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Temani Afif
Temani Afif

Posted on • Updated on

Responsive hexagon grid without media query

I know there is a ton of articles detailing how to create hexagon grid but how many of them are responsive? Only few of them and they rely on a lot of media query or JS.

Here is a CSS only solution to have a responsive hexagon grid that fit nicely into all the sreen sizes. No JS, no media query and no complex html code. Only few lines of CSS.

Here you go

Explanation

<div class="main">
  <div class="container">
    <div></div>
    <div></div>
    ...
  </div>
</div>
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.main {
  --s: 100px;  /* size of a hexagon */
  --m: 4px;    /* space between each heaxgon */
  --r: calc(var(--s)*3*1.1547/2 + 4*var(--m));
  display:flex;
}
.container div {
  width: var(--s);
  height: calc(var(--s)*1.1547); 
  margin: var(--m);
  display: inline-block;
  clip-path: polygon(0% 25%, 0% 75%, 50% 100%, 100% 75%, 100% 25%, 50% 0%);
  margin-bottom: calc(var(--m) - var(--s)*0.2885); 
}
.container::before {
  content: "";
  width: calc(var(--s)/2 + var(--m));
  float: left;
  height: 100%;
  shape-outside: repeating-linear-gradient(     
                  transparent 0 calc(var(--r) - 3px),      
                  #fff        0 var(--r));
}
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[main]

Nothing special here. A basic div where I am defining some CSS variables and it need to be a flexbox container.

[container]

No CSS here, this is our flex item that will allow us to use the height:100%.

[div]

Our hexagon item. The width/height are defined with the variable s (1.15 ~ 1/cos(30deg)). We use clip-path to create the hexagon shape ref. Finally we apply a margin-bottom to create the overlap with the next line ( 0.2885 ~ tan(30deg)/2).

Until now nothing complex. Let's move to the intresting part!

[container::before]

A floated pseudo element where I will apply shape-outside to allow the hexagon items to wrap around a particular shape creating the perfect indentation between lines.

A figure to illustrate:

Hexagon grid

It's trivial that our float element need to fill all the container thus the use of height:100%. Each "even" line of our grid need an indentation equal to half the width of an hexagon item plus a margin which will give us width:calc(var(--s)/2 + var(--m)).

We need to repeat the logic for each 2 lines and the height of 2 lines is 2 height of hexagon + 4 margin + 2 negative margin-bottom = 2xS/cos(30deg) + 4xM - 2xSxtan(30deg)/2

After some simplification we get (3xS)/(2xcos(30deg)) + 4xM and this is our r variable. The shape-outside will create a repeating gradient having transparent within [0, r - x] and non-transparent within [r - x, r].

The non-transparent part (illustrated by the blue rectangle) will push the elements of the second line creating our beautiful responsive behavior.

x can have any value but not too big to avoid pushing the first line too (1px should do the trick but to avoid rounding issue we use a bigger value).

That's It!

In addition to this being responsive, we can easily adjust the size of the hexagon items, the margin between them and since we are dealing with empty divs we can add any content inside.

Check the below post for more shapes:

Discussion (44)

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kzqai profile image
Roy Ronalds • Edited on

I’ve actually been wanting to set up a hexagon grid for a browser-based-game. One thing to consider is making the hexagons clickable or having content inside. I think either of those are the next big step to moving the approach from visually beautiful onwards to “functional” interactable content that people need.

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

That step is pretty easy using my code (like I detailed at the end). I am using empty divs so simply put any content you want inside and style it like you want ;) you can also catch hover and click events easily.

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kzqai profile image
Roy Ronalds

Usually with non-rectangular shapes on the web the problem becomes the clickability of the area. Circles, hexagons, diamonds, I’ve seen a lot of “click frustration” to them all where the visible shape does not map to the clickable link after using things like css ::before.

Far as a clickable demo, I’m on a phone, so it’s difficult to create a codepen example to see if the approach yields clickable links.

Visually arresting, regardless.

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author • Edited on

I am using clip-path, there is no pseudo element or complex trick and you will find no clickability issue. Try and see ;)
A trivial example is to add .container div:hover {background:blue} and you will see that the hover area fit the shape perfectly

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kzqai profile image
Roy Ronalds

Yeah, made an attempt before on a fork, but not really able to do much via mobile codepen.io/tchalvak/pen/ZEByQad

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heymich profile image
Michael Hungbo

Great post Temani! Permission to use this code in a personal project? ☺

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author • Edited on

go ahead and use it ;) I am sharing tricks to be used :)

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heymich profile image
Michael Hungbo

Thank you!

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heymich profile image
Michael Hungbo

Wow, just wow!

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xnoisebeta profile image
Lenny Dee

Hi. Any ways to use this with percentual values for width/height? If pixels are used (or any other unit), then in some cases there is space left on the right side of the viewport.

Quite brilliant btw, really nice work (i am amazed everytime what can be achieved with css these days).

Thanks in advance.

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

So you want a fixed number of hexagon per row that fit all the width, right?

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xnoisebeta profile image
Lenny Dee

Yeah, that would be ideal as that would prevent the case i mentioned above. Unfortunately my css skills are not so good so i couldnt figure it out :)

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

In this case, the easiest solution is to replaced px with vw which is the viewport unit that behave as percentage based on the screen size. To use % we need to change the logic, I will probably write another post about it ;)

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viereggjfc profile image
VIEREGG Design - JFC

That would be awesome

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akeshma profile image
akeshma • Edited on

Hi,
I already try to edit available code to make hexagon game board like the attached photo. However, I could not able to make it 100%.
dev-to-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/up...
This is my code:
codepen.io/akeshma/pen/RwweNZG

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

I don't see my code in that codepen

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akeshma profile image
akeshma

Thanks for quick response. Oh, I'm sorry. I ment availave code in another place.

My question: is it possible to make Hexagon Game Board 5x5 using your code here?
dev-to-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/up...

each Hexagon contains a letter and can be colored RED or GREEN depend on who is the winner.

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

of course, it should be pretty easy if you take my code as a starting point and add your content.

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akeshma profile image
akeshma

will try it and give you my feedback thanks.

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jdnichollsc profile image
J.D Nicholls

Hey Temani, this article is awesome, thanks for sharing!
Do you know if we can do that with circles too? As a workaround, I'm thinking to put circles into these hexagons for now. Also, I tried using your example to fix the horizontal alignment but it's not working from Safari, do you have any example?

Thanks for your help! <3

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

I made this example for circles: codepen.io/t_afif/pen/xxXVBMB

For Safari, I cannot help because I don't have any apple device to test but I know there are a lot of bugs with Safari

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jdnichollsc profile image
J.D Nicholls

Wow Temani, this is really awesome, thanks for all your help, so impressive!! <3

Happy Friday!
Juan

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atomiclynx profile image
Linus Ahlborg

Hi Temani! I wanted to thank you so much for your help with responsive hexagons on Stackoverflow (since you´re not supposed to waste comments on such trivial things over there). And this post is just the best, could´ve really used it weeks ago! I think this resource will be a game changer for anyone trying their handshexagon tile board games. Keep up the good work :)

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

Thanks, more content is coming. Stay tunned ;)

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lexmarie790 profile image
leximarie27

Great post!

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thaimon profile image
Thaimon

Hi, I encountered a problem with content below the hexagons.
In some cases, the hexagons leak out of the main div and the content below will overlap with the hexagons.
For a few rows of hexagons everything is fine, but when the number of rows increases the problem becomes more severe. You can check it with your codepen example by adding a div below with some dummy content and then resizing the browser window to get more rows of hexagons

Is there a fix for this, so the main div will always have the same height as it's contents (the hexagons)?

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matthijsewoud profile image
⚡️

And hexagons, as you sure know, are the bestagons.

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silentdev profile image
Ezekiel Lawson

i love this!

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viereggjfc profile image
VIEREGG Design - JFC • Edited on

@afif Thank's for this post! I've noticed an small error when it comes to responsive Design - see dev-to-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/up.... If only one hexagon will be shown in a row there's a large gap between the hexagons. Any idea/hint how to fix that?

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

it's not really an error, it's meant to work that way. In that case, you can simply remove the float element (using media query when the screen size is very small)

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terd47 profile image
codebydoh

Wow cool

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cpmech profile image
Dorival Pedroso

Very nice. Thanks for sharing :-)

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eugenedakin profile image
Eugene Dakin
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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

Will tackle that one too, probably in another post. Stay tunned ;)

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thaimon profile image
Thaimon

Hi Temani Afif,

In the safari browser the hexagons don't show in the same structure. Is there a fix?

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sufyan331 profile image
sufyan yaan

cool, can use for web page background?

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

what kind of background? only colored and repeated hexagon?

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smitham50 profile image
smitham50@gmail.com

Really cool. Any idea how to implement this in React Native?

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

I am not familiar with react native so I don't really know the limitation you be facing and if shape-outside is supported there or not. You can try using a basic example to test the shape-outside. It should be the only property that would potentially give you troubles.

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thaimon profile image
Thaimon

Hi, very nice script.
I'd like to have the indentation beginning on the first row. Can you help me?

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afif profile image
Temani Afif Author

in the shape-outside use this repeating-linear-gradient(
#000 0 3px,
#0000 0 var(--f))

and in the --f you will find - 1px, replace it with + 1px

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thaimon profile image
Thaimon

Thanks for your help :)

I encountered a problem.
You can also test it with your example on codepen.

When you put the size to 200px (--s: 200px;) and look at it from a mobile device or resize your browser to mobile dimensions, then the last hexagon misbehaves.
This also occurs with the original code/indentation.

Can you help me again?

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thaimon profile image
Thaimon

I found a solution, but maybe you have a better one.
I just added a couple of extra hexagons and made them invisible.
visibility: hidden;
This way all the visible hexagons have the correct indentation, the last (visible) ones aswel.
The invisible hexagons will still be out of place, but it doesn't matter because nobody sees them.

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paul_mountney_24e4867f3d3 profile image
Paul Mountney

The funny thing about these flexible hexagons is that the more you shrink or expand the screen the more patterns you get in the arrangement of the hexagons on your screen.