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Blog Post

Debugging Responsive Designs with Ghost CSS

Updated: May 11, 2022

Debugging Responsive Designs

Responsive web design presents many new challenges over traditional design. Making sure that your page looks perfect at every single screen size is not an easy thing, after all. Every developer has been there: some pesky element is pushing to far horizontally, and creating a horizontal scroll bar, but you can’t seem to figure out which element is causing this annoyance.

This is where the Ghost CSS bookmark will come in handy.

When you activate the Ghost CSS bookmark it will change the styles on the page to easily show the outlines of elements on the page. Using this, you should be able to more easily diagnoses which element is causing the problem. You will be able to visually see which element’s boundaries are extending further than the rest to identify how the responsive code is breaking.

Here’s how to get it:

Step 1: Right click the bookmarks bar and click “add page.” Step 2: Name the bookmark whatever you want. Step 3: In the URL section add this bit of code:


What this code is doing is actually simple, it is running a Javascript function that changes the CSS styles on your current page, to the Ghost CSS styles.

Step 4: Click done. Your bookmark is now created. Now, upon clicking this bookmark your page will change to show the Ghost CSS styles. To revert the change, simply refresh the page. before Ghost CSS

ABOVE: Here’s how looked before the bookmark was clicked

BELOW: And here’s how looked after the bookmark was clicked and the Ghost CSS styles went into effect. after Ghost CSS

Here’s how to debug with it:

For example, let’s say that you’re working with a responsive contact us page and for some reason there’s a horizontal scroll bar.

You look and you look but you cannot find the element that is breaking the responsive.

Before your page looked like this:

Example before Ghost CSS is enabled

After you click the Ghost CSS bookmark your page looks like this:

Example after Ghost CSS is enabled

In the after screenshot, you can see that the reason the responsive is being broken is the top shield image. Now this was probably a very easy example and you’ve got to be thinking, “I could have done that all without those styles enabled”, and yes you probably could. At least for this example. But anyone who knows about how to code for a responsive design knows that it’s not always this easy.

Ghost CSS will enable you to visually see on the page where elements are that are breaking responsive, without dealing with the DOM explorer right off the bat. Plus, you’ll look like an advanced hacker when you press that bookmark! That’s always a plus.


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