Front End Collision

Blog of software engineer Josh Beam

Modern Looking CSS Toggle Switch

26 May 2015 — Josh Beam — javascript sass

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Create a nice, modern toggle switch that works by just changing its padding and adding a transition (all it takes is a JavaScript click handler to add or remove a class)!

JS Bin

Works in the latest version of IE, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

This toggle switch can be used to turn things into an “on” or “off” state (for example, through HTTP requests via AJAX), and the state is represented by the toggle’s CSS.


The toggle is made up of two components:

The “toggle” (the container for the whole thing):

This toggle gets the badass class name of, you guessed it, .toggle. It can also receive the .on class via JavaScript.

The next component is the “switch” (the little round thing that moves back and forth):

<div class="toggle">
  <div class="switch"></div>

Principle of function

The only thing that changes when you click the toggle is its padding!

When you click on the toggle, it gets an “on” class added or removed, through some nice vanilla JavaScript:

[]'toggle'), function($toggle) {
  $toggle.addEventListener('mouseup', function() {

What this “on” class does is set the padding-left of the toggle () so that the switch appears to move to the side.

All we do after that is add some nice CSS3 transitions to the background-color and padding by saying something like transition: 400ms cubic-bezier(0, 0, 0, 1);, and we have a working switch.

Don’t SASS me

.toggle {
  // this is both the width and height of the little circular switch
  $switch-height: 36px;
  // change the spacing between the switch and the entire toggle
  $switch-margin: 2px;
  // change the width of the whole toggle
  $toggle-width: 70px;
  // don't change these calculations
  $toggle-height: 3 * $switch-margin + $switch-height;
  $toggle-padding: $toggle-width - $toggle-height;
  background-color: #eee;
  border: 1px solid #fff;
  border-radius: $toggle-height;
  box-shadow: 0 0 5px #ddd;
  box-sizing: border-box;
  height: $toggle-height;
  transition: 400ms cubic-bezier(0, 0, 0, 1);
  width: $toggle-width;
  &.on {
    background: lightblue;
    padding-left: $toggle-padding;
  .switch {
    background: #fff;
    border-radius: 100%;
    height: $switch-height;
    margin: 2px;
    position: relative;
    width: $switch-height;
    z-index: 9;

In its simplest form

For the slow people like me, here is a bare-bones version using regular ol’ onclick and CSS (and some bad practices).

JS Bin


<div class="toggle">
  <div class="switch"></div>


.toggle {
  background: #eee;
  box-sizing: border-box;
  transition: 500ms;
  width: 150px;

.toggle.on {
  padding-left: 100px;

.switch {
  background: white;
  border: 1px solid gray;
  height: 50px;
  width: 50px;


document.getElementsByClassName('toggle')[0].onclick = function() {


Well that’s that: a simple CSS selector switch (all it needs is a click handler). You could also make this an AngularJS directive called, say, <toggle></toggle>, and add the click handler inside the directive.

Key points: The switch moves by just changing the padding, and you can add a transition to make it all smooth-like.