Sass @extend Directive

How to use the Sass @extend directive to inherit styles from another property.

One of the features of Sass is the @extend directive. The @extend directive can be used to inherit styles from another property.

This can be useful when used on elements that share a base set of property values, but each one has its own extra property value/s.


Take an alert box for example. You could have single style for all alerts. But each alert type might have its own color.

Here's an example:

This results in the following CSS being compiled:

Multiple Extends

You can use multiple @extend directives within a selector.

So you can do this, for example:

The compiled CSS will look like this:

Chaining Extends

Another way of doing the above example is to chain the @extend directives across the selectors.

So, instead of having two extends in the last selector, we could move the first extend up to the previous selector.

Like this:

Compiled CSS:

Placeholder Selectors

You might find yourself creating classes that you only ever use to extend another selector. In other words, you never actually use that class within your HTML code. Its sole purpose is to extend other selectors.

In cases like these, you probably don't want these selectors to be added to the compiled CSS. After all, they'll just increase the size of your CSS file and they'll never be used.

This is where placeholder selectors come in.

Placeholder selectors are similar to class selectors, however, instead of starting with a period (.), they start with a percent sign (%).

When you use a placeholder selector in your Sass file, it can be used to extend other selectors, but it won't be compiled into the final CSS.

So we can take the first example on this page, and change the .alert selector to %alert and see what happens.

Note that we need to change all references from .alert to %alert.

This results in the following CSS being compiled. Note that the %alert selector is not included in the compiled CSS, even though the remaining selectors make use of it.