Learn how to use Penpot Flex Layout. Try yourself with this playground template!

Have you had the chance to try the Flex Layout for your projects? How about the other recently released features like absolute positioning, smart spacing, z-index management and wrap property?

A screenshot of our playground template where you can learn more about Flex Layout

As a brief refresher, for those who may not be familiar with Flex Layout yet, this is one of Penpot’s most requested features and a totally turning point in design and product development.

With Flex Layout, designers can create layouts that seamlessly translate into web pages through dynamic CSS flexbox web standards. It’s an incredibly powerful layout feature that helps improve the designer-coder collaboration, and that’s what Penpot is all about, right? In fact, the whole process of developing it showed the spirit of collective effort that’s behind open source, with the community proposing alternatives to have a layout system, the team looking for a solution, and a group of skilled contributors providing incredibly valuable feedback to finally create the key tool that everyone can enjoy today.

It’s been running for a few weeks since its release and we wanted to make sure that everyone was properly updated on the latest properties.

  • “Let’s create a page that gathers all the information related to Flex Layout and complementary features”, we said.

  • And Clara, designer at Penpot added: “It would be really cool to actually have a playground to avoid facing the blank page and be given an overview of the new feature”.

So we got down to work.

We created this video to double-check that no one misses out on enjoying the Flex Layout.

Those who knew about this game-changer functionality but haven’t taken the leap to try it, and those who just learned about it, now have the opportunity to test its potential thanks to the template made by Runroom that we called playground.

This template is included in the new webpage, focused on anything to do with Penpot’s layout features, with loads of information such as: tutorials, documentation, related properties, etc.

But wait, there’s more! You may have seen in previous posts how excited we are about the arrival of Grid Layout. This upcoming feature makes your dimensions perfect when getting designs code ready and we’ll be revealing all about it during the Penpot Fest, the first design-centric conference for the whole community that will take place on 28-30 June in Barcelona. You shouldn’t miss the event of the year!

If you are a designer or developer whose mind has been blown away :exploding_head: by Flex Layout, test the template you’ll find on our layout page and feel free to share your own template or your feedback with the community—it will be super helpful for us.


Hy, in the test Template on “2.1. FlexLayout - Direction - 2” it says: “Penpot will take into account the order of layers that you have in the left panel, leaving in the start position, the layer that is higher” - what is meant by that? I do not see any layer change

The layers won’t change but you will see flex direction is column reverse. If you change that orientation layers will change their positions.
Screenshot from 2023-06-02 13-24-45

If I change the direction the layers stay unchanged, only when I change the position of an item like the frog with the arrow-keys or mouse it will change order respectivly in the layers panel

Screenshot 2023-06-02_13-37

But dispite of this, the template is awesome to play around with flex and learn something about it too

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@partisiber I think what @Eva_Marco meant was that the layers changes their positions in the design canvas, not in the layers list. The layers list remains in the same order, being used by the layout as reference to get the elements order (start, end, etc).

In this case the Frog is the start element because it has the higher level at the layers list. With the default direction (“row”) the Frog is positioned at the left, but with “row reverse” selected is placed at the right end because is the start position for this direction property.

I’m glad you’re enjoying the playground :slight_smile:

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Ah cheers, yes there was a misunderstanding.

And Yes the Playground is realy well done.