Vertical Stack plugin for jQuery
Latest commit 10533b7 Dec 1, 2012 @matb33 Resolved conflicts

jQuery Vertical Stacking plugin for jQuery

Allows elements to stack against each other when scrolling by leveraging position: fixed. Useful for complex scenarios involving sticky elements (such as sticky navs). You can have elements stack against each other, while having other elements continue to flow normally.

See this test page for example usage. Peek under the hood by viewing the HTML source. Look for the data-vstack attribute (these specify selectors).

Setting up the stacking elements

Here is a simple self-descriptive example of some markup. The idea is that only the first and last divs will be part of our "stack". When scrolling down, the middle div will disappear underneath the first div and then off-screen. When scrolling back up, all elements will return back to their original positions.

<body style="min-height: 2000px;">
	<div id="test1" style="margin-bottom: 50px;" data-vstack="body">
		<p>This is an element that will stack against the top of the viewport.</p>
	<div id="test2" style="margin-bottom: 50px;">
		<p>This element is 50px below the first element, and will continue to scroll off screen.</p>
	<div id="test3" data-vstack="#test1">
		<p>This element is 50px below the second element, but will stack against the first element.</p>

In this example, I've set the minimum height of the body to 2000px so as to allow us to scroll down and see the stacking effect taking place, despite there being very little content.

The selectors you specify in the data-vstack attribute are the elements with which this particular element will "stack" against. The special case of body or an empty string means that this element will stack against the top of the viewport.

So to summarize, when scrolling down, the first div (test1) will stack against the top, the second div (test2) will pass underneath test1 and eventually off-screen, and the last div (test3) will stack against test1.

As you scroll back up, the stacking is undone and all elements return to their original positions.

Activating the plugin

Include the script after you've included jQuery:

<script type="text/javascript" src="jquery.vertical-stack.js"></script>

On document ready, fire up the plugin, much like any other jQuery plugin:

jQuery(document).ready(function ($) {

Configuring the plugin

The plugin does take a few options, but for the most part can be left as-is. They are specified in the standard way for jQuery plugins, which is through a single object:

  • enabledClass: default is vstack-enabled
  • stackedClass: default is vstack-stacked
  • placeholderClass: default is vstack-placeholder
  • dataAttribute: default is data-vstack
  • removeIDAttributeFromPlaceholder: default is true

The various *Class properties are added depending on the current state of each element:

  • The value of enabledClass is added as a class to each element that has the attribute specified in dataAttribute (usually data-vstack), as soon as the plugin is activated;

  • The value of stackedClass is added as a class to each element that is currently "stacked", i.e. has switched to position: fixed and is stacked up against another element;

  • The value of placeholderClass is added as a class to each element that has been cloned and put in place of the original element that is now "stacked". This hidden placeholder element is necessary to maintain the placement of neighbouring elements that are still in the normal page flow;

  • The value of dataAttribute is customizable in case data-vstack doesn't float your boat;

  • The boolean removeIDAttributeFromPlaceholder will remove any id attributes on the placeholder (which is a clone of the stacked element). You really shouldn't have two elements with the same id, even for an invisible placeholder, so this helps keep this clean.


  • This is a very early version, and hasn't been tested in many scenarios. It works for the cases I've put it through, but I have no idea how it will behave when markup and CSS get a little more complicated. If you fix bugs, please do send me pull requests.

  • Unfortunately this doesn't look great on the iPhone/iPad because their onscroll events only fire after the scroll motion has completely stopped. The elements end up getting stacked correctly, but the stacking occurs instantly instead of incrementally. If you find a way around this, let me know! I tried a setInterval technique, but scrollTop doesn't update until the onscroll event fires.


Let me know if you use this plug-in! That would help me get motivated to elaborate on the documentation.