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Tepy Thai
Tepy Thai

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at

Why 100vw causes horizontal scrollbar

This post is from my personal blog here

Do you ever wonder why sometimes your site just has a horizontal scrollbar appeared out of nowhere? Today I just ran into it again (as always 😆) and I somehow figured out how to remove it. So here is the step I took to debug and fix it.

  • Try the global border or outline color trick to find which element is causing it:
* {
  border: 1px solid red;
  • Find elements with width bigger than the document's width (more from csstrick)
var docWidth = document.documentElement.offsetWidth;

[]'*'), function (el) {
  if (el.offsetWidth > docWidth) {
  • Most of the times, I always find the 100vw value on the width that is the cause of the overflow. So, if that is the case, you can try replacing it with width: 100% instead and see if it works. Try with its inner elements as well if present.

So, back to the title, why would 100vw be the cause? Well, the answer is:

When you set an element's width to 100vw, the element's width now will be the whole view width of the browser and the important part is 100vw does not include the vertical scrollbar's width into its calculation at all. Therefore, when there is a vertical scrollbar, the total width will be the sum of the element's width and the vertical scrollbar's width, which causes the overflow on the x-axis and thus the horizontal scrollbar.

Hope this helps!

Feel free to correct me if you think there is something wrong 😃

Top comments (8)

theonlybeardedbeast profile image

Most of the time I see juniors creating a section in a one-pager with 100vh and 100vw, 100vh from my part is understandable, if they don't want/or know how to setup html, body height. But if the element is already in a 100% container, and it doesn't need to overflow from a smaller container to achieve the 100% width, then why would anyone use 100vw? Especially if I need to style something I wouldn't make it render badly without js. Don't get me wrong I see that you recommend using 100%, just 100vw can make me really upset, thanks for the article :)

tepythai profile image
Tepy Thai

Yeah, I would want to avoid the 100vw within a 100% container as well. Mostly I only use 100% for inner elements unless I really want the width to be relative to the viewport, then I would use 100vh. Anyway, thanks for the clarification :)

booellean profile image
Elliot Forst

Has anyone tried using 100vw with the below?

box-sizing: border-box;
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tepythai profile image
Tepy Thai

I've never tried using it with box-sizing before, but I don't think box-sizing has anything to do with this case at all.

joostkiens profile image
Joost Kiens

You are right, it has nothing to do with your explanation. However, it does have an impact on your debug code, specifically the border.

If the box-sizing is the default content-box, borders will be added to the total width of an element. So by using a border of 1px, you create a total width of 100% + 2px, which means you still get a horizontal scrollbar.

When using an outline this would not be an issue since an outline has no layout.

adonisme2k profile image

thanks, that works for me

apoorv266 profile image
Apoorv Sharma

does it mean if there is no vertical scrollbar, then the total width will be element's width only and does not include vertical scrollbar's width as it is not present , but if there is vertical scrollbar,the total width will be the sum of the element's width and the vertical scrollbar's width, am i correct ? can someone confirm ?

codingedgar profile image

Thank you <3