Sass Control Directives

What are Sass Control Directives?

Sass control directives helps creating libraries for reuse and distribution, there by contribute to writing leaner Sass. Advanced frameworks use mixins. These mixins use directives such as @if, @for, each and @while.

These control directives will keep you from writing repetitive style declaration and condition logic, that might be the case with CSS.


The @if control directive is useful conditional styling.

If the expression returns anything other than false, it will process its block of styles.

  @mixin setBorderColor($state) {
    @if $state == 'important' {
      border-color: red;
    @else {
      border-color: black;

You can use this mixin as below:

  .class-name {
   @include setBorderColor(important);

This will give us:

  .class-name {
     border-color: red;


The @for directive is a loop that has a start point and loops through to an end point. You can set @for to either cycle through the loop, or run from a starting point to an ending point.

The loop syntax is as follows:

  @for $i from 1 through 12 {
    .column-#{$i} {
      width: 100% / 13 - $i;

Using through will run the loop from the first iteration through the end. Using to will run each iteration in the loop until, but not including, the end iteration.


@each loops through Sass variable lists to generate CSS.

The syntax looks like @each $var in .

Lets look at an example:

  $align-list: center, left, right;

  @each $align in $align-list {
    .txt-#{$align} {
      text-align: $align;

The cimpiled CSS will look like:

.txt-center {
  text-align: center;

.txt-left {
  text-align: left;

.txt-right {
  text-align: right;


The @while directive works similiarly to the @for directive, but instead of going through a list of values, the @while directive will run until the value returns false.

$btn-sizes: 6;
$btn-padding: 4px;

@while $btn-sizes > 0 {
  .btn-pad-#{$btn-sizes / 2} {
    padding: $btn-padding + $btn-sizes $btn-padding * $btn-sizes;
  $btn-sizes: $btn-sizes - 2;

This code will be compiled into:

  .btn-pad-3 {
    padding: 10px 24px;

  .btn-pad-2 {
    padding: 8px 16px;

  .btn-pad-1 {
    padding: 6px 8px;


All of these directives can end up saving you quite a bit of repetitive CSS. But use them sparingly, only when necessary.

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