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Why And How To Use Tailwind Input In Modern Web Applications

Accepting user input is an important aspect of modern web applications. Whether you’re running a blog website or an eCommerce website, you need a means to collect data from your users.

Tailwind CSS is a lightweight web framework that provides utility classes to style elements on your page. You can also use these classes to style input elements on your HTML template.

In this tutorial, we’ll briefly cover the basics of creating input elements in Tailwind. Excited? Let’s begin.

Introduction to Tailwind Input

As we earlier mentioned, Tailwind is a lightweight frontend web framework. Due to its lightweight design, Tailwind CSS doesn’t provide input components out of the box.

This essentially means you’ll need to create an HTML input element, and then apply Tailwind input class to the component.

Tailwind input typically refers to the use of the Tailwind CSS framework to style and design input fields in web apps. When working with input elements, Tailwind CSS allows developers to apply styling to these elements by adding classes directly to the HTML. This can include styling for borders, padding, margins, colors, sizes, and more.

Getting Started with Tailwind CSS

Although you can use Tailwind on a vanilla HTML and CSS project, we’ll be integrating it with a React application. The styles and classes would still apply regardless of the JavaScript framework you use.

Prerequisite

Before you start, ensure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  • Node.js and npm (Node Package Manager) are installed on your computer.

  • A basic understanding of HTML and React.

The video below will help you get started with React in case you need a refresher.

Installing Tailwind and React

For this tutorial, we’ll be installing Tailwind on a new React app. If you’d like to integrate it with your existing React app, simply skip the React installation and proceed to install Tailwind.

Start by installing React on your chosen directory.

npx create-react-app input-example

Next, run the command below to navigate to your project’s folder.

cd input-example

Once there, install Tailwind by running the command below

npm install -D tailwindcss

We also recommend initializing your Tailwind config file using the ‘tailwindcss init‘ command. The config file lets you create custom utility classes for your project. For more details on how the configuration file works, be sure to check our Tailwind config tutorial.

Tailwind Input Components

Input in Tailwind is similar to HTML input elements. If you understand how inputs work in HTML, you can apply similar knowledge to Tailwind.

You simply need to apply some of Tailwind’s styles to your input fields. Below are some of the most popular input elements you’ll likely use for your project.

Input

An input element is a form control that allows users to enter data. It’s commonly used for single-line text input, such as names, usernames, email addresses, or passwords. Inputs can have different types, including text, password, email, and more, each tailored to the type of data being collected. For example:

<input class="w-full md:w-1/2 lg:w-1/3 xl:w-1/4 p-2 border text-gray-200 rounded-md" type="text" placeholder="Your Name" />

In the example above, p-2 adds a padding of two pixels across all sides of the input element. We use the border class to add a light gray border around the component. Additionally, to make the widget responsive, we’re making the width display at full length and setting breakpoints for major screen sizes.

Styled input field

Textarea

A textarea is an input element that allows users to input multi-line text, making it suitable for longer text entries, such as comments, messages, or descriptions. It provides a larger input area for users to type or paste text. Here is an example.

<textarea placeholder="Your Message" class="w-full md:w-1/2 lg:w-1/3 xl:w-1/4 p-2 border text-gray-200 rounded-md"></textarea>
Styled textarea field

Select

A select element, often referred to as a dropdown or select box, is used for presenting a list of options to the user. Users can choose a single option from the list, making it ideal for fields like choosing a country or state from a predefined list.

<select class="w-full md:w-1/2 lg:w-1/3 xl:w-1/4 p-2 border text-gray-200 rounded-md">
  <option value="option1">Option 1</option>
  <option value="option2">Option 2</option>
</select>
Select field styled with Tailwind

Select Multiple

Similar to the select element, the select multiple element allows users to pick multiple options from a list. As a result, this is useful if you want to allow users to select multiple items from a set of choices, like selecting multiple interests or tags.

The implementation is also quite similar to the example above. You just need to add the multiple parameter to the select tag we used above.

<select multiple class="w-full md:w-1/2 lg:w-1/3 xl:w-1/4 p-2 border rounded-md">
  <option value="option1">Option 1</option>
  <option value="option2">Option 2</option>
  <option value="option3">Option 3</option>
</select>
Select multiple field with Tailwind Classes

Radio button

Radio buttons are a type of input element that lets users select one option from a list of mutually exclusive choices. They are typically used in situations where only one option should be selected, such as selecting a gender or preference. Here is an example code:

<label class="inline-flex text-gray-700 items-center mr-4">
  <input type="radio" name="gender" value="male" class="text-blue-500" />
  <span class="ml-2">Male</span>
</label>
<label class="inline-flex text-gray-700 items-center mr-4">
  <input type="radio" name="gender" value="female" class="text-blue-500" />
  <span class="ml-2">Female</span>
</label>
Styled radio button component

Checkbox

Checkboxes are form controls that allow users to toggle an option on or off. Unlike radio buttons, checkboxes are used when users can select multiple options simultaneously, and each option is independent of the others.

Some common uses of checkbox elements include agreeing to terms and conditions or selecting multiple items from a list. Below is an example code for implementing a checkbox.

<div>
 <label class="inline-flex items-center mr-4">
  <input type="checkbox" name="subscribe" value="yes" class="text-blue-500" />
  <span class="ml-2 text-gray-700">Subscribe to newsletter</span>
 </label>
</div>
Styled checkox field

However, applying Tailwind CSS classes to select, radio buttons and checkboxes may not work as expected. This is because Tailwind only applies the classes to the main component. Inner components like the dropdown menu and the checkbox icon will still use the default styles.

To overcome this barrier, you should use the Tailwind Forms plugin. This plugin provides out-of-the-box styling to form elements. It also includes classes to target inner HTML components. Check out the video below to learn how it works.

Creating Simple Input Fields

Creating input fields with Tailwind CSS is straightforward, thanks to its utility-first approach.

Let’s start by creating a React component that will render your input fields. For simplicity, let’s create a functional component named InputFields.js.

Next, use Tailwind CSS classes to style your input fields. Here’s an example of creating a basic text input field:

// InputFields.js

import React from 'react';
import 'path/to/tailwind.css';

const InputFields = () => {
  return (
    <div class="m-4">
      <label htmlFor="username">Username:</label>
      <input
        type="text"
        id="username"
        className="border p-2 rounded-md"
        placeholder="Enter your username"
      />
    </div>
  );
};

export default InputFields;

Code explanation:

  • border: Adds a border to the input field.

  • p-2: Adds padding of size 2 pixels to all sides of the input field.

  • rounded-md: Applies a medium level of rounding to the corners of the input field.

After creating your component, you’ll need to import it to the App.js file before you can run it.

// App.js

import React from 'react';
import InputFields from './InputFields';

const App = () => {
  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Your React App</h1>
      <InputFields />
    </div>
  );
};

export default App;

Once done, use the npm start command to run the development server.

Basic input field

Customizing Input Elements

You can also apply multiple Tailwind CSS classes to your input elements. For instance, we can update the code above to add a focus state color for the input element.

// ...
<div class="m-4">
      <label htmlFor="username">Username:</label>
      <input
        type="text"
        id="username"
        className="border p-2 rounded-md focus:border-blue-500 focus:bg-gray-100"
        placeholder="Enter your username"
      />
    </div>
//...

In the code above, we added focus:border-blue-500 which changes the border color to blue when the input field is focused. We also added focus:bg-gray-100 class name. This class changes the background color when the input field is focused.

Input with custom classes

In the next sections, we’ll explore some customization options for input elements.

Input Sizes and Variants

In Tailwind CSS, you can control the size of your input elements using the size utility classes. You can add the text-sm, text-base, or text-lg class to your input elements to update the size. For example:

//...

<div class="m-4">
      <label htmlFor="username">Username:</label>
      <input
        type="text"
        id="username"
        className="border p-2 rounded-md focus:border-gray-500 focus:bg-gray-100"
        placeholder="Enter your username"
      />
    </div>
    <div class="flex flex-col m-6 space-y-4">
      <div class="mb-2">
        <label htmlFor="smallInput"  class="block text-gray-700 text-sm font-bold mb-2">Small Input </label>
        <input
          type="text"
          id="smallInput"
          className="p-1 text-sm border rounded-md"
          placeholder="Small input"
        />
      </div>

      <div class="mb-2">
        <label htmlFor="mediumInput" class="block text-gray-700 text-sm font-bold mb-2">Medium Input</label>
        <input
          type="text"
          id="mediumInput"
          className="p-2 text-base border rounded-md"
          placeholder="Medium input"
        />
      </div>

      <div class="mb-2">
        <label htmlFor="largeInput"  class="block text-gray-700 text-sm font-bold mb-2">Large Input</label>
        <input
          type="text"
          id="largeInput"
          className="p-3 text-lg border rounded-md"
          placeholder="Large input"
        />
      </div>
    </div>

//...

In the code above, we added 3 input fields with different sizes. The classes text-sm, text-base, and text-lg adjust the text size for each input field.

  • text-sm: This is a small-size input field.

  • text-base: This is the default size for all input elements in Tailwind.

  • text-lg: This is a large-size input field.

Here is how the code looks when you preview your page.

Input field sizes

Input Groups

In Tailwind CSS, creating input groups involves combining multiple elements together, such as an input field with an icon or additional text. Now, let’s go through an example of creating an input group in our Tailwind project.

 <div class="flex items-center">
      <span className="inline-flex items-center px-3 border border-r-0 border-gray-300 bg-gray-100 text-gray-500 text-sm">
        @
      </span>
      <input
        type="text"
        className="border p-2 rounded-md"
        placeholder="Username"
      />
    </div>

Code explanation:

  • The flex items-center classes are applied to the outer div to create a flex container with centered items.

  • The inline-flex items-center px-3 border … classes are applied to the span element, creating a rounded icon on the left side of the input field.

  • The border p-2 rounded-md classes are applied to the input field for styling.

This is the approach used to prepend and append elements to input fields.

Input Prepend and Append

In Tailwind CSS, adding elements before or after an input field, often referred to as Input Prepend and Append can be achieved using flex containers and additional styling classes.

Let’s go through an example of creating an input field with both Input Prepend and Append in our Tailwind project.

<div class="relative m-6"> 
        <input type="text"
               class="pl-10 pr-4 py-2 border rounded-lg" 
               placeholder="Enter your email" /> 
        <div class="absolute inset-y-0 left-0 pl-3  
                    flex items-center  
                    pointer-events-none"> 
            <i class="fas fa-envelope text-gray-400"></i> 
        </div> 
    </div> 

In the code above, we are setting the relative class for the div element. Within the div, we’re adding an input field and a div with the font awesome envelope icon.

Here is how it looks when you preview your HTML template.

Prepend input field with email icon

Now, let’s create another input field that appends an SVG icon next to the input field. For this example, we’ll be creating a search field that contains a search icon next to it. Here is the code snippet for this example.

<div class="relative flex m-6">
      <input
        type="text"
        className="border p-2 rounded-l-md w-40 focus:outline-none focus:ring-2 focus:ring-blue-500"
        placeholder="Search..."
      />
      <div class="flex items-center bg-gray-200 p-2 rounded-r-md">
        {/* Search Icon */}
        <svg
          className="h-5 w-5 text-gray-500"
          fill="none"
          stroke="currentColor"
          viewBox="0 0 24 24"
          xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
        >
          <path
            strokeLinecap="round"
            strokeLinejoin="round"
            strokeWidth="2"
            d="M21 21l-5-5m-4 0a8 8 0 110-16 8 8 0 010 16z"
          ></path>
        </svg>
      </div>
    </div>

Code explanation:

  • The flex class is applied to the outer div to make the input and icon display side by side.

  • The rounded-l-md and rounded-r-md classes are used to ensure rounded corners on the left and right sides of the input and icon container, respectively.

  • The w-40 class is added to the input, setting its width to 40 Tailwind CSS units.

  • The bg-gray-200 and p-2 classes are applied to the icon’s container for background color and padding.

Here is how it looks when you preview the code.

Input field with search icon appended

Disabled and Read-Only Inputs

In Tailwind CSS, creating disabled readonly input fields involves applying specific classes to the input elements to control their behavior. Below is an example with code to demonstrate how to create disabled and read-only input fields using Tailwind CSS:

<div class="m-6">
      {/* Disabled Input Field */}
      <label htmlFor="disabledInput" class="block text-gray-700 text-sm font-bold mb-2">Disabled Input</label>
      <input
        type="text"
        id="disabledInput"
        className="border p-2 rounded-md bg-gray-200 cursor-not-allowed mb-3"
        placeholder="Disabled Input"
        disabled
      />

      {/* Read-Only Input Field */}
      <label htmlFor="readOnlyInput" class="block text-gray-700 text-sm font-bold mb-2">Read-Only Input</label>
      <input
        type="text"
        id="readOnlyInput"
        className="border p-2 rounded-md bg-gray-100"
        placeholder="Read-Only Input"
        readOnly
      />
    </div>

For the disabled input field:

  • The disabled attribute is added to the input element, preventing user interaction.

  • The bg-gray-200 class is applied to give it a visually disabled appearance.

  • The cursor-not-allowed class is used to show a “not-allowed” cursor when hovering over the disabled input.

For the read-only input field:

  • The readOnly attribute is added to the input element, allowing users to see the content but not modify it.

  • The bg-gray-100 class is applied to give it a visually distinct appearance.

The main difference between both input types is that, read-only inputs are for displaying non-editable information that users can interact with (e.g., copying an API key). Disabled inputs, on the other hand are for preventing any interaction with the field altogether.

Responsive Input Design

Responsive design refers to the practice of building websites or applications in a way that allows them to adapt and display appropriately on various devices and screen sizes. The goal is to provide the best experience for users, whether they are using a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

Responsive design typically involves using a combination of flexible grid layouts, media queries, and flexible images and media. In the following example, we’ll create a responsive newsletter signup that collects user email.

Creating a Newsletter Optin With Tailwind CSS Input

A newsletter signup form is one of the most used forms in modern web apps. Most website owners use it to collect user emails so they can keep in touch with their users via email newsletter.

This type of form needs to be responsive because it can be used on any part of your website. Now then, let’s create a responsive signup form.

Firstly, start by creating a new component on your React app. We used NewsletterSignup.js as our component’s name.

After creating the component, copy and paste the code below to your newly created component.

// NewsletterSignup.js

import React from 'react';

const NewsletterSignup = () => {
  return (
    <div className="max-w-md mx-auto">
      <form>
        {/* Responsive Email Input */}
        <label htmlFor="email" className="block mb-2">
          Email:
        </label>
        <input
          type="email"
          id="email"
          className="border p-2 rounded-md w-full"
          placeholder="Your email"
        />

        {/* Responsive Subscribe Button */}
        <button
          type="submit"
          className="bg-blue-500 text-white p-2 rounded-md mt-4 w-full"
        >
          Subscribe
        </button>
      </form>
    </div>
  );
};

export default NewsletterSignup;

Code explanation:

  • The max-w-md mx-auto class is applied to the outer div to set a maximum width and center it horizontally.

  • The w-full class is used for the email input to take up the full width.

  • The subscribe button has a responsive width using the w-full class.

Here is how it looks when you preview your form.

responsive newsletter signup form

Input Add-ons and Third-Party Integrations

For more advanced input components and layouts, you can also explore third-party libraries that provide free and customizable Tailwind CSS components. Below are some of the most popular third-party libraries:

PureCode Marketplace: PureCode provides many AI-generated templates including form templates to speed up your development time. You can integrate these templates to your web apps built using Tailwind CSS.

Get Started With PureCode

Other Tailwind 3rd-party input component providers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below we’ve answered some of the top questions about creating input elements in Tailwind.

How do I apply custom styles to a Tailwind Input component?

To apply custom styles, simply add Tailwind utility classes to your input elements. For instance, you can use class=”border p-2 rounded-md” to add a border, padding, and rounded corners to your input component.

What are the input types in Tailwind CSS?

Tailwind doesn’t define specific input types. Instead, it provides utility classes to style inputs of various types. Common types include text, password, email, etc.

What is the input type of email in Tailwind?

The input type for an email field remains the same as standard HTML: <input type=”email”>. You can use Tailwind CSS utility classes to style this input type to suit your brand needs.

What is the recommended approach for handling input validation with Tailwind Input?

Use Tailwind CSS focus and state classes to indicate validation status. For instance, focus:border-green-500 for a valid input and focus:border-red-500 for an invalid one.

How can I create a multi-step form using Tailwind Input components?

You can implement a multi-step form by using JavaScript to hide/show different sections of the form. Each section can contain Tailwind-styled input fields relevant to that step.

Are there any performance considerations when using Tailwind for input styling?

Tailwind is designed to be performant. However, be mindful of the overall size of your CSS file, especially in production. Consider using PurgeCSS to remove unused styles and optimize for performance.

Extending Your Tailwind CSS Knowledge

Tailwind CSS is a customizable frontend web framework. It provides classes to customize any aspect of your web project including input elements.

In this tutorial, we’ve explained how Tailwind makes use of input components. We also covered how to style your input elements and finally showed a practical example of building a responsive newsletter opt-in form with Tailwind.

We are launching our collection of over 1000 AI-generated custom components for you to choose from for your next web project. Our marketplace also has templates for projects built using Tailwind CSS, Material UI, and CSS3. Sign up now at Purecode.ai to get notified once we fully launch 🚀

Further Reading

If you found this post helpful, then check out other tutorials from our blog to become a better Tailwind developer.

David Ozokoye

David Ozokoye

Software Engineer and Technical Writer