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Be a Better UI Engineer: Selectively Exclude CSS Styles

Fine grained control over your styles in 3 steps

Correcting the styles. Before and after.

The Problem

I wanted to increase the sizes of the images in my personal site’s projects page. So I wrote some styles in globals.css, and applied it to the parent node that contains the content.

This style applies to all images within elements with the classes .prose and .project.

.prose.project img {
 @apply max-w-none rounded-md border border-secondary bg-tertiary md:rounded-lg lg:-ml-16 lg:w-[calc(100%+128px)];
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The problem arises with this dynamic classlg:w-[calc(100%+128px)]. It adds 128 pixels to 100% of the parent element’s width. This is a common technique in CSS for achieving responsive and dynamic layouts.

This made the images in one of my custom MDX components to blow out of proportions.

See the red NPM logo image that’s out of proportion.

I don’t want this global style to be applied. How do I go about excluding it?

The Solution

The key to solving this problem lies in understanding how CSS selectors work and how to leverage them to target specific elements. In our case, we want to exclude the global style from one specific element.

Step 1: Add a Custom Class to the component

First, add a custom class to the element/component where you don’t want the global style to be applied. For example, you can add a class named .no-prose-style.

 className="project prose animate-in no-prose-style"
 style={{ "--index": 2 } as React.CSSProperties}
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Step 2: Define the Override Styles in CSS

Next, define the styles you want to override or reset for the .no-prose-style class in your CSS. You can reset the properties to their default values or set them to something else as needed.

In my case, the problem revolved around images blowing out of proportions in my custom component. Hence, I set the width on large screens to be 100% with a Tailwind utility class.

Image description
The the class to override the prose project style

.no-prose-style img {
  @apply lg:w-full;
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The result:

The red NPM logo looks great now!

In conclusion, by understanding CSS selectors and utilizing targeted overrides, we can maintain fine-grained control over our styles in Tailwind CSS. With just a few simple steps, we can exclude global styles from specific elements, ensuring a more tailored and cohesive design across our projects.


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