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React Inline Style: How to Use Inline Styles in React Components

Applying styles to your React application plays a vital role, as it gives your application a different and pleasing feel. With react inline style, you have the power to create anything they want. Applying styles to your React application aids in improving the UI/UX of your application. It also aids in the responsiveness of a web page.

In this article, you will learn all there is to know about applying inline styles to your React components.

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Introduction to Inline Styling in React

Inline styling in React.JS is a styling method where CSS styles are applied uniquely directly within your JavaScript code in your React application. This can be done by merging the CSS styles and the component logic seamlessly.

Syntax of Inline Style Objects

Styling an element inline in React is different from regular CSS. In react, the style attribute value must be a javascript object, and the styles are written directly inside the Javascript code.

Here is an example of inline styling in React:

function Button () {
  const inlineDisplay = {
    border: "none",
    borderRadius: "10px",
    fontSize: "16px",
    color: "#fff",
    backgroundColor: "#54a0ff",
    cursor: "pointer",
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>This is an Inline style Syntax</h1>
      <button style={inlineDisplay}/>
    </div>
  );

};

The inlineDisplay is a Javascript object for styling a button element. You can see how the style attribute is then applied in the button element.

The code above can also be written as this;

import React from "react";

function Button () {

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>This is an Inline style Syntax</h1>
      <button
        style={{
          border: "none",
          borderRadius: "10px",
          fontSize: "16px",
          color:"#fff",
          backgroundColor:"#54a0ff",
          cursor: "pointer"
        }}
        >
        Inline React
      </button>
    </div>
  )
}
Syntax of Inline Style Objects

Advantages of Inline Styling

Just like any other styling method, the inline styling method has its advantages and disadvantages

Some of the advantages of using the Inline styling method;

  • Quick Styling: Inline style provides a fast method of styling an element in react.

  • Easy and Dynamic Changes: When using inline styles in your react components, changes can be made in a heartbeat and these changes are very easy to make.

  • Easy to Use and Understand

If you would like to skip ahead and learn through YouTube video, see the video below:

Disadvantages of Inline Styling

  • Poor support for pseudo-classes: When using an inline style in your React application, you can’t use the CSS pseudo-classes like hover, active, or visited. These pseudo-classes when used as an inline style in your results to an error.

  • Poor support for Media queries: Media queries aid in making your web page responsive with all screen sizes. The inline styles do not support these as it results in an error whenever used.

  • Poor performance for large applications: Using the inline styling method in large applications will perform poorly and slow the production rate and can also lead to code cluster in your codebase thereby making it very difficult to identify where an issue might be coming from.

Writing Inline Styles

The inline styling method in React is simple but requires a specific writing pattern and whenever you deviate from this pattern, an error message is displayed. This writing pattern requires you to pay very close attention to syntax.

CamelCase vs Kebab-case

CamelCase vs Kebab-case

Inline styling in React follows a particular Javascript naming convention, known as the camelCase. In traditional CSS, properties can be written like this: justify-content, background-color, font-size, etc, and this is known as the Kebab-case. But these properties are written differently in React because the symbol is a different command. The above style is written as justifyContent, backgroundColor, fontSize, etc.

The major difference between the Kebab-case and camelCase is just the replacement of the symbol with a capital letter of the second text. i.e. from background-color to backgroundColor.

Numeric Values in Inline Styles

In writing Numeric values in React, values in a style object are either represented as a string or number. To specify a value as a string, you can wrap such value in a quotation just like this; fontSize: ‘50%’.

Inline styles in React, whenever a value unit is not specified, React by default assumes a pixel unit to such value.

Dynamic Inline Styles

The dynamic nature of Inline styling is one of the advantages of using the inline styling method. This makes it easy for you to make changes to style elements based on either the user interaction or data fetched from an API.

To dynamically set inline styles to an element, you can make use of JavaScript expressions within your style object.

Performance Considerations

While inline styles offer flexibility there are some factors to take into consideration.

One of the factors to consider is the render performance. Whenever a style is computed dynamically, and style changes are made, React needs to re-render components even if other props or state remain unchanged. This most times can lead to unnecessary re-renders and performance overhead.

Slow Rendering is another thing to consider in inline styles. Whenever you have a highly nested codebase or styles, it takes a lot of time for your code to be rendered. This becomes a very big issue in situations where your network connection is low.

Organizing Styles for Larger Applications

Organizing your styles for Larger applications is one of the most important factors to consider when writing and styling your React component as this aids in the consistency, readability, scalability, and maintainability of your React application.

One of the ways of Organizing your styles for Larger applications is by Componentization. This is seen as a process whereby you break down your application into smaller reusable components where each component should have its logic and styling.

Component-specific Styles vs Shared Style Objects

Component-specific styles entail packing of data, functions, and styles into one component i.e. the styles given to a particular component cannot be reused for other components. This promotes modularity in your React app. On the other hand, Shared style Object promotes the reusability of styles for other components. The shared style object mostly comes into play whenever there are different component that requires the same styling. For example when styling a button element, Instead of using a component-specific style for the button element, it is best to use a shared style object to render the same style to all buttons across multiple components.

Using JavaScript Objects for Styling

Defining your styles as a Javascript object allows you to create fast and dynamic styles. This in turn allows you to keep your styles organized, reusable, and flexible.

Here is an Example;

import React from "react";

function Form() {
  const inputStyle = {
    padding: "8px 12px",
    fontSize: "16px",
    border: "1px solid #ccc",
    borderRadius: "4px",
    width: "100%",
    backgroundColor:"#ffff",
    marginBottom: "10px",
  };

  const inlineDisplay = {
    border: "none",
    borderRadius: "10px",
    fontSize: "16px",
    color: "#fff",
    backgroundColor: "#54a0ff",
    cursor: "pointer",
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <input
        type="text"
        placeholder="Username"
        style={inputStyle}
      />
      <input
        type="email"
        placeholder="Your email address"
        style={inputStyle}
      />
      <input
        type="password"
        placeholder="Password (not less than ten letters)"
        style={inputStyle}
      />

    <button style={inlineDisplay}>Submit</button>
    </div>
  );
}

The example above is how you can use a Javascript object for styling. The inputStyle and inlineDisplay from the code above is a javascript objects and inside them are the inline styles used in styling the input field and the submit button.

Using JavaScript Objects for Styling

Creating Style Objects Outside of the Render Method

It is advisable to keep your style Objects outside the render method in your react application as this helps in avoiding unnecessary re-renders which in turn can reduce the performance of your application.

Sharing Style Objects Across Components

Sharing Style Objects across components is important as this aids in productivity and helps prevent you from writing the same line of code repeatedly.

For you to share style objects across different components, you can create a different component for the styles and then import the styles into any other component of your choice.

Common Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Overriding Styles with Inline Styles

Inline styling overrides any styles defined by external stylesheets and this can be an issue when not used properly. To avoid this issue, it is important to use inline styles when needed in your component.

Specificity Issues with Inline

Specificity issues are another pitfall when using inline styling because they are much more specific than class selectors. To avoid this issue, your styles should be applied to the necessary elements, this helps in minimizing conflicts.

Mixing Inline Styles with Other Styling Methods

It is very possible to combine your inline styles along with external stylesheets or CSS-in-JS libraries but this can lead to confusion if your codebase is not properly written. To avoid this, you must maintain consistency across your codebase.

Inline Styles with CSS-in-JS Libraries

This refers to the practice of writing CSS styles directly within JavaScript code using a CSS-in-Js library. This allows developers to define styles dynamically based on the components props and state. It offers various benefits such as scoped styles, easier management of component-specific styles, and the ability to use JavaScript expressions within styles.

Accessibility Considerations

One of the most crucial things to take into account when using inline styles is accessibility. When using inline styles make sure that you maintain an appropriate contrast ratio and support dynamic text resizing.

Alternatives to Inline Styling

There are other styling approaches you can make use of in styling your application. Approaches like SASS, CSS Modules, CSS, and LESS are still functional and can help provide better performance in some cases.

Overview of CSS, Pre-processors, and CSS Modules

CSS also called Cascading Style Sheets is a traditional stylesheet language used to define how elements are to be displayed on screen, or in other media.

Pre-processors on the other hand are a CSS feature that processes input data and generates output based on the predefined rules or instructions. Pre-processor is often used to enhance or extend the functionality of CSS. Some popular Preprocessors include Sass, Less, Stylus, etc.

CSS Modules enable you to create several levels of styles when developing your application, giving you more precise control over elements’ styles. This makes tasks like updating buttons, headings, grids, and other elements quick and simple to do.

Comparison with CSS-in-JS Solutions

CSS-in-JS is one of the approaches used in styling web applications. In this approach, CSS styles are composed using JavaScript instead of writing traditional CSS files. Just like the traditional approach of styling web apps, CSS-in-JS has its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Dynamic Styling: With this approach, developers can easily generate styles dynamically based on application state or user interaction which can lead to more dynamic and responsive user interfaces.

  • Improved Developer Experience: The CSS-in-JS libraries provide features like improved tooling integration, dead code elimination, automatic vendor prefixing, etc. This in turn makes the development process smooth and improves the development experience.

  • Scoped styles: By default, the CSS-in-JS libraries allow for scoped styles which in turn reduces the likelihood of conflicts between styles. This often occurs and is beneficial in large applications or when working with third-party components.

Cons:

  • Rendering Delays: Most times generating styles dynamically at runtime may lead to rendering delays, especially on devices with slow internet connection or processing speed, and this might affect the performance of your application.

  • Debugging Complexity: Debugging in JavaScript can be more challenging compared to debugging in traditional CSS. This might be worse when you have complex style compositions or dynamic styles.

Understanding React Style Attribute

In HTML, the style attribute is used in applying inline styles to HTML elements. Therefore you do not need to create an external CSS file to apply these styles as you can apply them directly inside your HTML file.

In ReactJS, style attributes are used a bit differently as you can apply them as an inline style to your JSX elements. The style attributes accept a JavaScript object where the keys are CSS properties and are written in a specific naming convention (camelCase).

Here is a comparison example of the HTML style attribute and that of ReactJS;

<!-- An HTML inline styling method -->
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
<!-- Meta tags go here -->
  <title>HTML Style Attribute</title>
</head>
<body>
  <div>
    <h1 style="background-color: blue; color: white; padding: 10px; border-radius: 5px;">
    Hello, world!
    </h1>
  </div>
</body>
</html>

// An inline styling method in React

import React from 'react';

function App() {
  const bigWorld = {
    backgroundColor: 'blue',
    color: 'white',
    padding: '10px',
    borderRadius: '5px'
  };

  return
  <div>
  <h1 style={bigWorld}>
    Hello, world!
  </h1>

  </div>;
}

export default MyComponent;
Understanding React Style Attribute

The two examples above will give you the same result but it is important to note their difference.

CamelCase Property Names

CamelCase property is a naming convention used for styling in JavaScript. For traditional CSS, you usually write style properties like this; background-color, justify-content, etc, this style of writing is known as the kebab-case. However the camelCase writing is different and it is written like this; backgroundColor, justifyContent, etc.

Example;

function App() {
  const bookNote ={
    backgroundColor:'#0000',
    justifyContent:'center',
    fontSize:'20px',
  }
}

As seen in the example above, in the camelCase, the first word starts with a small letter and is followed up by a capital letter.

Value as String or Number

Shorthand Properties

In traditional CSS you can freely make use of shorthand properties such as font to represent fontStyle, fontSize, fontFamily, and fontWeight. Some of these shortcuts are not applicable in React.

However, some exceptions have been made to this rule. In React you can make use of margin, padding, and border to represent marginTop, marginBottom, paddingTop, and paddingBottom respectively.

Here is an example:

function App () {
  const bButton {
    margin: '5px 10px',
    padding: '15px 10px',
    border: '2px solid #0000',
    backgroundColor: "#54a0ff",
    cursor: "pointer",
  }
}

Handling Dynamic Styles in React

Setting Dynamic Inline Styles

Inline styling in ReactJS provides you with the ability to apply styles dynamically.

JavaScript expressions can be based on the state or props of your component and can be used to set dynamic inline styles within your style object.

Here’s an example of how to set dynamic inline styles in React:

Function App () {
  const Color = ({ isActive }) => {
      const dDisplay = {
        color: isActive ? 'grey': 'red',
        fontSize: '30px'
      };

      return (
        <div style={dDisplay}>
          {isActive ? 'Active' : 'Inactive'}
        </div>
      );
    };
};

From the example above, the dDisplay is a Javascript-style object and the color property is computed based on the isActive props. if isActive is true, the set color will be grey but if isActive is false, the color turns red.

Conditional Styling in React

In React, you can apply certain styles to components based on certain conditions. This mostly occurs when you are working with operators with your style object such as ternary or logical AND operators.

Here is an example of how to apply conditional styles in React:

Function App () {
  const Color = ({ isActive }) => {
      const dDisplay = {
        color: isActive ? 'grey' : 'red',
        fontSize: isActive && '30px'
      };

      return (
        <div style={dDisplay}>
          {isActive ? 'Active' : 'Inactive'}
        </div>
      );
    };
};

From the code example, the fontSize is set to a condition of 30px if isActive is true and undefined if isActive is false.

When to Use React Style Attribute Over CSS

It is very important to know where and when to use either the React style attribute or the CSS style attribute.

. Use the ReactJS style attribute when:

  • You need to compute dynamic styles in your application.

  • You need to apply conditional-based styles.

  • You need to scope your styles to avoid style conflicts in your application.

. You can also use the CSS style attribute when:

  • You need to apply global styles in your application.

  • When you need to make use of CSS futures like the pseudo-classes, media queries, etc which are not supported by React inline style attribute.

Using External Stylesheets in React

How to Import Stylesheets

In ReactJS, you can create and import an external CSS stylesheet just like you would import any other React Component. To achieve this, you can easily make use of the import keyword along with the CSS file path.

Here is an Example;

import './App.css'

Function App() {
  // Your javascript code goes here

  return (
    <div>

    // Your JSX code goes here

    </div>
  );
}

export default App;

From the example above, you can see how the App.css file has been imported into the React component. At this point, you can write your CSS code freely in the App.css file and call it in the React component using any className of your choice.

Pros and Cons of External Stylesheets

Here are some of the Pros and Cons of using External Stylesheets in React.

Pros:

  • Easy to Use: Because many developers are familiar with the traditional CSS styling technique, the external stylesheet will be easy to make use of as it doesn’t require you to learn new skills.

  • Reusability and Consistency: The external styling method ensures consistency and these styles can also be reused across other components in your application.

  • Full CSS Support: The external stylesheet provides full CSS support and does not restrict CSS features like pseudo-classes, media queries, etc.

Cons:

  • No Dynamic Styles: With an external stylesheet, you cannot make dynamic changes to your React application.

  • Global Scope: Styles defined in external stylesheets have a global scope, which can lead to style conflicts and unintended side effects, this occurs especially in larger applications with multiple developers working concurrently.

CSS Modules in React

What are CSS Modules?

CSS Modules are a popular and powerful tool for styling in web development and are majorly used in JavaScript frameworks like React, Vue.Js, and Angular. They aim to provide ways to create scoped CSS styles, reducing the risk of class name conflicts and making it simple to reuse styles across components.

How to Use CSS Modules in React

It is important to note that CSS Modules come pre-installed, therefore you do not need any additional installations.

Before you can use the CSS Modules in ReactJs, you first need to create an external CSS file with the extension of .module.css. The .module.css extension is very important as it aids in identifying the file as a CSS module.

After that, you can then import this file into your React Component.

Here is an Example:

import React from 'react';
import styles from './Main.module.css';

const Main = () => {
  return (
    <div className={styles.div}>
      {/* Content */}
    </div>
  );
};

export default Main;

From the code example above, you can see that the CSS module named Main.module.css has been created and imported to the React component. Now you can use the class names defined in the CSS module by accessing them through the styled object.

Styled Components in React

Introduction to Styled Components

Styled Components is one of the CSS-in-JS libraries that allows you to write CSS code directly within your JavaScript file. This component provides a means of preventing your styles from leaking to other areas of your application and therefore promoting code readability, maintainability, and reusability.

Creating and Using Styled Components

For you to make use of the styled component, you have to install it into your application.

You can make use of npm install styled-components or yarn add styled-components to achieve this.

You should note that the styled Components are created using the styled function which is imported from the styled-components library.

Here is an Example;

import styled from 'styled-components';
import React from "react";

// Define the styled component outside of the functional component

const Button = styled.button`
  background-color: #007bff;
  color: white;
  border: none;
  padding: 10px 20px;
  border-radius: 5px;
  cursor: pointer;

  &:hover {
    background-color: #0056b3;
  }
`;

function Main() {
  return (
    <div>
      <Button>Click me</Button>
    </div>
  );
}

export default Main;
Creating and Using Styled Components

Tabular Comparison Of Different Methods Of Styling In React

Styling MethodSyntaxProsCons
Inline StylesApply styles via style attribute and JS object– Scoped to component – Override external styles – Dynamic styling– Not reusable – Can’t use CSS features like pseudo-selectors
Regular CSSImport .css files– Reusable styles – Full CSS support– Global scopeReact- No dynamic styling
CSS ModulesImport**.module.css** files– Scoped to component – Reusable styles – Full CSS support– Setup required – Some CSS features are unavailable
Styled ComponentsTagged template literals– Scoped styles – Reusable components – Dynamic styling– Dependencies required – More complex syntax

Some key points:

  • Inline styles are easy to use but limited in features compared to CSS

  • Regular CSS gives you full styling power but lacks scoping and dynamic styling

  • CSS Modules scope CSS classes to components

  • Styled components let you write CSS in JS for dynamic styling

FAQs

What is inline styling in React?

Inline styling in React involves writing CSS rules directly within the component’s JSX code by passing a style object to the style attribute. This differs from traditional CSS where styles are written in external stylesheets.

What is the syntax for inline styles in React?

The syntax for inline styles in React uses camelCased JavaScript object properties for CSS rules, with values as strings or numbers. For example: {color: ‘blue’, fontSize: 20}.

How do inline styles compare to regular CSS for React apps?

Inline styles are scoped, override external CSS, and allow dynamic styling based on props. However, they lack features like pseudo-selectors, media queries, and CSS reuse. Regular CSS gives you full styling capabilities but lacks scoping and dynamic styling.

When should you use inline styles vs CSS in React?

Use inline styles for simple, component-specific styles that need to change dynamically. Use regular CSS for complex styling that should be shared across components.

Do inline styles affect performance in React apps?

Inline styles can negatively impact performance in large React apps due to creating unique style objects. However, they are fast for small apps.

How can you extract inline styles to reuse in React components?

Define shared styles in JS objects, then import them wherever needed. You can also use Styled Components to define reusable styled JSX elements.

What are some best practices for inline styling in React?

Use inline styles sparingly, ensure proper contrasts for accessibility, avoid over-specificity, and minimize dynamic styling logic in render methods.

What You Have Learned

Inline styling in React.js is a styling method where CSS styles are applied uniquely directly within your Javascript code in your React application. This can be done by merging the CSS styles and the component logic seamlessly.

Furthermore, applying styles to your react application plays a vital role as it gives your application a different and pleasant feel. With styles, developers have the power to create anything they want.

Lastly, CSS Modules are a popular and powerful tool for styling in web development and are majorly used in JavaScript frameworks like React, Vue.Js, and Angular. They aim to provide ways to create scoped CSS styles, reducing the risk of class name conflicts and making it simple to reuse styles across components.

Check out how Purecode AI can help you be an efficient developer by x10 your development speed. You no longer have to write your code yourself, let Purecode AI take the lead today.

If you want to take your styling to the next level, check this YouTube video on ReactJS ClassName vs Inline styles:

Emmanuel Uchenna

Emmanuel Uchenna

Emmanuel is an experienced and enthusiastic software developer and technical writer with 4+ proven years of professional experience. He focuses on full-stack web development. He is fluent in React, TypeScript, VueJS, and NodeJS and familiar with industry-standard technologies such as version control, headless CMS, and JAMstack. He is passionate about knowledge sharing.