How to Create a Horizontal Scrollable Menu with CSS


In this article, we will explore the process of creating a horizontal scrollable menu using CSS. A horizontal scrollable menu is a great way to display a large number of navigation links within a limited space, providing an intuitive and user-friendly browsing experience. By following the step-by-step guide below, you’ll be able to implement this stylish and functional menu on your website. So, let’s get started!

1. Understanding the Concept

Before diving into the implementation, let’s grasp the concept of a horizontal scrollable menu. It is essentially a container that holds a list of navigation items horizontally and enables scrolling when the container’s width is smaller than the total width of its content. This allows users to navigate through the menu items by swiping or using scroll controls.

2. Setting Up the HTML Structure

To begin, create an HTML structure for the menu. Use an unordered list (<ul>) to represent the menu items and list items (<li>) for each individual item. Assign appropriate classes or IDs for styling purposes and to target elements using CSS and JavaScript.

<div class="menu-container">
  <ul class="menu">
    <li class="menu-item">Item 1</li>
    <li class="menu-item">Item 2</li>
    <li class="menu-item">Item 3</li>
    <!-- Add more items as needed -->

3. Styling the Menu

Next, let’s apply some basic styling to the menu. Use CSS to define the appearance of the menu items, including their size, color, typography, and spacing. You can also customize the menu container’s width and height to fit your design requirements.

.menu-container {
  width: 100%;
  overflow-x: scroll;

.menu {
  display: flex;
  white-space: nowrap;

.menu-item {
  padding: 10px;
  /* Add additional styling as per your design */

4. Creating the Scrollable Effect

To achieve the scrollable effect, we need to specify the width of the menu items and set their display property to inline-block. This ensures that the items are placed side by side and wrap accordingly when the container’s width is exceeded.

.menu-item {
  display: inline-block;
  width: 200px; /* Adjust the width based on your design */

5. Adding Animation and Interactivity

To enhance the user experience, you can add animation and interactivity to the scrollable menu. For example, you can use CSS transitions or JavaScript libraries to create smooth scrolling effects when navigating through the menu items.

.menu-container {
  scroll-behavior: smooth;

.menu-item:hover {
  /* Add hover effects as desired */

6. Testing and Troubleshooting

Once you have implemented the scrollable menu, it’s crucial to thoroughly test it across different browsers and devices. Ensure that the menu functions correctly, scrolls smoothly, and remains responsive on various screen sizes. If you encounter any issues, inspect the code, check for errors, and make necessary adjustments to fix the problems.


In conclusion, creating a horizontal scrollable menu with CSS can greatly enhance the usability of your website. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you now have the knowledge to implement this feature and provide a seamless navigation experience to your users.


Can I use this technique with nested menus?

Yes, you can apply this technique to nested menus as well. Simply create a similar HTML structure for each level of the menu, and adjust the CSS accordingly to accommodate the nesting.

Are there any limitations to using a horizontal scrollable menu?

While horizontal scrollable menus can be an effective solution for displaying many navigation links, it’s important to consider the user experience. Make sure the menu is intuitive, easily accessible, and doesn’t hinder navigation on touch devices.

Can I combine this scrollable menu with a responsive design?

Absolutely! You can combine the scrollable menu with responsive design techniques to ensure it adapts well to different screen sizes. Use media queries and CSS breakpoints to modify the menu’s behavior and appearance based on the device’s screen width.

Are there any alternatives to using CSS for this scrollable menu?

Yes, there are JavaScript libraries and frameworks available that provide more advanced functionality and customization options for scrollable menus. These libraries often offer additional features like touch support, scrolling indicators, and swipe gestures.

Is it necessary to include fallback options for older browsers?

It’s a good practice to provide fallback options for older browsers that may not fully support CSS features used in the scrollable menu. This ensures that the menu remains functional and accessible even on older browser versions.

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