How to use Bootstrap's table-responsive class

How to use Bootstrap's table-responsive class

Tables are a fundamental element in web development, often used to present data in a structured and organized manner. However, displaying tables on small screens or mobile devices can be challenging due to limited screen real estate. Bootstrap, a popular front-end framework, provides a handy solution to this problem with the table-responsive class. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to use Bootstrap’s table-responsive class to create tables that adapt gracefully to different screen sizes and ensure an optimal user experience.

Understanding the Need for Responsive Tables

Before delving into the practical aspects, let’s grasp why responsive tables are crucial in web development.

The Challenge of Tables on Small Screens

Tables are traditionally designed for larger screens, where there’s ample horizontal space to display tabular data. However, on smaller screens like smartphones and tablets, tables can become unreadable and difficult to navigate due to their fixed width.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is an approach that seeks to adapt web content to different screen sizes and orientations. In the context of tables, responsive design aims to make tables user-friendly and visually appealing on devices of all sizes.

Getting Started with Bootstrap

To utilize Bootstrap’s table-responsive class, you need to have Bootstrap integrated into your project. You can include Bootstrap by downloading the necessary CSS and JavaScript files and adding them to your project, or you can use the Bootstrap CDN for faster integration.

Once Bootstrap is set up, you’re ready to begin creating responsive tables.

Implementing the table-responsive Class

To make a table responsive, you simply need to wrap it in a <div> element with the class table-responsive. Here’s an example:

<div class="table-responsive">
  <table class="table">
    <!-- Table content goes here -->

In this structure:

  • The outer <div> with the class table-responsive is what triggers the responsive behavior.
  • Inside the <div>, you have your <table> element with the class table.

By adding the table-responsive class, your table will automatically adjust its width and horizontal scrolling behavior on smaller screens, ensuring that all columns remain visible and accessible.

Customizing Your Responsive Table

While Bootstrap’s table-responsive class provides an excellent foundation for responsive tables, you can further customize the appearance and behavior to meet your specific needs. Here are some common customizations:


You can apply custom CSS styles to your table to match your website’s design. Bootstrap offers various table classes, such as table-striped, table-bordered, and table-hover, to enhance the table’s visual appeal.

<table class="table table-striped table-bordered">
  <!-- Table content goes here -->

Column Priority

In some cases, you might want to prioritize specific columns on smaller screens. Bootstrap’s responsive utilities, like .d-md-none and .d-lg-none, allow you to hide or show columns based on screen size.

  <td>Column 1</td>
  <td class="d-none d-lg-table-cell">Column 2</td>
  <td class="d-none d-lg-table-cell">Column 3</td>

In this example, columns 2 and 3 will be hidden on screens smaller than lg (large) size.

Horizontal Scrolling

If you have a wide table and prefer horizontal scrolling on small screens instead of stacking columns, you can use the overflow-x property in custom CSS.

.table-responsive {
  overflow-x: auto;

This will add a horizontal scrollbar when the table exceeds the screen width, allowing users to scroll horizontally to view all columns.

Testing and Optimization

After implementing a responsive table, it’s essential to thoroughly test it on various devices and screen sizes to ensure it functions as expected. Pay attention to details like text legibility, column alignment, and user experience.

Optimize your table’s responsiveness based on user feedback and real-world testing. Consider the amount of data, the importance of each column, and user interaction patterns when making adjustments.


Creating responsive tables with Bootstrap’s table-responsive class is a valuable skill for web developers. It ensures that tables, a common element in data presentation, remain accessible and user-friendly on devices of all sizes. By following the steps outlined in this guide and customizing your responsive tables as needed, you can provide an optimal viewing experience for your website’s visitors, regardless of the device they use.