Bootstrap spacing

Note: This documentation is for an older version of Bootstrap (v.4). A newer version is available for Bootstrap 5. We recommend migrating to the latest version of our product - Material Design for Bootstrap 5.
Go to docs v.5

Bootstrap includes a wide range of shorthand responsive margin and padding utility classes to modify an element’s appearance.

You can easily assign responsive-friendly margin or padding values to an element or a subset of its sides with shorthand classes. They include support for individual properties, all properties, and vertical and horizontal properties. Classes are built from a default Sass map ranging from .25rem to 3rem.


Spacing utilities that apply to all breakpoints, from xs to xl, have no breakpoint abbreviation in them. This is because those classes are applied from min-width: 0 and up, and thus are not bound by a media query. The remaining breakpoints, however, do include a breakpoint abbreviation.

The classes are named using the format {property}{sides}-{size} for xs and {property}{sides}-{breakpoint}-{size} for sm, md, lg, and xl.

Where property is one of:

  • m - for classes that set margin
  • p - for classes that set padding

Where sides is one of:

  • t - for classes that set margin-top or padding-top
  • b - for classes that set margin-bottom or padding-bottom
  • l - for classes that set margin-left or padding-left
  • r - for classes that set margin-right or padding-right
  • x - for classes that set both *-left and *-right
  • y - for classes that set both *-top and *-bottom
  • blank - for classes that set a margin or padding on all 4 sides of the element

Where breakpoint is one of:

  • sm
  • md
  • lg
  • xl

Where size is one of:

  • 0 - for classes that eliminate the margin or padding by setting it to 0
  • 1 - (by default) for classes that set the margin or padding to $spacer-x * .25 or $spacer-y * .25
  • 2 - (by default) for classes that set the margin or padding to $spacer-x * .5 or $spacer-y * .5
  • 3 - (by default) for classes that set the margin or padding to $spacer-x or $spacer-y
  • 4 - (by default) for classes that set the margin or padding to $spacer-x * 1.5 or $spacer-y * 1.5
  • 5 - (by default) for classes that set the margin or padding to $spacer-x * 3 or $spacer-y * 3
(You can add more sizes by adding entries to the $spacers Sass map variable.)


Here are some representative examples of these classes:


        .mt-0 {
          margin-top: 0 !important;

        .ml-1 {
          margin-left: ($spacer-x * .25) !important;

        .px-2 {
          padding-left: ($spacer-x * .5) !important;
          padding-right: ($spacer-x * .5) !important;

        .p-3 {
          padding: $spacer-y $spacer-x !important;


Responsive spacing

The above - mentioned notation includes the breakpoint value and as such allows us to apply spacing responsively. It also means that you can make conditional the spacing of elements depending on the type of display used — similarly to the logic found in display property.

Let's say you want to prepare a fully responsive navbar. Some elements within may require setting them a bit further apart by applying additional margin — with .ml-3, for example. All looks good while the containing element stays horizontal, but once the viewport gets narrower and the .nav-items align vertically, the spacing utility used becomes obsolete (as the item is pushed to the right and stands out). The solution here is setting a responsive spacing utility — one that appears only when you really want it to.

Consider the table below:

Screen Size Class
Appears on all .ml-3
Appears only on xs .ml-3 .ml-sm-0
Appears only on sm .ml-sm-3 .ml-md-0
Appears only on md .ml-md-3 .ml-lg-0
Appears only on lg .ml-lg-3 .d-xl-0
Appears only on xl .ml-xl-3

This is a regularly spaced paraph.

And this one has left margin visible on xs, sm and md displays.


        <p>This is a regularly spaced paraph.</p>
        <p class="ml-5 ml-lg-0">And this one has left margin visible on xs, sm and md displays.</p>


Horizontal centering

Additionally, Bootstrap also includes an .mx-auto class for horizontally centering fixed-width block level content — that is, content that has a display: block and a width set — by setting the horizontal margins to auto.


        <div class="mx-auto" style="width: 200px; background-color: rgba(86,61,124,.15);">
          Centered element


Negative margin

In CSS, margin properties can utilize negative values (padding cannot). As of 4.2, we’ve added negative margin utilities for every non-zero integer size listed above (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). These utilities are ideal for customizing grid column gutters across breakpoints.

The syntax is nearly the same as the default, positive margin utilities, but with the addition of n before the requested size. Here’s an example class that’s the opposite of .mt-1:


        .mt-n1 {
          margin-top: -0.25rem !important;


Here’s an example of customizing the Bootstrap grid at the medium (md) breakpoint and above. We’ve increased the .col padding with .px-md-5 and then counteracted that with .mx-md-n5 on the parent .row.

Custom column padding
Custom column padding
          <div class="row mx-md-n5">
            <div class="col py-3 px-md-5 bordered col-example">Custom column padding</div>
            <div class="col py-3 px-md-5 bordered col-example">Custom column padding</div>