What is 1rem?

Freddy Montes - Frontend Developer, Designer and TeacherFreddy Montes|

Just like px or %, it is a CSS unit that allows you to set lengths on your website, but this length is dependent on the root element, hence its name.

What is the root element?

The root element is the box that contains the rest of the elements of the page, it is the html tag. What makes this box special is that its font-size will serve as the basis for setting lengths for elements that use rem measurements.

🌟By default, the root’s element font size is 16px.

How does the root element affect rem?

So, based on the fact that the root element's font-size is 16px, when you do, for example:

The width and height of the box will be translated into 16 x 16 pixels. That is, 1rem is equal to the font-size of the root element and, as you suspected, being relative:

  1. 0.5rem is 8px (16 * 0.5)
  2. 2rem is 32px (16 * 2)
  3. 4rem is 64px (16 * 4) and so on.

How to change the font size of the root element?

You need to add a rule to your stylesheet, where you specify the font-size you want to use.

For example, to set the root element's font-size to 14px, use the following rule:

By making this change, all lengths you used in your styles will be relative to 14px then.

  1. 0.5rem is 7px (14 * 0.5)
  2. 2rem is 28px (14 * 2)
  3. 4rem is 56px (14 * 4) and so on.


In summary, rem is a relative unit of measure that is based on the font-size of the root element of your website and this allows you to set lengths relative to that element and with this pattern you can make your websites and applications more "responsive".


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