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Speed up your coding using Emmet - a really powerful tool

myogeshchavan97 profile image Yogesh Chavan Updated on ・6 min read

at_start

Introduction

In this article, we will talk about Emmet. A very popular and highly useful tool that is built into almost every IDE out there like Visual Studio Code, Sublime Text etc.

If you're using Codepen, then you might be happy to know that emmet is also available in codepen. So you can type abbreviations to generate code in Codepen.

What is so special about emmet?

It allows us to just type some abbreviations and generate the output HTML and CSS code.

It increases your productivity to a great extent so you don't have to type the same repetitive code again and again.

Installation

Emmet is already available in almost every IDE so you don't need to install it.

If for some reason, it's not available in your IDE, you can install the extension from this page.

How to use it?

We just have to type the abbreviation and press the Tab key and emmet will convert it to the corresponding code.

Inside HTML file

  • If you have created a new .html file, then instead of manually typing the doctype, head, meta, body, just type ! (exclamation mark) and press tab and emmet will add the default HTML code

Exclamation

  • If you want to create a div with the class hero-banner then instead of manually typing <div class="hero-banner">Some content</div>, just type .hero-banner and press tab key and the entire code will be generated for you.

Hero Banner

As you can see, once the code is generated, emmet automatically places the cursor inside the div so you don't need to click inside the div to type content inside the div.

  • By default emmet, considers a div when you don't specify the tag name.

But you can specify your own tag name also.

Suppose you want to create a section with two classes namely box and showcase then you just need to type section.box.showcase and press the tab key.

Box Showcase

  • Generate div with id numbers

Abbreviation: #numbers

Id Numbers

  • Generate div with 3 paragraphs

Abbreviation: div>p*3

Div 3p

As you can see, once the code is generated, emmet automatically placed the cursor inside the paragraph so you just need to press the tab key to move to the next paragraph to type the content inside it

  • Generate 3 paragraphs with lorem ipsum text inside div

Abbreviation: div>p*3>lorem

Lorem Para

  • Generate a div with id btn and class primary-btn

Abbreviation: div#btn.primary-btn

Primary Btn

  • Generate ul with 3 li's and with an anchor tag inside it

Abbreviation: ul>li*3>a

Li a

  • Generate ul with class menu-items and 3 li's with class menu-item and with an anchor tag inside it

Abbreviation: ul.menu-items>li*3.menu-item>a

Menu Items

  • To generate 4 div's with h2 and ul inside it and 2 li's inside ul

Abbreviation: div*4>h2+ul>li*2

4_div_h2

Here, we wanted h2 and ul to be side by side so we have used the + operator

  • To generate ul with 4 li's inside it with class item1, item2, item3 and item4

Abbreviation: ul>li.item$*4

item_number

Here, $ represents an incrementing number starting with 1.

If for some reason, you want to generate a number starting with 0, use the abbreviation ul>li.item$@0*4

at_start

Here, we have specified the number after $ with @ symbol

  • To generate a button with text click here inside it

Abbreviation: button{click here}

button_click_here

  • To generate a paragraph with text Click here to continue text where here is a link

Abbreviation: p>{Click }+a{here}+{ to continue}

here_continue

  • To generate input with type checkbox

Abbreviation: input:c or input:checkbox

input_checkbox

You actually don't need to remember some abbreviations like input, just type input: and VS Code will suggest you with various emmet abbreviations

input_suggestions

  • To generate script tag with the src attribute

Abbreviation: script:src

script_src

  • To generate tags with some attribute, specify the attribute inside brackets

Abbreviation: a[href='#']

href

To specify multiple attributes separate them with spaces inside the brackets

img_multiple

Note: If for some reasons, the emmet suggestion hides and pressing tab does not complete the code, just delete the last character of the abbreviation or press ctrl + space to get the emmet suggestions and then press tab key.

Inside CSS file

Emmet also works in CSS files.

  • To add background to the selector

Abbreviation: bg

bg

  • To add an absolute position to the selector

Abbreviation: pos:a

pos_a

There are tons of abbreviations for CSS but you don't need to remember any of them. VS Code makes it really easy by providing suggestions while typing

  • To add any property to the selector just type initial characters and then the next word of that property.

So to add background-color just type backc(back for background and c for color)

back_c

  • To add background-size property just type backs

backs

So for CSS, you don't need to remember the emmet abbreviations. VS Code will help you out by providing suggestions.

Enable emmet in React

By default, Emmet is not enabled for JSX in React in VS Code.
But you can enable it by following the below steps:

  • In Visual Studio Code, press Control + Shift + P or Command + Shift + P (Mac) to open command palette and type setting and then select "Preferences: Open User Settings" option

setting_1

  • On the left side, expand the extension menu and click on Emmet

setting_2

  • Under Include Languages section, click on Add Item button and add javascript as a key and javascriptreact as a value and click on Ok

setting_3

Now open any component file in React and type .albums and press the tab key and it will be converted to <div className="albums"></div>

Albums

As you can see, Emmet automatically converts class to className, If we're in a .js file.

  • The great thing about Emmet is that you can generate an entire HTML page structure just using a single line of emmet abbreviation div.container>h1.title+h2.subtitle+div>div*4>h3+ul>li*4>a

Structure

To find out more about such amazing abbreviations check out the Emmet Cheatsheet.

Conclusion

That's it about this article. In this article, we have seen that,

  • Using Emmet inside HTML, CSS and even React javascript file, greatly improves productivity.
  • We can generate an entire HTML page structure just using a single line of emmet abbreviation.
  • So there is no more need of wasting time typing div, classes, ids manually, let the emmet do that job for you.

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Discussion (7)

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dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim

When I first heard of vscode shortcuts, I was like, that's too much.
Now I can't leave w/o it.

Emmet looks like "too much" initially but got the same vscode vibe!
Looks worth investing time in~

Thank you for sharing, Yogesh!

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myogeshchavan97 profile image
Yogesh Chavan Author

That's true.. Installing a new extension to get something done every time does not sound good but there are some tools like emmet which we can't afford to miss considering the amount of time saved by it. Thanks for your feedback about it 🙂

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kmistele profile image
Kyle Mistele

This is great - Emmet is an amazing tool. An absolute must-have for anyone working on front-end development

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myogeshchavan97 profile image
Yogesh Chavan Author

Thanks, Kyle and You're right. It's a must-have tool for every developer making developers life so much easy and improves productivity a lot

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kunalpgithub profile image
Krunal Parmar

Glad to see its working in React.

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myogeshchavan97 profile image
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jfbrennan profile image
Jordan Brennan

Love Emmet! It's really old but I rarely find devs who use it