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A very quick and efficient syntax for Breakpoint
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an egg slicer

Breakpoint Slicer Gem Version

Slice media queries with no effort

Along with Respond To, Breakpoint Slicer is an alternative syntax for Breakpoint. It offers a powerful yet very simple way to slice your media queries.

Just list your breakpoints and Breakpoint Slicer will magically turn them into slices. You can address them with their sequence numbers:

$slicer-breakpoints:        0        400px       600px      800px        1050px

//                          └────┬────┘ └────┬────┘ └────┬────┘ └────┬────┘ └────┬────
// Slice numbers:                1           2           3           4           5

// Set a media query
@include at(3) {
  // Styles inside here will be applied when
  // browser window width is somewhere between 600px and 800px


Imagine the breakpoints of your site on a scale:

 Breakpoint:   0                 400px     600px     800px       1050px

See those spans between breakpoints? Let's name them "slices".

Breakpoint Slicer numbers the slices sequentially:

 Breakpoint:   0                 400px     600px     800px       1050px
 Slice #:                1              2         3          4          5

The goal of Breakpoint Slicer is to let you quickly set breakpoints using these numbers instead of px/em values.

Enter the mixins

Breakpoint Slicer offers four handy mixins that let you set breakpoint ranges easily: at, from, to and between:

Styles under at(3) are applied when browser window width is inside the 3rd slice.

Styles under from(3) are applied when browser window width is inside the 3rd slice or larger.

Styles under to(3) are applied when browser window width is inside the 3rd slice or smaller.

Styles under between(2,4) are applied when browser window width is inside the 2nd, 4rd slice or any slice between the two (if any).

 Breakpoint:   0                 400px     600px     800px       1050px
 Slice #:                1         ·    2         3          4     ·    5
               ·                   ·         ·         ·           ·
               ·                   ·         ·  at(3)  ·           ·
               ·                   ·         ├─────────┤           ·
               ·                   ·         ·         ·           ·
               ·                   ·         · from(3) ·           ·
               ·                   ·         ├───────────────────────────────>
               ·                   ·                   ·           ·
               ·                   ·            to(3)  ·           ·
               ├───────────────────────────────────────┤           ·
                                   ·                               ·
                                   ·         between(2, 4)         ·

Note that the max-width of your site's container should be somewhere in the fifth slice.

Comparison between Breakpoint Slicer and vanilla Breakpoint

Slicer usage Breakpoint equivalent The resulting media query
at(2) breakpoint(401px 600px) (min-width: 401px) and (max-width: 600px)
from(2) breakpoint(401px) (min-width: 401px)
to(2) breakpoint(max-width 600px) (max-width: 600px)
between(2, 4) breakpoint(401px 1050px) (min-width: 401px) and (max-width: 1050px)

Edge cases

Note that the last slice does not have a right edge. When it is invoked, the media query will have no max-width value.

Some mixins become synonomous when used for the last slice:

 Breakpoint:   0                 400px     600px     800px       1050px
 Slice #:                1         ·    2         3          4     ·    5
                                   ·                               ·
                                   ·                               ·  at(5)
                                   ·                               ├─────────>
                                   ·                               ·
                                   ·                               · from(5)
                                   ·                               ├─────────>
                                   ·                  from(2)
                                   ·               between(2, 5)

…and some become meaningless (in these cases media query is omitted):

 Breakpoint:   0                 400px     600px     800px       1050px
 Slice #:      ·         1              2         3          4          5
               ·                                                      to(5)
               ·      from(1)


There's a small page testing Breakpoint Slicer in action:

The code behind the demo page resides here:



Breakpoint Slicer can be installed as any other Compass extension. Requires Bundler.


gem 'breakpoint'
gem 'breakpoint-slicer'


require 'breakpoint'
require 'breakpoint-slicer'


npm install --save-dev breakpoint-sass breakpoint-slicer


No idea! I'm not using Eyeglass yet. I've added an Eyeglass config, please check out if it's working and report here.



Import breakpoint and breakpoint-slicer:

@import 'breakpoint'; // or 'breakpoint-sass' when using npm
@import 'breakpoint-slicer';

Note: depending on your environment, the path to libraries may be different. You might also need to adjust you Sass import paths.

Then list your breakpoints in the $slicer-breakpoints variable:

$slicer-breakpoints: 0 400px 600px 800px 1050px;

If you don't do that, defaults are used (these were the defaults).

Basic usage

Then you can use Breakpoint Slicer's mixins the same way as you use the Breakpoint mixins:

.element {
  @include at(2) {
    // Code from this block will only be applied to .element
    // when browser window width is between 400px and 600px.
    background-color: red;
    // This is a mixin from Singularity
    @include grid-span(2, 4); } }

Creating a responsive grid

With Breakpoint Slicer you can easily cycle through slices and apply column spans accordingly. The example below makes use of Susy v1.

$slicer-breakpoints: 0 400px 600px 800px 1050px;
$amount-of-slices:   length($slicer-breakpoints);

// Say we have a grid of thumbnails and we position them with nth-child
.thumbnail {
  // Cycling through all slices
  @for $i from 1 through $amount-of-slices {

    // Setting a media query for each slice
    @at($i) {

      // Using the Susy grid framework
      @include span-columns(1, $context: $i); // Set the number of columns equal to the slice number
                                              // and make each thumbnail one column wide.
      @include nth-omega(#{$i}n); }}}

Leveraging Singularity

Singularity is the most modern and versatile SASS grid system. It requires breakpoints to be provided individually.

Breakpoint Slicer offers a function bp() that returns the left breakpoint of a slice asked for. E. g. bp(2) would return 600px. Effectively, bp() is a shortcut for nth().

// Define breakpoints in a Slicer list
$slicer-breakpoints: 0 400px 600px 800px 1050px;

// Define Singularity responsive grids
$grids: 3;
$grids: add-grid(6         at bp(2));
$grids: add-grid(12        at bp(3));
$grids: add-grid(2 8 2     at bp(4));
$grids: add-grid(1 3 5 7 9 at bp(5));

It's very convenient to set the number of Singularity columns equal to the number of slices:

$slicer-breakpoints: 0 400px 600px 800px 1050px;

$grids: 1;
@for $i from 2 through total-slices() {
  $grids: add-grid($i at bp($i)); }

Using the no-query fallback

Breakpoint Slicer supports the Breakpoint's no-query fallback. Just set the $breakpoint-no-query-wrappers variable to true and provide a fallback class as an argument to any Breakpoint Slicer mixin:

$breakpoint-no-query-wrappers:  true

  +at(2, .touch)
    color: red


@media (min-width: 400px) and (max-width: 600px) {
  .element {
    color: red; } }

.touch .element {
  color: red; }

Preventing slices from overlapping

New in 1.2 (2013-06-20)

Breakpoint Slicer used to produce overlapping media queries, e. g. 400px—600px and 600px—800px overlap at 600px.

To prevent this, the $slicer-anti-overlap-corrections configuration variable was introduced:

  • If it's set to 1px, the left edge of each slice will be incremented by 1px, e. g. 401px—600px and 601px—800px.
  • If it's set to -1px, the right edge of each slice will be decremented by 1px, e. g. 400px—599px and 600px—799px.

The value of 1 is optimal for pixels but may be inappropriate for relative units like ems: a 1em-wide gap between slices might render you site unstyled at certain screen widths.

If you want anti-overlapping for units other than px, you can add them to $slicer-anti-overlap-corrections like this:

$slicer-anti-overlap-corrections: 1px, -0.1em, -0.1rem

Keep in mind that using an overlap correction for relative values will most likely result in a gap instead of an overlap. This could be resolved by taking base font size into consideration and calculating a correction that would be equal to 1px, but Breakpoint Slicer is not yet capable of that.

The default value for $slicer-anti-overlap-corrections is 1px.

Calling slices by names rather than numbers

New in 1.3 (2014-06-02)

If you find it hard to remember your slices by there numerical ids, you can name them by setting the $slicer-breakpoint-names variable.

The variable should contain a Sass list, each item referencing a slice (not breakpoint!):

$slicer-breakpoints:        0        400px       600px      800px        1050px

//                          └────┬────┘ └────┬────┘ └────┬────┘ └────┬────┘ └────┬────
// Slice numbers:                1           2           3           4           5
$slicer-breakpoint-names:       'xs'        's'         'm'         'l'         'xl'

Then you can use slice names instead of numbers in Breakpoint Slicer mixins: at('m'), between('s', 'l'), etc.

Actually, using slice names is recommended as it saves you a lot of pain when editing slices in a mature project. Previously, if you modified the list of slices, you'd also have to edit most of mixin calls. But if use slice names in the first place, you can easily adjust their definitions ($slicer-breakpoint-names) when you edit the list of slices ($slicer-breakpoints) -- and you won't need to modify all your mixin calls.

New in 1.3.5 (2014-10-31)

There are next-slice() and prev-slice() helper functions that will return next and previous slice numbers for given slices.

E. g. if slice 2 is named 's', then next-slice('s') will return 3.

Using Breakpoint Slicer together with vanilla Breakpoint or Respond To

Breakpoint Slicer only works with min/max width. When you need some other media queries like media types, resolution, orientation, etc, just use Breakpoint in a conventional way. Breakpoint Slicer won't interfere.

You can even have different sets of min/max widths defined with Breakpoint Slicer and Respond To (or vanilla Breakpoint).

Breakpoint Slicer does not support nesting its mixins inside Breakpoint mixins.


The initial idea of Breakpoint Slicer came when i (Andrey Mikhaylov aka lolmaus) got to know Susy and learned that the number of columns in a grid can be different for different browser widths. Susy gave me an idea that it's convenient to have breakpoints listed sequentially and for each breakpoint the number of columns is set equal to that breakpoint's number in the list.

This Compass extension was made possible with kind support from Eric Meyer, Sam Richard aka Snugug and Scott Kellum.


Licensed under MIT/GPL.

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