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Note, the following describes Susy 3.x. For the Susy 2.x documentation, see susy.readthedocs.org.

Susy is a design-agnostic set of tools for creating powerful, custom layouts. We didn't want another grid system full of rules and restrictions — we wanted a power tool for building our own damn systems. Version Three is trimmed down to it's most basic components — functions that can be used to build any grid system.

"I like the idea of grids-on-demand, rather than a strict framework."
– Chris Coyier, CSS Tricks

"Susy and Zendesk have been getting along magically… It’s precisely what you need and nothing more."
— Stephany Varga, Zendesk

"If you’re interested in reading Sass poetry, be sure to look at Susy’s source code!"
— Hugo Giraudel, SitePoint


Configuration Overview

Susy3 has 4 core settings, in a single settings map:

// default settings
$susy: (
  'columns': susy-repeat(4),
  'gutters': 0.25,
  'spread': 'narrow',
  'container-spread': 'narrow',

You'll notice a few differences from Susy2.

Columns no longer accept a single number, like 12, but use a syntax more similar to the CSS property grid-template-columns – a list of relative sizes for each column on the grid, with unitless numbers acting similar to fr units in CSS. Use the susy-repeat() function (similar to the new css repeat()) to quickly establish equal-width columns.

  • susy-repeat(12) will create 12 fluid, equal-width columns
  • susy-repeat(6, 120px) will create 6 equal 120px-wide columns
  • 120px susy-repeat(4) 120px will create 6 columns, the first and last are 120px, while the middle 4 are equal fractions of the remainder. Susy will output calc() values in order to achieve this.

Gutters haven't changed – a single fraction or explicit width – but the calc() output feature means you can now use any combination of units and fractions to create static-gutters on a fluid grid, etc.

Spread existed in the Susy2 API as a span option, and was otherwise handled behind the scenes. Now we're giving you full control over all spread issues. You can find a more detailed explanation of spread on the blog.

You can access your global settings at any time with the susy-settings() function, or grab a single setting from the global scope with susy-get('columns'), susy-get('gutters') etc.

Shorthand Overview

All functions draw on the same shorthand syntax in two parts, seperated by the word of. The first part describes the span width, location, and spread in any order. Only the width is required:

// <width> <location> <spread>
$span: 2;
$spread: 3 wide;

// location is only needed with asymmetrical grids
$location: 3 at 2 narrow;

The second half of Susy's shorthand describes the grid-context columns, container-spread, and gutters in any order. None are required:

// of <columns> <container-spread> <gutters>
$columns: of 6;
$spread: of 12 wide;
$gutters: of 12 set-gutters 2em;

A single unitless number for columns will be treated as a slice of the parent grid. On a grid with columns: susy-repeat(12, 120px), the shorthand of 4 will use the parent 120px column-width. you can also be more explicit, and say of susy-repeat(4, 100px). If you are using asymmetrical grids, like the (1 1 2 3 5 8) example above, Susy can't slice it for you without knowing which slice you want. The slice function accepts exactly the same syntax as span, but returns a list of columns rather than a width. Use it in your context like of slice(first 3).

Function Overview

Use the span() and gutter() functions to build the grid system that fits you best.

Span will return the width of a span across grid-columns, and any intermediate gutters. Apply the results to a width or flex-basis property to size your grid elements, or use it with padding, margin, and translateX() to move your elements around.

The span mixin only requires a span width, but accepts the full shorthand: span(first 3 wide of (1 1 2 3 5 8) wide set-gutters 20px).

Gutter will return the width of a single gutter, and only accepts the second context-half of the shorthand (with or without of at the start): gutter().

With those two functions, you can build anything – using floats, flexbox, tables, inline-block, or any other layout technique you love.

.float {
  width: span(3);
  margin-right: gutter();

.flexbox {
  flex: 1 1 span(3);
  padding: 0 gutter() / 2;

.push-3 {
  margin-left: span(3 wide);

Here's a real-quick class system, like you might find in one of the other frameworks:

.span {
  float: left;
  margin-right: gutter();

  &:last-child {
    margin-right: 0;

@for $span from 1 through length(susy-get('columns')) {
  .span-#{$span} {
    width: span($span);

Read the docs for more details on configuration and available functions.


npm install susy

There are two imports to choose from. The default sass/susy comes with un-prefixed versions of the core API functions. If you want Susy to be name-spaced, import sass/susy-prefix instead.

// un-prefixed functions
@import '<path-to>/susy/sass/susy';

// susy-prefixed functions
@import '<path-to>/susy/sass/susy-prefix';

Using Eyeglass

With eyeglass set up, you can @import 'susy'; without providing the npm-modules path.

Using Webpack

Make sure sass-loader is installed:

npm install sass-loader --save-dev

Make sure you have sass-loader enabled in your webpack configuration:

// webpack.config.js
loaders: [
    test: /\.scss$/,
    loader: 'style!css!sass'

Start using Susy:

/* app.scss */
@import "~susy/sass/susy";

Using Gulp

Add a gulp task:

// gulpfile.js
gulp.task('sass', function() {
  return gulp.src('scss/*.scss')
          outputStyle: 'compressed',
          includePaths: ['node_modules/susy/sass']
      }).on('error', sass.logError))

Start using Susy:

/* app.scss */
@import 'susy';

Using Grunt (and Yeoman)

To add Susy to the Sass task, edit your Gruntfile.js at the root level of your project and look for the Sass-related rules. Add require: 'susy' inside the options object:

// Gruntfile.js
sass: {
  dist: {
    options: {
      style: 'expanded',
      require: 'susy'
    files: {
      'css/style.css': 'scss/style.scss'

Assuming you’ve already installed Susy, it will now be added to the project and will not clash with Yeoman's grunt rules.

Start using Susy:

/* app.scss */
@import 'susy';

Plugin: SVG Grid Image

If you want to generate svg-backgrounds for help visualizing and debugging your grids, import the SVG Grid Plugin:

// unprefixed
@import '<path-to>/susy/sass/plugins/svg-grid';

// prefixed
@import '<path-to>/susy/sass/plugins/svg-grid/prefix';

The plugin adds svg-grid-colors setting to your global defaults, which you can override in $susy. It also provides you with a new function, susy-svg-grid(), which will return inline svg for use in backgrounds or generated content:

background: susy-svg-grid() no-repeat scroll;

Susy vs Su

You may notice that some functions have a susy- prefix, while others only have su-. This helps distinguish between the two distinct layers:

  • The core grid-math layer is called Su, and is made up of "pure" functions that expect normalized values. This is useful if you prefer argument-syntax to shorthand syntax, or if you are building your own Susy mixins.
  • The upper Susy layer provides syntax-sugar – global defaults, shorthand-parsing, normalization, and a smaller set of common-use functions that call on the core math as necessary. This is the primary API for most users.