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How can I transition height: 0; to height: auto; using CSS?


Question

I am trying to make a <ul> slide down using CSS transitions.

The <ul> starts off at height: 0;. On hover, the height is set to height:auto;. However, this is causing it to simply appear, not transition,

If I do it from height: 40px; to height: auto;, then it will slide up to height: 0;, and then suddenly jump to the correct height.

How else could I do this without using JavaScript?

#child0 {
  height: 0;
  overflow: hidden;
  background-color: #dedede;
  -moz-transition: height 1s ease;
  -webkit-transition: height 1s ease;
  -o-transition: height 1s ease;
  transition: height 1s ease;
}
#parent0:hover #child0 {
  height: auto;
}
#child40 {
  height: 40px;
  overflow: hidden;
  background-color: #dedede;
  -moz-transition: height 1s ease;
  -webkit-transition: height 1s ease;
  -o-transition: height 1s ease;
  transition: height 1s ease;
}
#parent40:hover #child40 {
  height: auto;
}
h1 {
  font-weight: bold;
}
The only difference between the two snippets of CSS is one has height: 0, the other height: 40.
<hr>
<div id="parent0">
  <h1>Hover me (height: 0)</h1>
  <div id="child0">Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>
  </div>
</div>
<hr>
<div id="parent40">
  <h1>Hover me (height: 40)</h1>
  <div id="child40">Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>Some content
    <br>
  </div>
</div>

2019/11/26
1
2199
11/26/2019 2:26:42 PM

Accepted Answer

Use max-height in the transition and not height. And set a value on max-height to something bigger than your box will ever get.

See JSFiddle demo provided by Chris Jordan in another answer here.

#menu #list {
    max-height: 0;
    transition: max-height 0.15s ease-out;
    overflow: hidden;
    background: #d5d5d5;
}

#menu:hover #list {
    max-height: 500px;
    transition: max-height 0.25s ease-in;
}
<div id="menu">
    <a>hover me</a>
    <ul id="list">
        <!-- Create a bunch, or not a bunch, of li's to see the timing. -->
        <li>item</li>
        <li>item</li>
        <li>item</li>
        <li>item</li>
        <li>item</li>
    </ul>
</div>

2019/10/16
2843
10/16/2019 7:21:27 PM

You should use scaleY instead.

ul {
  background-color: #eee;
  transform: scaleY(0);    
  transform-origin: top;
  transition: transform 0.26s ease;
}
p:hover ~ ul {
  transform: scaleY(1);
}
<p>Hover This</p>
<ul>
  <li>Coffee</li>
  <li>Tea</li>
  <li>Milk</li>
</ul>

I've made a vendor prefixed version of the above code on jsfiddle, and changed your jsfiddle to use scaleY instead of height.

2019/12/31

You can't currently animate on height when one of the heights involved is auto, you have to set two explicit heights.

2015/02/25

The solution that I've always used was to first fade out, then shrink the font-size, padding and margin values. It doesn't look the same as a wipe, but it works without a static height or max-height.

Working example:

/* final display */
#menu #list {
    margin: .5em 1em;
    padding: 1em;
}

/* hide */
#menu:not(:hover) #list {
    font-size: 0;
    margin: 0;
    opacity: 0;
    padding: 0;
    /* fade out, then shrink */
    transition: opacity .25s,
                font-size .5s .25s,
                margin .5s .25s,
                padding .5s .25s;
}

/* reveal */
#menu:hover #list {
    /* unshrink, then fade in */
    transition: font-size .25s,
                margin .25s,
                padding .25s,
                opacity .5s .25s;
}
<div id="menu">
    <b>hover me</b>
    <ul id="list">
        <li>item</li>
        <li>item</li>
        <li>item</li>
        <li>item</li>
        <li>item</li>
    </ul>
</div>

<p>Another paragraph...</p>

2018/10/29

I know this is the thirty-somethingth answer to this question, but I think it's worth it, so here goes. This is a CSS-only solution with the following properties:

  • There is no delay at the beginning, and the transition doesn't stop early. In both directions (expanding and collapsing), if you specify a transition duration of 300ms in your CSS, then the transition takes 300ms, period.
  • It's transitioning the actual height (unlike transform: scaleY(0)), so it does the right thing if there's content after the collapsible element.
  • While (like in other solutions) there are magic numbers (like "pick a length that is higher than your box is ever going to be"), it's not fatal if your assumption ends up being wrong. The transition may not look amazing in that case, but before and after the transition, this is not a problem: In the expanded (height: auto) state, the whole content always has the correct height (unlike e.g. if you pick a max-height that turns out to be too low). And in the collapsed state, the height is zero as it should.

Demo

Here's a demo with three collapsible elements, all of different heights, that all use the same CSS. You might want to click "full page" after clicking "run snippet". Note that the JavaScript only toggles the collapsed CSS class, there's no measuring involved. (You could do this exact demo without any JavaScript at all by using a checkbox or :target). Also note that the part of the CSS that's responsible for the transition is pretty short, and the HTML only requires a single additional wrapper element.

$(function () {
  $(".toggler").click(function () {
    $(this).next().toggleClass("collapsed");
    $(this).toggleClass("toggled"); // this just rotates the expander arrow
  });
});
.collapsible-wrapper {
  display: flex;
  overflow: hidden;
}
.collapsible-wrapper:after {
  content: '';
  height: 50px;
  transition: height 0.3s linear, max-height 0s 0.3s linear;
  max-height: 0px;
}
.collapsible {
  transition: margin-bottom 0.3s cubic-bezier(0, 0, 0, 1);
  margin-bottom: 0;
  max-height: 1000000px;
}
.collapsible-wrapper.collapsed > .collapsible {
  margin-bottom: -2000px;
  transition: margin-bottom 0.3s cubic-bezier(1, 0, 1, 1),
              visibility 0s 0.3s, max-height 0s 0.3s;
  visibility: hidden;
  max-height: 0;
}
.collapsible-wrapper.collapsed:after
{
  height: 0;
  transition: height 0.3s linear;
  max-height: 50px;
}

/* END of the collapsible implementation; the stuff below
   is just styling for this demo */

#container {
  display: flex;
  align-items: flex-start;
  max-width: 1000px;
  margin: 0 auto;
}  


.menu {
  border: 1px solid #ccc;
  box-shadow: 0 1px 3px rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
  margin: 20px;

  
}

.menu-item {
  display: block;
  background: linear-gradient(to bottom, #fff 0%,#eee 100%);
  margin: 0;
  padding: 1em;
  line-height: 1.3;
}
.collapsible .menu-item {
  border-left: 2px solid #888;
  border-right: 2px solid #888;
  background: linear-gradient(to bottom, #eee 0%,#ddd 100%);
}
.menu-item.toggler {
  background: linear-gradient(to bottom, #aaa 0%,#888 100%);
  color: white;
  cursor: pointer;
}
.menu-item.toggler:before {
  content: '';
  display: block;
  border-left: 8px solid white;
  border-top: 8px solid transparent;
  border-bottom: 8px solid transparent;
  width: 0;
  height: 0;
  float: right;
  transition: transform 0.3s ease-out;
}
.menu-item.toggler.toggled:before {
  transform: rotate(90deg);
}

body { font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 14px; }

*, *:after {
  box-sizing: border-box;
}
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js"></script>

<div id="container">
  <div class="menu">
    <div class="menu-item">Something involving a holodeck</div>
    <div class="menu-item">Send an away team</div>
    <div class="menu-item toggler">Advanced solutions</div>
    <div class="collapsible-wrapper collapsed">
      <div class="collapsible">
        <div class="menu-item">Separate saucer</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Send an away team that includes the captain (despite Riker's protest)</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Ask Worf</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Something involving Wesley, the 19th century, and a holodeck</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Ask Q for help</div>
      </div>
    </div>
    <div class="menu-item">Sweet-talk the alien aggressor</div>
    <div class="menu-item">Re-route power from auxiliary systems</div>
  </div>

  <div class="menu">
    <div class="menu-item">Something involving a holodeck</div>
    <div class="menu-item">Send an away team</div>
    <div class="menu-item toggler">Advanced solutions</div>
    <div class="collapsible-wrapper collapsed">
      <div class="collapsible">
        <div class="menu-item">Separate saucer</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Send an away team that includes the captain (despite Riker's protest)</div>
      </div>
    </div>
    <div class="menu-item">Sweet-talk the alien aggressor</div>
    <div class="menu-item">Re-route power from auxiliary systems</div>
  </div>

  <div class="menu">
    <div class="menu-item">Something involving a holodeck</div>
    <div class="menu-item">Send an away team</div>
    <div class="menu-item toggler">Advanced solutions</div>
    <div class="collapsible-wrapper collapsed">
      <div class="collapsible">
        <div class="menu-item">Separate saucer</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Send an away team that includes the captain (despite Riker's protest)</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Ask Worf</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Something involving Wesley, the 19th century, and a holodeck</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Ask Q for help</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Separate saucer</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Send an away team that includes the captain (despite Riker's protest)</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Ask Worf</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Something involving Wesley, the 19th century, and a holodeck</div>
        <div class="menu-item">Ask Q for help</div>
      </div>
    </div>
    <div class="menu-item">Sweet-talk the alien aggressor</div>
    <div class="menu-item">Re-route power from auxiliary systems</div>
  </div>

</div>

How does it work?

There are in fact two transitions involved in making this happen. One of them transitions the margin-bottom from 0px (in the expanded state) to -2000px in the collapsed state (similar to this answer). The 2000 here is the first magic number, it's based on the assumption that your box won't be higher than this (2000 pixels seems like a reasonable choice).

Using the margin-bottom transition alone by itself has two issues:

  • If you actually have a box that's higher than 2000 pixels, then a margin-bottom: -2000px won't hide everything -- there'll be visible stuff even in the collapsed case. This is a minor fix that we'll do later.
  • If the actual box is, say, 1000 pixels high, and your transition is 300ms long, then the visible transition is already over after about 150ms (or, in the opposite direction, starts 150ms late).

Fixing this second issue is where the second transition comes in, and this transition conceptually targets the wrapper's minimum height ("conceptually" because we're not actually using the min-height property for this; more on that later).

Here's an animation that shows how combining the bottom margin transition with the minimum height transition, both of equal duration, gives us a combined transition from full height to zero height that has the same duration.

animation as described above

The left bar shows how the negative bottom margin pushes the bottom upwards, reducing the visible height. The middle bar shows how the minimum height ensures that in the collapsing case, the transition doesn't end early, and in the expanding case, the transition doesn't start late. The right bar shows how the combination of the two causes the box to transition from full height to zero height in the correct amount of time.

For my demo I've settled on 50px as the upper minimum height value. This is the second magic number, and it should be lower than the box' height would ever be. 50px seems reasonable as well; it seems unlikely that you'd very often want to make an element collapsible that isn't even 50 pixels high in the first place.

As you can see in the animation, the resulting transition is continuous, but it is not differentiable -- at the moment when the minimum height is equal to the full height adjusted by the bottom margin, there is a sudden change in speed. This is very noticeable in the animation because it uses a linear timing function for both transitions, and because the whole transition is very slow. In the actual case (my demo at the top), the transition only takes 300ms, and the bottom margin transition is not linear. I've played around with a lot of different timing functions for both transitions, and the ones I ended up with felt like they worked best for the widest variety of cases.

Two problems remain to fix:

  1. the point from above, where boxes of more than 2000 pixels height aren't completely hidden in the collapsed state,
  2. and the reverse problem, where in the non-hidden case, boxes of less than 50 pixels height are too high even when the transition isn't running, because the minimum height keeps them at 50 pixels.

We solve the first problem by giving the container element a max-height: 0 in the collapsed case, with a 0s 0.3s transition. This means that it's not really a transition, but the max-height is applied with a delay; it only applies once the transition is over. For this to work correctly, we also need to pick a numerical max-height for the opposite, non-collapsed, state. But unlike in the 2000px case, where picking too large of a number affects the quality of the transition, in this case, it really doesn't matter. So we can just pick a number that is so high that we know that no height will ever come close to this. I picked a million pixels. If you feel you may need to support content of a height of more than a million pixels, then 1) I'm sorry, and 2) just add a couple of zeros.

The second problem is the reason why we're not actually using min-height for the minimum height transition. Instead, there is an ::after pseudo-element in the container with a height that transitions from 50px to zero. This has the same effect as a min-height: It won't let the container shrink below whatever height the pseudo-element currently has. But because we're using height, not min-height, we can now use max-height (once again applied with a delay) to set the pseudo-element's actual height to zero once the transition is over, ensuring that at least outside the transition, even small elements have the correct height. Because min-height is stronger than max-height, this wouldn't work if we used the container's min-height instead of the pseudo-element's height. Just like the max-height in the previous paragraph, this max-height also needs a value for the opposite end of the transition. But in this case we can just pick the 50px.

Tested in Chrome (Win, Mac, Android, iOS), Firefox (Win, Mac, Android), Edge, IE11 (except for a flexbox layout issue with my demo that I didn't bother debugging), and Safari (Mac, iOS). Speaking of flexbox, it should be possible to make this work without using any flexbox; in fact I think you could make almost everything work in IE7 – except for the fact that you won't have CSS transitions, making it a rather pointless exercise.

2017/05/23

You can, with a little bit of non-semantic jiggery-pokery. My usual approach is to animate the height of an outer DIV which has a single child which is a style-less DIV used only for measuring the content height.

function growDiv() {
  var growDiv = document.getElementById('grow');
  if (growDiv.clientHeight) {
    growDiv.style.height = 0;
  } else {
    var wrapper = document.querySelector('.measuringWrapper');
    growDiv.style.height = wrapper.clientHeight + "px";
  }
}
#grow {
  -moz-transition: height .5s;
  -ms-transition: height .5s;
  -o-transition: height .5s;
  -webkit-transition: height .5s;
  transition: height .5s;
  height: 0;
  overflow: hidden;
  outline: 1px solid red;
}
<input type="button" onclick="growDiv()" value="grow">
<div id='grow'>
  <div class='measuringWrapper'>
    <div>
      The contents of my div.
    </div>
    <div>
      The contents of my div.
    </div>
    <div>
      The contents of my div.
    </div>
    <div>
      The contents of my div.
    </div>
    <div>
      The contents of my div.
    </div>
    <div>
      The contents of my div.
    </div>
  </div>
</div>

One would like to just be able to dispense with the .measuringWrapper and just set the DIV's height to auto and have that animate, but that doesn't seem to work (the height gets set, but no animation occurs).

function growDiv() {
  var growDiv = document.getElementById('grow');
  if (growDiv.clientHeight) {
    growDiv.style.height = 0;
  } else {
    growDiv.style.height = 'auto';
  }
}
#grow {
  -moz-transition: height .5s;
  -ms-transition: height .5s;
  -o-transition: height .5s;
  -webkit-transition: height .5s;
  transition: height .5s;
  height: 0;
  overflow: hidden;
  outline: 1px solid red;
}
<input type="button" onclick="growDiv()" value="grow">
<div id='grow'>
  <div>
    The contents of my div.
  </div>
  <div>
    The contents of my div.
  </div>
  <div>
    The contents of my div.
  </div>
  <div>
    The contents of my div.
  </div>
  <div>
    The contents of my div.
  </div>
  <div>
    The contents of my div.
  </div>
</div>

My interpretation is that an explicit height is needed for the animation to run. You can't get an animation on height when either height (the start or end height) is auto.

2017/12/11

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3508605
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