Scrolling a flexbox with overflowing content

Here's the code I'm using to achieve the above layout:

.header {
  height: 50px;
}

.body {
  position: absolute;
  top: 50px;
  right: 0;
  bottom: 0;
  left: 0;
  display: flex;
}

.sidebar {
  width: 140px;
}

.main {
  flex: 1;
  display: flex;
  flex-direction: column;
}

.content {
  flex: 1;
  display: flex;
}

.column {
  padding: 20px;
  border-right: 1px solid #999;
}
<div class="header">Main header</div>
<div class="body">
  <div class="sidebar">Sidebar</div>

  <div class="main">
    <div class="page-header">Page Header. Content columns are below.</div>
    <div class="content">
      <div class="column">Column 1</div>
      <div class="column">Column 1</div>
      <div class="column">Column 1</div>
    </div>
  </div>
</div>

Answers


I've spoken to Tab Atkins (author of the flexbox spec) about this, and this is what we came up with:

HTML:

<div class="content">
    <div class="box">
        <div class="column">Column 1</div>
        <div class="column">Column 1</div>
        <div class="column">Column 1</div>
    </div>
</div>

CSS:

.content {
    flex: 1;
    display: flex;
    overflow: auto;
}

.box {
    min-height: min-content; /* needs vendor prefixes */
    display: flex;
}

Here are the pens:

  1. Short columns being stretched.
  2. Longer columns overflowing and scrolling.

The reason this works is because align-items: stretch doesn't shrink its items if they have an intrinsic height, which is accomplished here by min-content.


I just solved this problem very elegantly after a lot of trial and error.

Check out my blog post: http://geon.github.io/programming/2016/02/24/flexbox-full-page-web-app-layout

Basically, to make a flexbox cell scrollable, you have to make all its parents overflow: hidden;, or it will just ignore your overflow settings and make the parent larger instead.


Working with position:absolute; along with flex:

Position the flex item with position: relative. Then inside of it, add another <div> element with:

position: absolute;
top: 0;
left: 0;
right: 0;
bottom: 0;

This extends the element to the boundaries of its relative-positioned parent, but does not allow to extend it. Inside, overflow: auto; will then work as expected.

  • the code snippet included in the answer - Click on and then click on after running the snippet OR
  • Click here for the CODEPEN
  • The result:

.all-0 {
  top: 0;
  bottom: 0;
  left: 0;
  right: 0;
}
p {
  text-align: justify;
}
.bottom-0 {
  bottom: 0;
}
.overflow-auto {
  overflow: auto;
}
<link href="https://maxcdn.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/4.0.0-beta.2/css/bootstrap.min.css" rel="stylesheet"/>


<div class="p-5 w-100">
  <div class="row bg-dark m-0">
    <div class="col-sm-9 p-0 d-flex flex-wrap">
      <!-- LEFT-SIDE - ROW-1 -->
      <div class="row m-0 p-0">
        <!-- CARD 1 -->
        <div class="col-md-8 p-0 d-flex">
          <div class="my-card-content bg-white p-2 m-2 d-flex flex-column">
            <img class="img img-fluid" src="https://via.placeholder.com/700x250">
            <h4>Heading 1</h4>
            <p>
              Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old...
          </div>
        </div>
        <!-- CARD 2 -->
        <div class="col-md-4 p-0 d-flex">
          <div class="my-card-content bg-white p-2 m-2 d-flex flex-column">
            <img class="img img-fluid" src="https://via.placeholder.com/400x250">
            <h4>Heading 1</h4>
            <p>
              Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old...
          </div>
        </div>
      </div>
      <div class="row m-0">
        <!-- CARD 3 -->
        <div class="col-md-4 p-0 d-flex">
          <div class="my-card-content bg-white p-2 m-2 d-flex flex-column">
            <img class="img img-fluid" src="https://via.placeholder.com/400x250">
            <h4>Heading 1</h4>
            <p>
              Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old...
          </div>
        </div>
        <!-- CARD 4 -->
        <div class="col-md-4 p-0 d-flex">
          <div class="my-card-content bg-white p-2 m-2 d-flex flex-column">
            <img class="img img-fluid" src="https://via.placeholder.com/400x250">
            <h4>Heading 1</h4>
            <p>
              Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old...
          </div>
        </div>
        <!-- CARD 5-->
        <div class="col-md-4 p-0 d-flex">
          <div class="my-card-content bg-white p-2 m-2 d-flex flex-column">
            <img class="img img-fluid" src="https://via.placeholder.com/400x250">
            <h4>Heading 1</h4>
            <p>
              Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old...
          </div>
        </div>
      </div>
    </div>
    <div class="col-sm-3 p-0">
      <div class="bg-white m-2 p-2 position-absolute all-0 d-flex flex-column">
        <h4>Social Sidebar...</h4>
        <hr />
        <div class="d-flex overflow-auto">
          <p>
            Topping candy tiramisu soufflé fruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart. Pudding cupcake danish apple pie apple pie. Halva fruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart.
            opping candy tiramisu soufflé fruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart. Pudding cupcake danish apple pie apple pie. Halva fruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart.
            opping candy tiramisu soufflé fruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart. Pudding cupcake danish apple pie apple pie. Halva fruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart.
            Pudding cupcake danish apple pie apple pie. Halvafruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart. Pudding cupcake danish apple pie apple pie. Halvafruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream
            chocolate bar donut sweet tart. Pudding cupcake danish apple pie apple pie. Halvafruitcake ice cream chocolate bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart. Pudding cupcake danish apple pie apple pie. Halvafruitcake ice cream chocolate
            bar. Bear claw ice cream chocolate bar donut sweet tart. Pudding cupcake danish apple pie apple pie. Halva
        </div>
      </div>
    </div>
  </div>

A little late but this could help: http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-make-responsive-scrollable-panels-with-flexbox--cms-23269

Basically you need to put html,body to height: 100%; and wrap all your content into a <div class="wrap"> <!-- content --> </div>

CSS:

html, body {
  height: 100%;
}

.wrap {
  height: 100vh;
  display: flex;
}

Worked for me. Hope it helps


Add this:

align-items: flex-start;

to the rule for .content {}. That fixes it in your pen for me, at least (in both Firefox & Chrome).

By default, .content has align-items: stretch, which makes it size all of its auto-height children to match its own height, per http://dev.w3.org/csswg/css-flexbox/#algo-stretch. In contrast, the value flex-start lets the children compute their own heights, and align themselves at its starting edge (and overflow, and trigger a scrollbar).


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