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Flexible Formtastic styling with Sass
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Formtastic Sass Mixins

A few simple, yet powerful macros that add flexible styling to your formtastic forms.


First we will need to install Haml — Yes even you ERB enthusiasts who wont drink the Haml-Aid need to get on the Sass track if you are serious about productivity and DRYness. Sass kicks ass!

  gem install haml
  cd my_rails_app
  haml --rails

1. Set up a master Sass file and include it in your layout
2. Drop this file in the same directory as your master.sass
3. Include this file at the top of that sheet with:

  @import formtastic_base.sass

If you haven’t already, you should also install Formtastic

Done! Are you ready to churn out beautiful forms in SECONDS?

Let’s rock…

Basic Usage

Once you have created semantic forms with formtastic, you can use the default style like this:


Finished! Wow, that was tough – go take a coffee break and come back later :D


Can be modified in formtastic_base:

Set width of entire fieldset


Set label widths and hint/error left margins


Set width of inputs, textareas and selects


Set horizontal padding for labels


Set text alignment of labels (Must be either “left” or “right”)


Note: Do not mix units (em px %) as it will break the calculations.

Percentages will yield elastic forms.

As for other defaults (color, fonts, etc), the file is well-commented

The Magic

In order to set the basic layout, you don’t need to even touch the defaults.



Note: It’s good to give your form !total_width a little leeway (add 10px or 5% minimum)

Alternative Inline Order

You can align labels with error messages so they read like sentences.

Create formtastic.rb in config/initializers and add this:

Formtastic::SemanticFormBuilder.inline_order = [:errors, :input, :hints]

This is best used with right-aligned labels


You will need to provide a margin-top value to align labels with error messages, trial and error is your friend here:



Thanks to the misbehavior of legend tags, a tweaks is needed for Safari. Just set a pixel or em width on the legend’s span like this


Internet Explorer is not yet supported. Patches are welcome.


Overall this is still very alpha so please test across browsers before using in production.


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