8pt Grid


Consistent use of an element grid and layout grid provides the foundation for harmoniously and consistently positioning elements on each screen. Designing to the grid helps create an experience that facilitates understanding and brings order to the page.

8pt element soft grid

An 8pt element grid sets pixel increments that assign dimensional values to elements. This grid uses multiples of 8 to define dimensions, padding, and margin of both block and inline elements. Use the element grid to create consistency and simplify design and layout decisions. Most components have been designed to an 8pt grid, however in some cases a 4pt was used when 8pt was too limiting (Typography for example).

A Super-Quick Guide on getting to know the 8pt Grid System. Gain a better understanding of one of the most popular Layout Grid Systems Feel confident in laying out your UIs faster, and with more consistency with the 8pt Grid Plus receive Regular Articles, and Tips.

Layout grid

8pt Grid Inspirational designs, illustrations, and graphic elements from the world’s best designers. For example, one grid-based design approach often used by web designers is called the 8pt Grid System, a concept introduced by Google’s Material Design guidelines. The Material Design system uses a grid that’s composed of 8 x 8 pt squares. In practice, each element on the page will be in multiples of/divisible by eight.

The layout grid divides screens into 12 columns with gutters separating each column. The width of the columns and the gutters are equal, and content can be placed in one or more columns based on the requirements of the screen. The grid system should be used to create page layouts and components.

Our layout grid system is as follows:

Extra small
Extra large
Max container widthNone (auto)540px720px960px1152px
Class prefix.col-.col-sm-.col-md-.col-lg-.col-xl-
# of columns12
Gutter width24px (12px on each side of a column)
Column orderingYes

Customizing the grid

Confluence is built with an updated version of Bootstrap’s default grid system to align to our 8pt grid system. Gutter widths decreased from 30px to 24px, and max container widths on large screens increased from 1140px to 1152px.

You can find the updated Sass variables within our bootstrap file _sass/_bootstrap.scss:

This is where you would make any additional updates to our grid system if applicable.

How it works

Bootstrap’s grid system uses a series of containers, rows, and columns to layout and align content. It’s built with flexbox and is fully responsive. Below is an example and an in-depth look at how the grid comes together.

New to or unfamiliar with flexbox?Read this CSS Tricks flexbox guide for background, terminology, guidelines, and code snippets.

The above example creates three equal-width columns on small, medium, large, and extra large devices using our predefined grid classes. Those columns are centred in the page with the parent .container.

Breaking it down, here’s how it works:

  • Containers provide a means to centre and horizontally pad your site’s contents. Use .container for a responsive pixel width or .container-fluid for width: 100% across all viewport and device sizes.
  • Rows are wrappers for columns. Each column has horizontal padding (called a gutter) for controlling the space between them. This padding is then counteracted on the rows with negative margins. This way, all the content in your columns is visually aligned down the left side.
  • In a grid layout, content must be placed within columns and only columns may be immediate children of rows.
  • Thanks to flexbox, grid columns without a specified width will automatically layout as equal width columns. For example, four instances of .col-sm will each automatically be 25% wide from the small breakpoint and up. See the auto-layout columns section for more examples.
  • Column classes indicate the number of columns you’d like to use out of the possible 12 per row. So, if you want three equal-width columns across, you can use .col-4.
  • Column widths are set in percentages, so they’re always fluid and sized relative to their parent element.
  • Columns have horizontal padding to create the gutters between individual columns, however, you can remove the margin from rows and padding from columns with .no-gutters on the .row.
  • To make the grid responsive, there are five grid breakpoints, one for each responsive breakpoint: all breakpoints (extra small), small, medium, large, and extra large.
  • Grid breakpoints are based on minimum width media queries, meaning they apply to that one breakpoint and all those above it (e.g., .col-sm-4 applies to small, medium, large, and extra large devices, but not the first xs breakpoint).
  • You can use predefined grid classes (like .col-4) or Sass mixins for more semantic markup.

Be aware of the limitations and bugs around flexbox, like the inability to use some HTML elements as flex containers.

Auto-layout columns

Utilize breakpoint-specific column classes for easy column sizing without an explicit numbered class like .col-sm-6.


For example, here are two grid layouts that apply to every device and viewport, from xs to xl. Add any number of unit-less classes for each breakpoint you need and every column will be the same width.

Equal-width columns can be broken into multiple lines, but there was a Safari flexbox bug that prevented this from working without an explicit flex-basis or border. There are workarounds for older browser versions, but they shouldn’t be necessary if you’re up-to-date.

8pt Grid

Setting one column width

Auto-layout for flexbox grid columns also means you can set the width of one column and have the sibling columns automatically resize around it. You may use predefined grid classes (as shown below), grid mixins, or inline widths. Note that the other columns will resize no matter the width of the centre column.

Variable width content

Use col-{breakpoint}-auto classes to size columns based on the natural width of their content.

8pt Grid Material Design

Equal-width multi-row

8pt Grid System

Create equal-width columns that span multiple rows by inserting a .w-100 where you want the columns to break to a new line. Make the breaks responsive by mixing the .w-100 with some responsive display utilities.


Responsive classes

Bootstrap’s grid includes five tiers of predefined classes for building complex responsive layouts. Customize the size of your columns on extra small, small, medium, large, or extra large devices however you see fit.

All breakpoints

For grids that are the same from the smallest of devices to the largest, use the .col and .col-* classes. Specify a numbered class when you need a particularly sized column; otherwise, feel free to stick to .col.

Stacked to horizontal

Using a single set of .col-sm-* classes, you can create a basic grid system that starts out stacked and becomes horizontal at the small breakpoint (sm).

Mix and match

Don’t want your columns to simply stack in some grid tiers? Use a combination of different classes for each tier as needed. See the example below for a better idea of how it all works.


Gutters can be responsively adjusted by breakpoint-specific padding and negative margin utility classes. To change the gutters in a given row, pair a negative margin utility on the .row and matching padding utilities on the .cols. The .container or .container-fluid parent may need to be adjusted too to avoid unwanted overflow, using again matching padding utility.

Here’s an example of customizing the Bootstrap grid at the large (lg) breakpoint and above. We’ve increased the .col padding with .px-lg-5, counteracted that with .mx-lg-n5 on the parent .row and then adjusted the .container wrapper with .px-lg-5.


Use flexbox alignment utilities to vertically and horizontally align columns. Internet Explorer 10-11 do not support vertical alignment of flex items when the flex container has a min-height as shown below. See Flexbugs #3 for more details.

Vertical alignment

Horizontal alignment

No gutters

The gutters between columns in our predefined grid classes can be removed with .no-gutters. This removes the negative margins from .row and the horizontal padding from all immediate children columns.

8pt Grid Figma

Here’s the source code for creating these styles. Note that column overrides are scoped to only the first children columns and are targeted via attribute selector. While this generates a more specific selector, column padding can still be further customized with spacing utilities.

Need an edge-to-edge design? Drop the parent .container or .container-fluid.

In practice, here’s how it looks. Note you can continue to use this with all other predefined grid classes (including column widths, responsive tiers, reorders, and more).

Column wrapping

If more than 12 columns are placed within a single row, each group of extra columns will, as one unit, wrap onto a new line.

Since 9 + 4 = 13 > 12, this 4-column-wide div gets wrapped onto a new line as one contiguous unit.
Subsequent columns continue along the new line.

Column breaks

8pt Grid Ios

Breaking columns to a new line in flexbox requires a small hack: add an element with width: 100% wherever you want to wrap your columns to a new line. Normally this is accomplished with multiple .rows, but not every implementation method can account for this.

You may also apply this break at specific breakpoints with our responsive display utilities.


Order classes

Use .order- classes for controlling the visual order of your content. These classes are responsive, so you can set the order by breakpoint (e.g., .order-1.order-md-2). Includes support for 1 through 12 across all five grid tiers.

There are also responsive .order-first and .order-last classes that change the order of an element by applying order: -1 and order: 13 (order: $columns + 1), respectively. These classes can also be intermixed with the numbered .order-* classes as needed.

Offsetting columns

You can offset grid columns in two ways: our responsive .offset- grid classes and our margin utilities. Grid classes are sized to match columns while margins are more useful for quick layouts where the width of the offset is variable.

Offset classes

Move columns to the right using .offset-md-* classes. These classes increase the left margin of a column by * columns. For example, .offset-md-4 moves .col-md-4 over four columns.

In addition to column clearing at responsive breakpoints, you may need to reset offsets. See this in action in the grid example.

.col-sm-6 .col-md-5 .offset-md-2 .col-lg-6 .offset-lg-0

Margin utilities

With the move to flexbox in v4, you can use margin utilities like .mr-auto to force sibling columns away from one another.


To nest your content with the default grid, add a new .row and set of .col-sm-* columns within an existing .col-sm-* column. Nested rows should include a set of columns that add up to 12 or fewer (it is not required that you use all 12 available columns).

Sass mixins

When using Bootstrap’s source Sass files, you have the option of using Sass variables and mixins to create custom, semantic, and responsive page layouts. Our predefined grid classes use these same variables and mixins to provide a whole suite of ready-to-use classes for fast responsive layouts.

8pt Grid System Figma

Mixins are used in conjunction with the grid variables to generate semantic CSS for individual grid columns.

Example usage

8pt Grid System

You can modify the variables to your own custom values, or just use the mixins with their default values. Here’s an example of using the default settings to create a two-column layout with a gap between.