Design tokens

Spacing units

USWDS spacing unit tokens are based on multiples of 8px, with additional tokens for small sizes, named tokens for large sizes, and a more limited selection of negative tokens.

Any spacing value in utilities or component CSS should use the following spacing unit tokens, based on multiples of 8px. The documentation below displays a target value in pixels, but the final output for tokens above 2px and below -2px is the eqivalent value in rem, which will vary depending on your project settings.

Note: Some units tokens come in two flavors: a numeric token (like 0.5 or -2) and a string token (like '05' or 'neg-2'). Utility classes use unquoted string tokens exclusively when they exist (like .margin-x-neg-2). Mixins and functions usually accept either, and we will note any exceptions.

Spacing unit tokens

Token Multiple Value Example
1px 1px
2px 2px
0.5, '05' 0.5 4px
1 1 8px
1.5, '105' 1.5 12px
2 2 16px
2.5, '205' 2.5 20px
3 3 24px
4 4 32px
5 5 40px
6 6 48px
7 7 56px
8 8 64px
9 9 72px
10 10 80px
15 15 120px
'card' 20 160px
'card-lg' 30 240px
'mobile' 40 320px
'mobile-lg' 60 480px
'tablet' 80 640px
'tablet-lg' 110 880px
'desktop' 128 1024px
'desktop-lg' 150 1200px
'widescreen' 175 1400px
-1px, 'neg-1px' -1px
-2px, 'neg-2px' -2px
-0.5, 'neg-05' -0.5 -4px
-1, 'neg-1' -1 -8px
-1.5, 'neg-105' -1.5 -12px
-2, 'neg-2' -2 -16px
-2.5, 'neg-205' -2.5 -20px
-3, 'neg-3' -3 -24px
-4, 'neg-4' -4 -32px
-5, 'neg-5' -5 -40px
-6, 'neg-6' -6 -48px
-7, 'neg-7' -7 -56px
-8, 'neg-8' -8 -64px
-9, 'neg-9' -9 -72px
-10, 'neg-10' -10 -80px
-15, 'neg-15' -15 -120px

Using spacing unit tokens

Your context and coding style determine how you access USWDS spacing unit tokens in code.

Many mixins and utilities accept spacing unit tokens. See the utilities section for more on individual utilities and their matching mixins. We show only a few representative examples below.

Context Usage Example
function units(units) padding-top: units(3);
margin-left: units(-2px);
border-radius: units(0.5);
min-height: units('card');
min-width media query
at-media(units) @include at-media('mobile-lg')
max-width media query
at-media-max(units) @include at-media-max('mobile-lg')
setting units $theme-site-margin-mobile: 2
utility .padding-x-units

Latest updates

Meaningful code and guidance updates are listed in the following table:

Date USWDS version Affects Breaking Description
2023-08-23 3.6.0
  • Styles

Updated 0 token values to include units when needed. Now, units(0) can be used in calc() functions. More information: uswds#5325

2023-02-24 N/A
  • Guidance

Corrected alternate token name for token 05. More information: uswds-site#1949

2022-03-11 N/A
  • Guidance

Reverted value of tablet-lg to 880px. More information: uswds-site#1474

2022-02-24 N/A
  • Guidance

Updated value of tablet-lg from 880px to 800px. More information: uswds-site#1455