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Using vh with calc In CSS

by Aaron Crowder on in CSS

I often have need to build layout’s that vary depending on the content put in them. I can’t always count on that content being the same (cough CMSs cough). It’s just one of those things you have to do.

One thing I’m having to do a lot though, is making the body of a page take up a certain amount of space so that the footer doesn’t look weird. In the past I’ve used JavaScript to make the footer take up the remaining space on the page if the content didn’t take up enough. I never really liked that solution though, because it breaks if the user turns off JavaScript.

Today I wanted to share with you two CSS things, that when combined solve my particular problem, and might just solve yours too.


Equal to 1% of the height of the initial containing block.

from w3.org

This gives us the height of the page, which we’re going to need to calculate how much space the main content area of the page should take up.


With calc(), you can perform calculations to determine CSS property values.

from MDN

This allows us to perform mathematical calculations and set a property to the result. This, combined with vh gives us a lot of power!

My Solution

In order to ensure that the body of a site I’m working on is always taking up at least enough to completely fill the page. I have a couple of things on the page that are fixed height (header and footer). I take the aggregate height of them and subtract that from 100vh (100% of the viewport height), like so:

#body {
  min-height: calc(100vh - 405px);

Now #body is going to be at least the height of 100vh - 405px!

This is just one use-case. I’m sure there are tons of others! What are you using calc and vh for in your projects?