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The Carbon Components Vanilla Library provides front-end developers & engineers a collection of reusable HTML and SCSS partials to build websites and user interfaces. Adopting the library enables developers to use consistent markup, styles, and behavior in prototype and production work.


Using npm:

$ npm install --save carbon-components

If you prefer Yarn, use the following command instead:

$ yarn add carbon-components

Getting started

What's included

carbon-components/ ├── html ├── css │   ├── carbon-components.css │   └── carbon-components.min.css ├── scripts │   ├── carbon-components.js │   └── carbon-components.min.js ├── scss │   └── components │   └── modal │   └── _modal.scss ├── umd │   └── index.js ├── es │   └── index.js └── src (Deprecated and subject to breaking changes, please use es/umd/scss instead)


Use unpkg for easy access to our built static files. This is great for prototyping and trying carbon-components without installing anything.


See all files from carbon-components available on unpkg CDN.


We have individual CodePens for all of our components which you can easily fork and play around with.


Using the Carbon Sass files infers usage of the SCSS pre-processor. All Sass files use the *.scss file extension.

If you're starting a new project without a boilerplate, you need to know about a few things to get started.


Make sure your build process uses autoprefixer to ensure vendor prefixes are automatically added to your output CSS.

Default body styles

CSS is automatically applied to <body> element, which comes from _css--body.scss. These styles are meant to cascade down to everything in <body> to set common styles shared across all components.

body { @include reset; font-family: 'ibm-plex-sans'; color: $text-01; background-color: $ui-02; line-height: 1; }


A lot of components depend on SVG icons from carbon-icons. Read the docs for details on how to use them.

Global SCSS variables

These variables are used to configure which parts of the SCSS get compiled, where each variable controls a SCSS file of the same name. All variables are set to true by default.

For example:

  • When you set $css--reset: true, then the contents of _css--reset.scss will be part of your output CSS.
  • When you set $css--reset: false, then nothing gets included from that SCSS file.
  • When the variable is not declared at all, then nothing gets included from that SCSS file.

The same rules apply to all the following variables:

// In styles.scss: // These are the default settings. $css--font-face: true !default; $css--helpers: true !default; $css--body: true !default; $css--use-layer: true !default; $css--reset: true !default; $css--typography: true !default; $css--plex: true !default;

These flags are set for you by default when you @import the styles.scss file. You can override these default settings by redeclaring the variables.

Importing SCSS files

To add a component style to your build, simply import the component directly.

@import 'node_modules/carbon-components/scss/components/card/card';

Importing a component this way will bring in any dependencies that component has as well. The import system removes duplicate dependencies, so shared dependencies between components will not create extra CSS.


Carbon Components are built to be included individually and not clobber global styles - all class attributes are prefixed by the bx-- moniker. You can specify your own prefix by changing the SCSS variable $prefix.


Carbon Component has component JavaScript classes, each of which correspond to a component found in our components page. The first steps to work with component JavaScript classes are the following:

  1. Getting component class reference
  2. Instantiating component class on DOM nodes

1. Getting component JavaScript class reference

Using a module bundler: recommended

We recommend using ECMAScript module along with your module bundler toolchain to do so. Using a module bundler will bring in only the component code your application needs, creating an optimized build for production. Carbon Components ships with a ECMAScript module build as well as UMD build for each component, for use with webpack or Rollup.

After you've installed the components through npm, you can grab a component JavaScript class reference by something like this:

import { Modal } from 'carbon-components';

Using pre-built bundle

Users can also opt to use the pre-built carbon-components.js file directly, like below. We recommend that most users do not use this file, as it includes components your application may or may not actually be using.

<html> <body> <!-- Put HTML snippets of components here... --> <script src="node_modules/carbon-components/scripts/carbon-components.min.js"></script> </body> </html>

Once you load carbon-components.js via <script> tag, you can grab a component JavaScript class reference by something like this:

var Modal = CarbonComponents.Modal;

Note: By default, pre-built bundle automatically instantiates all components on the page when DOMContentLoaded event on the page fires. In case you don't want that behavior, you can set CarbonComponents.settings.disableAutoInit = true right after carbon-components.js is loaded.

Caveat: Don't use pre-built carbon-components.js if you are importing components via ECMAScript module syntax. Doing so will cause Carbon code loaded twice, often competing each other.

2. Instantiating component class on DOM nodes

Once you have a component JavaScript class reference, you can instantiate it on a DOM node with the .create() API.

For example, if you have the following HTML for modal:

<div data-modal id="modal-nofooter" class="bx--modal" tabindex="-1"> <div class="bx--modal-container"> ... </div> </div>

You can create and get the instance by:

const modalElement = document.getElementById('modal-nofooter'); const modalInstance = Modal.create(modalElement);

Note: The DOM element to instantiate components on typically has a data-componentname attribute, e.g. data-modal for modal.

Instantiating a component basically does two things:

  • Hooks several event handlers on some DOM elements inside (in above example, ones in modalElement, e.g. close button)
  • Allows you to access public methods (found in our components page, e.g. here for modal) via the instance reference (, etc. in above example)

Higher-level component instantiation API

While .create() API gives you the full control of component instantiation, there is a higher-level API for instantiating components, which is, .init(rootElement). It instantiates all components with data-componentname attribute (e.g. data-modal for modal) inside the given rootElement. If rootElement is omitted, document is used.

Note: .init() API does not take care of DOM elements that hasn't been available at the time it's called. If the JavaScript framework you are using creates DOM elements dynamically, follow the instructions in the next section instead of using .init().

Wrapping a component with JavaScript framework of your choice

Many JavaScript frameworks have a mechanism to dynamically create/destroy DOM elements, for example, upon change in array. This often makes it unclear when the DOM element to instantiate Carbon component on is available, which often depends on the JavaScript framework you use.

Also when DOM elements that Carbon components have been instantiated on are being destroyed, the Carbon component instances should be released so that e.g. there are no zombie event handlers.

The easiest way to hook on the creation/destroy of DOM elements is defining a "wrapping component", with the JavaScript framework of your choice. Here's an example using Web Components' Custom Elements v1 spec, but the notion of components, along with the lifecycle callbacks, are commonly found in many other JavaScript frameworks.

class BXLoading extends HTMLElement { // Called when this custom element gets into render tree connectedCallback() { // "this" here is "<bx-loading>" element this.innerHTML = '(e.g. snippet from'; this.loading = CarbonComponents.Loading.create( this.querySelector('[data-loading]') ); } // Called when this custom element gets out of render tree disconnectedCallback() { this.loading.release(); } } customElements.define('bx-loading', BXLoading);

Polyfills for older browsers

carbon-components requires some polyfills for older browsers, in addition to carbon-components.js (or carbon-components.min.js). The latest list of polyfills is maintained in carbon-components/blog/master/demo/polyfills/index.js. You can easily find the polyfills in NPM, etc. The current list is below:


If you experience any issues while getting set up with Carbon Components, please head over to the GitHub repo for more guidelines and support. Please create an issue if your issue does not already exist.