Bootstrap: Understanding Grid System


Bootstrap is a 12 column grid, but you can put more than 12 columns in a row. The remaining columns will simply wrap onto the next line below, depending on the viewport. Think of the grid layout more in terms of a different grid for every size, lg, md, sm, and xs (or break points to be specific) that use the same markup.

Rows must be placed within a .container (fixed-width) or .container-fluid (full-width) for proper alignment and padding.

  • Use rows to create horizontal groups of columns.
  • Content should be placed within columns, and only columns may be immediate children of rows.
  • Predefined grid classes like .row and .col-xs-4 are available for quickly making grid layouts. Less mixins can also be used for more semantic layouts.
  • Columns create gutters (gaps between column content) via padding. That padding is offset in rows for the first and last column via negative margin on .rows.
  • The negative margin is why the examples below are outdented. It’s so that content within grid columns is lined up with non-grid content.
  • Grid columns are created by specifying the number of twelve available columns you wish to span. For example, three equal columns would use three .col-xs-4.
  • If more than 12 columns are placed within a single row, each group of extra columns will, as one unit, wrap onto a new line.
  • Grid classes apply to devices with screen widths greater than or equal to the breakpoint sizes, and override grid classes targeted at smaller devices. Therefore, e.g. applying any .col-md-*class to an element will not only affect its styling on medium devices but also on large devices if a .col-lg-* class is not present.