Bootstrap - Sidebars Demo

Bootstrap Sidebar Tutorial

In this tutorial, we will look at how to create a sidebar using Bootstrap. We will cover the steps to design and add a sidebar to a web page, including:

  • Creating the sidebar container
  • Adding sidebar content
  • Styling the sidebar
  • Making the design responsive

By the end, you will know how to create an attractive and functional sidebar using Bootstrap's features.

Designing the Sidebar

Creating the Sidebar Container

To create a sidebar container using Bootstrap's grid system, use the <div> element with appropriate classes. Start by defining a container with the class container-fluid to take up the full width of the page. Inside the container, create a row using the row class. Then, divide the row into two columns: one for the sidebar and one for the main content.

Example: Sidebar Container

<div class="container-fluid">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="col-md-3 bg-light p-3 sidebar">
      <!-- Sidebar content goes here -->
    <div class="col-md-9">
      <!-- Main content goes here -->

Adding Sidebar Content

Within the sidebar container, you can add various types of content, such as navigation links, headings, and text. To create a navigation menu, use the <nav> element with the nav class. Inside the <nav>, create an unordered list (<ul>) with list items (<li>) representing each navigation link.

To style the navigation links, apply the nav-link class to the <a> elements inside the list items. This will give the links a consistent appearance and hover effect. For dropdown menus, you can use Bootstrap's dropdown component by adding the dropdown class to a parent <li> element and the dropdown-menu class to a nested <ul> element.

Example: Sidebar Navigation

<nav class="nav flex-column">
  <a class="nav-link" href="#">Home</a>
  <a class="nav-link" href="#">About</a>
  <li class="nav-item dropdown">
    <a class="nav-link dropdown-toggle" href="#" id="navbarDropdown" role="button" data-bs-toggle="dropdown" aria-expanded="false">
    <ul class="dropdown-menu" aria-labelledby="navbarDropdown">
      <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Service 1</a></li>
      <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Service 2</a></li>
      <li><a class="dropdown-item" href="#">Service 3</a></li>
  <a class="nav-link" href="#">Contact</a>

Styling the Sidebar

To further customize the appearance of the sidebar, you can use CSS to modify colors, fonts, and hover effects. Bootstrap provides utility classes for common styling needs, but you can also create your own CSS classes or override Bootstrap's default styles.

Example: Sidebar Styling

.sidebar {
  background-color: #f8f9fa;
  font-family: Arial, sans-serif;
  font-size: 16px;

.sidebar .nav-link {
  color: #333;
  padding: 10px;

.sidebar .nav-link:hover {
  background-color: #e9ecef;

.sidebar .nav-link i {
  margin-right: 10px;

Integrating the Sidebar into the Page

Creating the Main Content Area

To add the sidebar to the page, define the structure and layout of the main content section. Use Bootstrap's grid system to put the main content area next to the sidebar. Create a <div> element with the class col-md-9 to allocate 9 columns for the main content, assuming the sidebar uses 3 columns.

Inside the main content area, add your content, such as headings, paragraphs, images, or any other elements relevant to your page. You can use Bootstrap's classes to style and format the content as needed.


<div class="container-fluid">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="col-md-3 bg-light p-3 sidebar">
      <!-- Sidebar content goes here -->
    <div class="col-md-9 p-3 main-content">
      <h1>Welcome to My Website</h1>
      <p>This is the main content area of the page.</p>
      <img src="image.jpg" alt="Sample Image" class="img-fluid">

To show the sidebar's functionality, you can add sample content that shows how the sidebar interacts with the main content. For example, you can create links in the sidebar that scroll to specific sections within the main content area or highlight the active section based on the user's current position on the page.

Responsive Design Considerations

When adding the sidebar to the page, it's important to plan for responsive design to have the sidebar and main content adapt well to different screen sizes. Bootstrap provides responsive classes that you can use to hide or resize elements based on the screen width.


<div class="col-md-3 bg-light p-3 sidebar d-none d-md-block">
  <!-- Sidebar content goes here -->

Similarly, you can adjust the column classes for the main content area to make it span the full width of the screen on smaller devices when the sidebar is hidden.


<div class="col-md-9 p-3 main-content col-12">
  <!-- Main content goes here -->

To guarantee a good user experience, test your design on various devices and browsers. Use browser developer tools to simulate different screen sizes and check how the sidebar and main content respond to different viewport widths. Make changes to your CSS styles or Bootstrap classes as needed to achieve the desired responsiveness.

Improving the Sidebar

Adding a Toggle Button

To make the user experience better on smaller screens, you can add a toggle button that lets users show or hide the sidebar as needed. Bootstrap has the collapse component, which lets you create a collapsible sidebar with smooth transitions.

To add the toggle button, create a button element with the needed attributes and classes. Use the data-bs-toggle attribute to set the target element to collapse or expand, and give a unique identifier to the sidebar container using the id attribute.

Example: Toggle Button HTML

<button class="btn btn-primary d-md-none" type="button" data-bs-toggle="collapse" data-bs-target="#sidebarCollapse" aria-expanded="false" aria-controls="sidebarCollapse">
  <i class="fas fa-bars"></i>

In the sidebar container, add the collapse class and the matching id attribute to link it with the toggle button. Also, use the d-md-block class to the sidebar to make sure it stays visible on larger screens.

Example: Sidebar Container HTML

<div class="col-md-3 bg-light p-3 sidebar collapse d-md-block" id="sidebarCollapse">
  <!-- Sidebar content goes here -->

To change the look and placement of the toggle button, you can use CSS to change its colors, size, and position.

Example: Toggle Button CSS

.sidebar-toggle {
  background-color: #007bff;
  color: #fff;
  border: none;
  padding: 10px 15px;
  font-size: 18px;

.sidebar-toggle:hover {
  background-color: #0056b3;