A tiny helper function to make Tailwind classes easier to read

22 May 2023TypeScript, Tailwind

Tailwind is an excellent CSS utility library that I use daily on almost every project I work on. However, one thing that sometimes annoys me is that it can be challenging to read when a lot of classes are applied to one element. For example, consider this h2 element directly from my websites posts page.

<h2 className="text-xl text-cyan-800 font-bold leading-tight transition-colors md:text-2xl dark:text-cyan-200 group-hover:text-yellow group-focus:text-yellow">

This element has 9 classes applied to it, and it's impossible to read them all without horizontally scrolling within your code editor. Additionally, the class names blur together, making it difficult to visually distinguish them from each other.

The solution?

An incredibly small utility function…

export const c = (...rest: string[]) => rest.join(' ');

Super basic, right? All it does is use ... rest syntax to collect the arguments, join them with a space and then return the string of classes.

Now you simply pass the classes as arguments, and (providing you have a code formatter like Prettier installed) your classes will get automatically wrapped.


In my opinion, this is much more readable. Not only is there no need to scroll horizontally, but it's also easier to quickly scan and figure out which styles are being applied and how they interact with each other.

Another benefit is that because the classes are still within the className attribute you still get tailwind intellisense on hover. The only downside is that Prettier's auto class sorting no longer works, however, once the classes are laid out vertically, it is much easier to manually order them.

You could obvisouly give the function a more descriptive name, but since it's so simple I like to keep it short and sweet. I would also only use this function when an element had enough classes to warrent it, otherwise it's not really providing much benefit. Overall I find this one tiny line of code makes reading through tailwind classes much easier.

© 2024 Cam Parry