Bourbon Neat

Gem Version Code Climate

Neat is an open source fluid grid framework built on top of Bourbon with the aim of being easy enough to use out of the box and flexible enough to customize down the road.


  • Sass 3.2+

  • Bourbon 2.1+

Install Instructions

Install/update the dependencies first:

gem install sass #or gem update sass
gem install bourbon #or gem update bourbon

Install Neat:

gem install neat

Then cd to your Sass directory and run:

bourbon install #If not installed
neat install

In your main stylesheet:

@import "bourbon/bourbon";
@import "neat/neat";

To update Neat files, run:

neat update

and to remove them:

neat remove

Ruby on Rails

In your Gemfile:

gem 'neat'

After running bundle install you will be able to use Bourbon and Neat together.

If you see this error Bundler could not find compatible versions for gem "sass" run:

bundle update sass

Within your application.css.scss file place the following:

@import "bourbon";
@import "neat";

Getting started

First off, if you are planning to override the default grid settings (12 columns), it is recommended to create a _grid-settings.scss file for that purpose. Make sure to import it right before importing Neat:

@import "bourbon/bourbon"; // or "bourbon" when in Rails
@import "grid-settings";
@import "neat/neat"; // or "neat" when in Rails

In your newly created _grid-settings.scss, import neat-helpers if you are planning to use new-breakpoint(), then define your new variables:

@import "neat/neat-helpers"; // or "neat-helpers" when in Rails

// Change the grid settings
$column: 90px;
$gutter: 30px;
$grid-columns: 10;
$max-width: em(1088);

// Define your breakpoints
$tablet: new-breakpoint(max-width 768px 8);
$mobile: new-breakpoint(max-width 480px 4);

See the docs for a full list of settings.

Next, include the outer-container mixin in the topmost container (to which the max-width setting will be applied):

div.container {
  @include outer-container;

Then use span-columns on any element to specify the number of columns it should span:

div.element {
  @include span-columns(6);

If the element’s parent isn’t the top-most container, you need to add the number of columns of the parent element to keep the right proportions:

div.container {
  @include outer-container;
  div.parent-element {
    @include span-columns(8);
    div.element {
      @include span-columns(6 of 8);

To make your layout responsive, use the media() mixin to modify both the grid and the layout:

.my-class {
  @include media($mobile) { // As defined in _grid-settings.scss
    @include span-columns(2);

// Compiled CSS
@media screen and (max-width: 480px) {
  .my-class {
    display: block;
    float: left;
    margin-right: 7.42297%;
    width: 46.28851%; // 2 columns of the total 4 in this media context
  .my-class:last-child {
    margin-right: 0;

By setting $visual-grid to true, you can display the base grid in the background (default) or as an overlay. You can even change the color and opacity of the grid-lines by overriding the default settings as detailed in the section below. Keep in mind that on Webkit, rounding errors in the fluid grid might result in the overlay being few pixels off.

The visual grid reflects the changes applied to the grid via the new-breakpoint() mixin, as long as the media contexts are defined before importing Neat.

Browser support

  • Firefox 3.5+

  • Safari 4.0+

  • Chrome 4.0+

  • Opera 9.5+

  • IE 9+ (Visual grid is IE10 only)

  • IE 8 with selectivizr (no media() support)

Credits & License


Bourbon is maintained and funded by thoughtbot, inc. Follow @thoughtbot on Twitter.

Bourbon Neat is Copyright © 2012-2014 thoughtbot. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.