nth-child and nth-last-child – DEV Community

Have you ever ever needed to use kinds to sure baby components in your HTML however not others?

The nth-child and nth-last-child could also be precisely the CSS selectors that you just want!

What do they do?

These selectors make it potential so that you can apply kinds to particular kids components. Each of those selectors mean you can iterate over the kid components of a component and apply kinds to any of them that match the argument you cross them.

Which one ought to I select?

There’s one key distinction between the 2: the order by which they rely the kid components.

nth-child: This selector applies kinds to the checklist of youngsters, beginning with the first baby aspect till it reaches the final one.

nth-last-child: This selector behaves the identical means, with the one distinction being that it begins with the final baby aspect and iterating till it reaches the primary aspect.

What arguments are you able to cross these selectors?

You may cross a couple of several types of arguments to every of the selectors.

  • a constructive integer – nth-child(3) and nth-last-child(3)
  • odd/evennth-child(odd) and nth-last-child(odd)
  • a mathematical expression within the type of an+bnth-child(an+b) and nth-last-child(an+b) (e.g. 2n-3).

Every of them take this mathematical expression that you just present and, beginning with n=0 and growing it by 1 because it iterates, returns an inventory of aspect indices (or positions within the kids “array”) that it ought to apply to.

Let’s take a look at some examples and evaluate how every expression impacts the weather for each nth-child and nth-last-child side-by-side.


We’ll have 1 dad or mum aspect and 10 baby components to begin (all outlined containers with no background colour), like this:

<div class="dad or mum">
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
  <div class="baby"></div>
Enter fullscreen mode

Exit fullscreen mode

.dad or mum {
  show: flex;
  flex-direction: row;
  flex-wrap: wrap;

.dad or mum div:nth-child(n+5) {
  background-color: blue;
  colour: white;

.baby {
  width: 30px;
  top: 30px;
  margin: 10px;
  border: 1px strong black;
  show: flex;
  align-items: heart;
  justify-content: heart;
Enter fullscreen mode

Exit fullscreen mode

For the sections beneath, any of the kids that get chosen will get background-color: blue.

To observe alongside and apply the values your self, you should utilize this as a template.


That is probably the most easy instance, since we’re particularly selecting a sure aspect. No actual “math” will get completed right here, we’re simply selecting “the third baby aspect from whichever finish the selector begins on”.


Image description


Image description


Each time the place of aspect is even, apply the kinds!


Image description


Image description


And equally, every time the place of the aspect is odd, apply the kinds.


Image description


Image description


Let’s begin utilizing n. That is the place issues get a little bit math-involved.

  • The iterator begins at n=0 and the worth of the expression n when n=0 is simply 0. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as a “aspect 0”, so no kinds get utilized.
  • The iterator will increase to n=1. The worth of the expression n when n=1 is 1. So it’ll apply the outlined kinds to the first aspect.
  • When n=2, the worth of the expression n is 2, so the 2nd aspect additionally will get kinds utilized.

As proven beneath, that is the case for each baby aspect since n simply continues to constructive infinity, so kinds will likely be utilized to all baby components, no matter what number of you add.


Image description


Image description


It is a slight variation from the one above, however all components nonetheless get the kinds utilized. It is because when n=0 the worth of n+1 turns into 1, that means that the model will get utilized to the first baby, as proven beneath.


Image description


Image description


That is the place we’ll begin to see some variation. When n=0, the worth of n+3 is 3, that means that the primary baby that will get kinds utilized is aspect 3.


Image description


Image description


Much like how n+1 utilized to all components, so does n-1. When n=0, n-1 is -1. When n=1, n-1 is 0. Beginning with n=2, the worth of n-1 is 1 and will increase by 1 every time, so all baby components to infinity will get chosen.


Image description


Image description


Identical to above, n=0 to n=3 all equal to destructive numbers or 0, so no components get chosen. However at n=4 (when n-3 equals 1) and above, all constructive numbers get chosen, so each aspect will get kinds utilized.


Image description


Image description


Let’s add in an a worth! This turns into a multiplier that lets you skip components. When n=0 the worth of 3n is 0, so no aspect will get chosen. However when n=1, the worth of 3n is 3, so the third aspect will get styled utilized. Then the sixth (at n=2) and the ninth (at n=3) and so forth.


Image description


Image description


Now let’s put all of it collectively. If we add +1, it takes the outcomes of the expression 3n that we did above and shifts the aspect the kinds get utilized to.

At n=0, the worth of 3n+1 is 1. At n=1, the worth of 3n+1 is 4.


Image description


Image description


Up to now, we’ve solely completed constructive values of a . What if we make a equal -1?

We noticed that the expression n resulted in all components getting chosen. Inversely, the expression -n leads to no components getting chosen.

When n=0, -n equals 0. When n=1, -n equals -1. When n=2, -n equals -2. And so forth. So no constructive integers will ever get returned, that means no components will ever get chosen.


Image description


Image description


If we add one thing to -n nevertheless, we’ll be capable of choose some components.

At n=0, -n+3 equals 3. At n=1, -n+3 equals 2. At n=2, -n+3 equals 1. However as soon as n=3 or larger, the worth of -n+3 turns into both 0 or destructive, so these gained’t choose any of the kid components.

It is a cool trick as a result of it permits us to say I solely wish to choose the:

  • (within the case of nth-child) first baby components
  • (within the case of nth-last-child ) final baby components


Image description


Image description


What if we subtract from -n? The result’s similar to the expression -n itself, since no values of n will ever lead to -n-3 being constructive. At n=0, -n-3 is -3. At n=1, -n-3 is -4. And so forth.


Image description


Image description


Let’s return to including to -n but additionally add a multiplier. This may allow us to use that very same sample of “solely the primary x components within the checklist”, however permit us to skip over some between them.

At n=0, -2n+6 equals 6, so the sixth aspect will get chosen. At n=1, -2n+6 equals 4. At n=2, -2n+6 equals 2. When you hit n=3, the worth of the expression is 0 after which following values are destructive. So this turns into an efficient solution to say “For the primary x kinds within the checklist, apply kinds to each different one.”


Image description


Image description


The necessary factor to recollect when fascinated about nth-child vs nth-last-child is that given the identical expression (e.g. 2n+3), the selectors will act very equally. As you noticed from every of the examples above, the photographs are mainly mirrored variations of one another.

The one distinction is whether or not they apply kinds from the start (nth-child) of the checklist of kid components or the tip (nth-last-child).

To study extra about these selectors with deeper technical explanations, see the w3 documentation.

Thanks for studying, and let me know if in case you have any questions within the feedback!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *