Day 42: aspect-ratio

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It’s time to get me up to speed with modern CSS. There’s so much new in CSS that I know too little about. To change that I’ve started #100DaysOfMoreOrLessModernCSS. Why more or less modern CSS? Because some topics will be about cutting-edge features, while other stuff has been around for quite a while already, but I just have little to no experience with it.


Yes, I know, aspect-ratio is not the hottest shit, but Safari only starting supporting it in version 15 and there’s a lot I didn’t know about the property. That’s reason enough for me to write about it. :)

Defining ratios

You can use the aspect-ratio property to define the preferred aspect ratio for a box by defining a preferred width and height.

The maximum width of the following element is 400px, and due to the defined ratio of 16 / 9 the height equals 225px (400 / 16 * 9) = 225). If the available width gets below 400, the height scales accordingly.

div {
aspect-ratio: 16 / 9; /* aspect-ratio: width / height */
max-width: 400px;
}

Instead of writing aspect-ratio: 16 / 9 we can also write aspect-ratio: 400 / 225.

div {
aspect-ratio: 400 / 225;
max-width: 400px;
}

Squares

If you want to create a square, you need a ratio of 1:1, or 42:42, or 742617000027:742617000027;

div {
aspect-ratio: 1 / 1;
max-width: 400px;
}

That's the same as writing aspect-ratio: 1 because if you omit the second value, the value for the height is 1 by default.

div {
aspect-ratio: 1;
max-width: 400px;
}

Single value ratios

If aspect-ratio: 1 equals aspect-ratio: 1 / 1, this means that aspect-ratio: 4 equals aspect-ratio: 4 / 1.

div {
aspect-ratio: 4;
max-width: 400px;
}

width, height, and aspect-ratio

aspect-ratio has no effect if you set the value of both the width and height to something other than auto.

div {
aspect-ratio: 16 / 9;
width: 250px;
height: 250px;
}

preferred, not enforced ratio

If the content of your box is larger than the preferred height, content won't be cut-off but the box grows with its content, ignoring the ratio.

div {
aspect-ratio: 4;
max-width: 400px;
}
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You can change the behaviour by defining a different value for the overflow property.

div {
aspect-ratio: 4;
max-width: 400px;
overflow: auto;
}
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See on CodePen.

Further reading