Bootstrap - RTL

Setting up Bootstrap for RTL

To set up Bootstrap for RTL support in your project, you need to follow a few simple steps. Download the Bootstrap package that includes the RTL version. You can find this on the official Bootstrap website or through a package manager like npm.

After downloading, locate the Bootstrap RTL CSS file in the package. It is usually named bootstrap-rtl.min.css or similar. Include this file in your project's HTML head section, along with the regular Bootstrap CSS file.

Example: Include Bootstrap RTL CSS

<link rel="stylesheet" href="path/to/bootstrap.min.css">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="path/to/bootstrap-rtl.min.css">

Include the RTL file after the regular Bootstrap CSS to override the default styles.

Configure your project for RTL support. Add the dir="rtl" attribute to the <html> tag in your document. This tells the browser that the content should be displayed from right to left.

Example: Enable RTL in HTML

<html dir="rtl">

You can add the lang attribute with the appropriate language code for the RTL language you are using, such as lang="ar" for Arabic or lang="he" for Hebrew.

Example: Set language attribute for RTL

<html lang="ar" dir="rtl">

Using Bootstrap RTL Classes

Bootstrap has classes that you can use to control the direction and alignment of elements when working with RTL layouts. These classes let you adjust the text direction, float elements, apply margins and padding, and position elements in an RTL context.

Text direction classes control the direction of text within an element. Bootstrap includes the .text-left and .text-right classes, which align text to the left or right, respectively. In an RTL layout, you can use the .text-md-left and .text-md-right classes to switch the text alignment based on the screen size.

Example: Align text with Bootstrap

<p class="text-md-left text-right">This is a paragraph.</p>

Floating elements is important in RTL layouts. Bootstrap's .float-left and .float-right classes float elements to the left or right. In an RTL context, you can use the .float-md-left and .float-md-right classes to float elements based on the screen size.

Example: Float elements with Bootstrap

<div class="float-md-left float-right">This is a floating element.</div>

Margin and padding utilities control the spacing around elements. Bootstrap has classes for applying margins and padding, such as .mr-3 for adding right margin and .pl-2 for adding left padding. In an RTL layout, you can use the .mr-md-3 and .pl-md-2 classes to adjust the margin and padding based on the screen size.

Example: Set margin and padding with Bootstrap

<div class="mr-md-3 pl-md-2">This element has adjusted margins and padding.</div>

Positioning utilities control the position of elements within a container. Bootstrap has classes like .position-relative and .position-absolute to set the positioning context. In an RTL layout, you can use the .right-0 and .left-0 classes to position elements relative to the right or left edge of their container.

Example: Position elements with Bootstrap

<div class="position-absolute right-0">This element is positioned at the right edge.</div>

RTL Grid System

Understanding the Bootstrap grid system is key to creating responsive layouts that adapt to different screen sizes. The grid system divides the screen into 12 equal-width columns, which you can use to structure your content. In a left-to-right (LTR) layout, the columns start from the left and progress towards the right. However, when working with right-to-left (RTL) layouts, you need to reverse the direction of the grid.

Bootstrap provides a simple way to reverse the grid for RTL layouts. By default, the grid columns are ordered from left to right using the .col-* classes. To reverse the order for RTL, you can use the .col-*-reverse classes.

Example: Reversing Grid Columns for RTL Layout

<div class="row">
  <div class="col-md-4 col-md-push-8">Column 1</div>
  <div class="col-md-8 col-md-pull-4">Column 2</div>

In the above example, the .col-md-push-8 class pushes the first column to the right by 8 columns, while the .col-md-pull-4 class pulls the second column to the left by 4 columns. This reverses the order of the columns in an RTL layout.

Bootstrap also provides responsive grid classes specifically for RTL layouts. These classes allow you to control the column ordering and spacing based on the screen size. The responsive RTL grid classes follow the same naming convention as the standard grid classes but with an -rtl suffix.

Example: Responsive RTL Grid Classes

<div class="row">
  <div class="col-md-4 col-md-push-8-rtl">Column 1</div>
  <div class="col-md-8 col-md-pull-4-rtl">Column 2</div>

In this example, the -rtl suffix is added to the push and pull classes to apply the RTL-specific styles. The .col-md-push-8-rtl class pushes the first column to the right on medium-sized screens and above, while the .col-md-pull-4-rtl class pulls the second column to the left.

By using these responsive RTL grid classes, you can create layouts that automatically adjust the column ordering and spacing based on the screen size, providing an optimal experience for users in RTL languages.

Remember to test your RTL layouts thoroughly on different devices and screen sizes to make sure the content is displayed correctly and the user experience is seamless.

RTL Components

Bootstrap provides RTL support for components, making it easier to create consistent and appealing user interfaces in right-to-left languages. Let's look at some commonly used components and how they work in an RTL context.


Buttons are used for triggering actions or linking to other pages. In an RTL layout, the button text should be aligned to the right. Bootstrap handles this automatically, so you can use the standard button classes without any changes.

Buttons Example

<button type="button" class="btn btn-primary">Primary</button>
<button type="button" class="btn btn-secondary">Secondary</button>
<button type="button" class="btn btn-success">Success</button>


Forms are used for collecting user input. In an RTL layout, the form labels and input fields should be aligned from right to left. Bootstrap provides the necessary styles to handle this.

Forms Example

  <div class="form-group">
    <label for="inputEmail">Email address</label>
    <input type="email" class="form-control" id="inputEmail" placeholder="Enter email">
  <div class="form-group">
    <label for="inputPassword">Password</label>
    <input type="password" class="form-control" id="inputPassword" placeholder="Password">
  <button type="submit" class="btn btn-primary">Submit</button>


Cards are used for displaying content in a box-like container. In an RTL layout, the card content should be aligned from right to left. Bootstrap automatically handles this when you use the standard card classes.

Cards Example

<div class="card">
  <div class="card-body">
    <h5 class="card-title">Card Title</h5>
    <p class="card-text">This is a sample card text.</p>
    <a href="#" class="btn btn-primary">Go somewhere</a>


Tables are used for displaying data in a structured format. In an RTL layout, the table headers and content should be aligned from right to left. Bootstrap handles this automatically when you use the standard table classes.

Tables Example

<table class="table">
      <th scope="col">#</th>
      <th scope="col">First</th>
      <th scope="col">Last</th>
      <th scope="col">Handle</th>
      <th scope="row">1</th>
      <th scope="row">2</th>

These are just a few examples of how Bootstrap components work in an RTL context. Bootstrap provides built-in support for many other components as well, such as progress bars, pagination, and more. By using the appropriate RTL classes and following the Bootstrap documentation, you can create responsive and appealing interfaces for RTL languages.

Customizing Bootstrap for RTL

Bootstrap provides a foundation for creating RTL layouts, but there may be cases where you need to customize the styles to fit your specific design needs. Bootstrap offers several ways to customize its styles for RTL layouts.

One way to customize Bootstrap for RTL is by using Sass variables. Bootstrap uses Sass as its preprocessor, and it provides a set of variables that you can override to change the default styles. To customize the RTL styles, you can create a separate Sass file and override the relevant variables.

Example: Sass customization for RTL

// Custom RTL variables
$enable-rtl: true;
$rtl-sidebar-width: 250px;
$rtl-font-family: 'Arial', sans-serif;

// Import Bootstrap and RTL styles
@import "node_modules/bootstrap/scss/bootstrap";
@import "node_modules/bootstrap/scss/bootstrap-rtl";

The $enable-rtl variable is set to true to enable RTL support. You can then define your own variables, such as $rtl-sidebar-width and $rtl-font-family, to customize specific aspects of the RTL layout. Finally, you import the Bootstrap and RTL styles to apply the changes.

Another way to customize Bootstrap for RTL is by creating custom CSS styles. You can write your own CSS rules to override or extend the default Bootstrap styles. This allows you to fine-tune the appearance of your RTL layout.

Example: Custom CSS styles for RTL

/* Custom RTL styles */
.custom-rtl-class {
  direction: rtl;
  text-align: right;

.custom-rtl-header {
  padding-right: 20px;

The .custom-rtl-class is defined to set the direction to RTL and align the text to the right. The .custom-rtl-header class adds padding to the right side of an element. You can create as many custom classes as needed to style your RTL layout.

You can also override the default Bootstrap styles directly in your HTML or template files. This is useful when you need to apply specific styles to individual elements or components.

Example: Inline styles for RTL in HTML

<div class="container">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="col-md-6" style="text-align: right; padding-right: 30px;">
      <h2>RTL Content</h2>
      <p>This content is aligned to the right with custom padding.</p>
    <div class="col-md-6">
      <h2>LTR Content</h2>
      <p>This content follows the default left-to-right alignment.</p>

The inline style attribute is used to override the text alignment and padding for a specific column in the RTL section of the layout. This allows you to apply custom styles directly to the elements without modifying the CSS or Sass files.

When customizing Bootstrap for RTL, it's important to test your changes thoroughly to make sure they are applied correctly and don't break the layout or functionality of your website or application. Use browser developer tools to inspect the elements and verify that the styles are being applied as intended.