Justify Content Vs Align Items: Understanding The Differences



Dive into the differences between justify content and align items in CSS, from definitions to implementations and common use cases.

Justify Content

When it comes to web design, the “justify-content” property in CSS plays a crucial role in controlling the alignment and spacing of flex items within a flex container. Let’s delve deeper into what this property entails, how it is implemented in CSS, and provide some examples of its usage.


The “justify-content” property determines how flex items are aligned along the main axis of a flex container. It allows you to distribute space between and around items, adjusting their position to achieve the desired layout. Whether you want items to be packed tightly together, spread evenly apart, or aligned to one end of the container, “justify-content” gives you the flexibility to control the spacing between items.

Implementation in CSS

To apply the “justify-content” property in CSS, you first need to define a flex container using the “display: flex;” or “display: inline-flex;” property. Once you have established a flex container, you can then set the “justify-content” property to one of the following values:

  • flex-start: Items are packed towards the start of the container.
  • flex-end: Items are packed towards the end of the container.
  • center: Items are centered within the container.
  • space-between: Items are evenly distributed with equal space between them.
  • space-around: Items are evenly distributed with equal space around them.

For example, if you want to center align flex items within a flex container, you would use the following CSS code:

.container {
display: flex;
justify-content: center;

This would ensure that the items inside the container are centered along the main axis, creating a visually pleasing layout.

Example Code

Let’s consider a practical example to illustrate the usage of the “justify-content” property. Suppose you have a navigation bar with multiple menu items that you want to evenly space out along the main axis. You can achieve this by applying the following CSS code:

.navbar {
display: flex;
justify-content: space-between;
.menu-item {
padding: 10px;

In this example, the “justify-content: space-between;” property ensures that the menu items are evenly distributed with equal space between them, creating a balanced and organized layout for the navigation bar.

Align Items


Align items in CSS is a powerful tool that allows you to control the alignment of flex items within a flex container. The main purpose of the align-items property is to specify how flex items are aligned along the cross axis of the flex container. This means that you can control whether the items are aligned at the top, bottom, center, or stretched to fill the container.

Differences from Justify Content

While justify-content controls the alignment of flex items along the main axis of the flex container, align-items focuses on the cross axis alignment. In other words, justify-content aligns items horizontally, while align-items aligns items vertically. This distinction is important when you want to control the vertical alignment of items within a flex container.

Common Use Cases

There are several common use cases for the align-items property in CSS. One common use case is to vertically center items within a flex container. By setting align-items: center, you can easily center items both horizontally and vertically within the container. Another use case is to align items at the start or end of the container using align-items: flex-start or align-items: flex-end, respectively.

Overall, align-items is a versatile CSS property that gives you fine control over the vertical alignment of flex items within a flex container. By understanding its purpose, differences from justify-content, and common use cases, you can effectively use align-items to create beautifully aligned layouts in your web projects.

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