Getting started with Tailwind CSS in Next.js

Photo by Markus Spiske

Getting started with Tailwind CSS in Next.js

Posted on 27th June 2020

Last updated on 12th April 2021

4 min read

0 views

Tailwind CSS is an awesome CSS framework. It gives us enough styling options without being too opinionated. Lately I’ve being using it along with Next.js. In this post I’ll show how to setup a Next.js project with Tailwind CSS.

Setting up the Next.js project

Start with initializing a project.

yarn init --yes

Then install the React and Next.js dependencies.

yarn add react react-dom next

Next add the following scripts in package.json.

package.json

{
  "scripts": {
    "dev": "next",
    "build": "next build",
    "start": "next start"
  }
}

After that let’s create a layout component to wrap all our components in all the pages. Create the src folder. In it create another folder called components and in it create Layout.js.

src/components/Layout.js

const Layout = ({ children }) => {
  return (
    <div>
      <main>{children}</main>
    </div>
  );
};

export default Layout;

Next let’s create the index page in out application. In the project root create the pages folder and in it create index.js.

pages/index.js

import Layout from "../src/components/Layout";

const Index = () => {
  return (
    <Layout>
      <h1>Next.js Tailwind CSS starter</h1>
    </Layout>
  );
};

export default Index;

To start the development server just run the dev script.

yarn dev

When you http://localhost:3000/ in your browser you see the following.

Next.js Project

Adding Tailwind CSS

First install Tailwind CSS as a dev dependency.

yarn add tailwindcss postcss autoprefixer -D

Next we need to create the Tailwind the config file. We can create a minimal config file with the following command.

npx tailwindcss init -p

Since Tailwind CSS has thousands of CSS classes the CSS file will end up very big.

Tailwind CSS size

Since we will will rarely use the all classes, we should specify which classes to include the final CSS file. Fortunately Tailwind CSS has a built in PurgeCSS tool which can be used to remove all unused classes.

In the tailwind.config.js add all the React component files in the purge property. In our case we will add all files in the pages and components folders.

tailwind.config.js

module.exports = {
  purge: ["./pages/**/*.js", "./src/components/**/*.js"],
  darkMode: false,
  theme: {
    extend: {},
  },
  variants: {
    extend: {},
  },
  plugins: [],
};

Since Tailwind CSS generates a lot of classes by default, running the application in development mode can be quite slow especially when trying to use DevTools.

To help with this we can use the Just-in-Time Mode. To enable it we just need to add it to the tailwind.config.js file.

tailwind.config.js

module.exports = {
  mode: "jit",
  purge: ["./pages/**/*.js", "./src/components/**/*.js"],
  darkMode: false,
  theme: {
    extend: {},
  },
  variants: {
    extend: {},
  },
  plugins: [],
};

Finally we need to import Tailwind CSS to our application. In Next.js we have to do it in the _app.js file.

Create the _app.js file in the pages folder and directly import the CSS file.

pages/_app.js

import 'tailwindcss/tailwind.css'

const MyApp = ({ Component, pageProps }) => {
  return <Component {...pageProps} />;
};

export default MyApp;

Conclusion

That’s all you need to do to start using Tailwind CSS in your Next.js project. You can style your components by adding the classes in the className prop.

For example, we can style the title in the index page like this.

pages/index.js

import Layout from "../src/components/Layout";

const Index = () => {
  return (
    <Layout>
      <h1 className="text-6xl font-semibold italic">
        Next.js Tailwind CSS starter
      </h1>
    </Layout>
  );
};

export default Index;
Title styling

We can center all the content by adding some classes to the Layout component.

pages/index.js

const Layout = ({ children }) => {
  return (
    <div>
      <main className="container mx-auto">{children}</main>
    </div>
  );
};

export default Layout;
Layout styling