CSS - Min Inline Size


Syntax and Usage

The min-inline-size property in CSS lets you set a minimum width for an element. It stops the element from shrinking below the specified size, even if the content within it would normally allow for a smaller size.

Example: Basic syntax for using min-inline-size

selector {
  min-inline-size: value;

Replace selector with the CSS selector for the element you want to apply the minimum width to, and value with the minimum size.

By setting a minimum width using min-inline-size, you can make sure an element does not become too narrow, even when the available space is limited. This is useful for keeping text content readable or preventing layout issues in responsive designs.

When an element's content is smaller than the specified min-inline-size, the element will take up the minimum width defined by the property. If the content is larger than the minimum width, the element will expand to fit the content, similar to how the min-width property works.

The min-inline-size property is part of the CSS Logical Properties and Values specification, which aims to provide a more intuitive way of styling elements based on their writing mode and direction. In left-to-right (LTR) writing mode, min-inline-size matches the min-width property, while in right-to-left (RTL) writing mode, it matches the min-height property.

Practical Examples

Preventing element shrinkage

The min-inline-size property is useful for keeping readable content by stopping elements from becoming too small. When used on text containers, such as paragraphs or headings, it makes sure that the text stays easy to read and doesn't overflow or wrap in a bad way.

Example: Preventing Element Shrinkage with CSS

p {
  min-inline-size: 200px;

In this example, paragraphs will have a minimum width of 200 pixels, even if the containing element becomes narrower. This stops the text from becoming too squashed and hard to read.

You can also use min-inline-size on other elements that contain text, such as <div> or <section>, to keep a consistent and readable layout across different screen sizes.

Responsive layout techniques

min-inline-size is very useful when combined with responsive layout techniques like CSS Grid or Flexbox. By setting a minimum width on grid items or flex items, you can make sure that they keep a consistent size and don't become too narrow on smaller screens.

Example: Responsive Grid Layout with CSS

.grid-container {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: repeat(auto-fit, minmax(200px, 1fr));
  gap: 20px;

.grid-item {
  min-inline-size: 150px;

This code creates a responsive grid layout where each grid item has a minimum width of 200 pixels (using the minmax() function in grid-template-columns). By using min-inline-size: 150px on the grid items, they will never shrink below 150 pixels, even if the grid container becomes very narrow.

Similarly, you can use min-inline-size with Flexbox to stop flex items from becoming too small:

Example: Responsive Flexbox Layout with CSS

.flex-container {
  display: flex;
  flex-wrap: wrap;

.flex-item {
  flex: 1 1 200px;
  min-inline-size: 150px;

Here, the flex items have a minimum width of 200 pixels (set using the flex shorthand property). By adding min-inline-size: 150px, the flex items will keep a minimum width of 150 pixels, even if the available space becomes smaller.

Using min-inline-size together with responsive layout techniques helps you create designs that adapt well to different device widths while keeping readability and consistent sizing. This approach is a simple way to improve the user experience on various screen sizes, letting the user see all the important information you want to share.