceed with the flex approach which will center the target div only.

You may also have to increase the new parent div’s dimensions because the target might be centered within a non-centered parent.


For more ways to center a div, here are some resources I've found to be informative.

And for more on flexbox, I highly recommend A Complete Guide to Flexbox by Chris Coyier.