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Media queries for responsive layouts

In today's mobile-first era, creating responsive designs has become essential for a successful website. With the tremendous increase in the number of devices and screen sizes, using media queries in CSS allows us to adapt our layouts to fit any screen or device. Media queries are a powerful tool that gives us the ability to apply different styles based on the characteristics of the viewing device.

What are media queries?

Media queries are a feature in CSS that enable us to apply different styles based on a device's characteristics, such as screen size, orientation, resolution, and many more. They allow us to create responsive layouts that dynamically adjust to different devices, ensuring optimal user experience.


The basic syntax for a media query is as follows:

@media media_type and (media_feature: value) {
    /* CSS rules to be applied */
  • @media: This is the keyword to start a media query.
  • media_type: This defines the type of media the query is targeting, most commonly screen, print, speech, or all.
  • media_feature: This defines the specific characteristic we want to apply styles based on, such as width, height, orientation, aspect-ratio, etc.
  • value: This specifies the value of the media feature.

Using media queries for responsive layouts

Media queries are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to create responsive layouts. Here are a few examples:

Responsive breakpoints

One common use of media queries is to define breakpoints at specific screen sizes. This allows us to change the layout or style of our website when the screen size crosses a certain threshold. For example:

/* CSS for screens smaller than 768px */
@media screen and (max-width: 767px) {
    /* CSS rules for small screens */

/* CSS for screens larger than or equal to 768px */
@media screen and (min-width: 768px) {
    /* CSS rules for larger screens */

Device orientation

Media queries can also detect the orientation of a device, allowing us to adjust our layout accordingly. For instance:

/* CSS for landscape orientation */
@media screen and (orientation: landscape) {
    /* CSS rules for landscape */

/* CSS for portrait orientation */
@media screen and (orientation: portrait) {
    /* CSS rules for portrait */

High-resolution screens

Media queries can be used to target devices with high-resolution screens, such as Retina displays. Here's an example:

/* CSS for devices with a pixel density greater than 1.5 */
@media screen and (min-resolution: 144dpi) {
    /* CSS rules for high-resolution screens */

Media queries are not limited to screen-based devices. They can also be used to define specific styles when printing a document. For example:

/* CSS for print styles */
@media print {
    /* CSS rules for printing */


Media queries are a powerful tool in CSS that allow us to create responsive layouts which adapt to the characteristics of the viewing device. By using media queries, we can ensure that our websites look great on any screen or device, improving user experience and accessibility. So, let's embrace the capabilities of media queries and create flexible and responsive designs for the modern web!

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