Tailwind CSS v2.2

Adam Wathan

Well I can’t say we were really planning on it but over the last few weeks we’ve been having a ton of fun dumping new and exciting features into Tailwind and now feels like the right time to cut a release, so here it is — Tailwind CSS v2.2!

This has to be one of the most feature-rich Tailwind releases of all-time. Introducing Just-in-Time mode back in v2.1 has opened the doors to a lot of cool features we couldn’t have easily added otherwise, and this release is loaded with great examples of that.

Here are the highlights:

For the full details, check out the release notes on GitHub.

It’s important to note that although this is a minor release and there are no breaking changes in the classic engine, Just-in-Time mode is still in preview and v2.2 introduces a few very small changes that might impact you, so make sure you read through the changes and deprecations in the release notes when upgrading.

When you’re ready to upgrade, just install the latest version from npm and you’re off to the races:

npm install -D tailwindcss@latest

All-new high-performance Tailwind CLI

We’ve rewritten the Tailwind CLI tool from the ground-up with a performance-first mindset, while also adding support for a bunch of new features.

npx tailwindcss -o dist/tailwind.css --watch --jit --purge="./src/**/*.html"

Here are some of the highlights:

  • No installation or configuration necessary — simply npx tailwindcss -o output.css to compile Tailwind from anywhere. You can even enable JIT mode with the --jit flag and pass in your content files using the --purge option, all without creating a config file.
  • Watch mode — so you can automatically rebuild your CSS whenever you make any changes.
  • JIT performance optimizations — since our CLI is Tailwind-specific we’ve been able to make tons of optimizations that make it the absolute fastest build tool for compiling your CSS in JIT mode.
  • Minification support — now you can minify your CSS with cssnano just by adding the --minify flag.
  • PostCSS plugin support — the new CLI will read and respect any extra plugins you configure using a postcss.config.js file.

It’s fully backwards-compatible with the previous CLI, so if you’ve got any scripts set up already you should be able to upgrade to v2.2 without making any changes to your scripts.

Check out our updated Tailwind CLI documentation to learn more.

Note that if you were using the tailwindcss-cli wrapper package, you can safely switch to tailwindcss as we’ve managed to resolve the peer-dependency issues that forced us to create the wrapper package in the first place.

Before and after pseudo-element variants

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

People have been asking for this for years and it’s finally here! We’ve added first-party support for styling pseudo-elements like before and after:

<div class="before:block before:bg-blue-500 after:flex after:bg-pink-300"></div>

We set content: "" automatically any time you use a before or after variant to make sure the elements are rendered, but you can override it using the new content utilities which have full arbitrary value support:

<div class="before:content-['hello'] before:block ..."></div>

You can even grab the content from an attribute using the CSS attr() function:

  before="hello world"
  class="before:content-[attr(before)] before:block ..."

This can be super helpful when your content has spaces in it, since spaces can’t be used in CSS class names.

First-letter/line variants

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

We’ve added variants for the first-letter and first-line pseudo-elements, so you can do stuff like drop caps:

<p class="first-letter:text-4xl first-letter:font-bold first-letter:float-left">
  The night was March 31, 1996, and it was finally time for Bret Hart to face
  off against Shawn Michaels in the long anticipated Iron Man match — a 60
  minute war of endurance where the man who scored the most number of falls
  would walk away as the WWF World Heavyweight Champion.

Selected text variants

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

We’ve added a new selection variant that makes it super easy to style highlighted to match your design:

<p class="selection:bg-pink-200">
  After nearly a grueling hour of warfare with neither man scoring a fall, Hart
  locked in the Sharpshooter, his signature submission hold. As Michaels
  screamed in pain, the crowd were certain that Hart was about to walk away from
  WrestleMania XII as the still-World Heavyweight Champion.

We’ve even built this feature in such a way that it can be applied to a parent element and cascade down, so you can set a highlight color for your whole site by applying a utility to the body:

<body class="selection:bg-pink-200">
  <!-- ... -->
    But Michaels didn't give up — he held on until the bell rang and the
    designated 60 minutes was up. Hart walked away content, thinking that
    without a clear winner, the title was his to hold. He was not prepared for
    what would happen next, when Gorilla Monsoon declared the match would
    continue under sudden death rules.

List marker variants

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

You can use the new marker variant to style the bullets or numbers at the beginning of a list:

<h1>WrestleMania XII Results</h1>

<ol class="marker:text-gray-500 marker:font-medium">
    The British Bulldog, Owen Hart, and Vader defeated Ahmed Johnson, Jake
    Roberts, and Yokozuna
  <li>Roddy Piper defeated Goldust</li>
  <li>Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated Savio Vega</li>
  <li>The Ultimate Warrior defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley</li>
  <li>The Undertaker defeated Diesel</li>
  <li>Shawn Michaels defeated Bret Hart</li>

Like the selection variant, we’ve implemented this in a way that it cascades from the parent, so you don’t have to repeat it for each list item.

Sibling selector variants

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

Tailwind CSS v2.2 adds new peer-* variants that behave much like the group-* variants, but for targeting sibling elements instead of parent elements.

This is useful for things like styling an element when a preceding checkbox is checked, doing things like floating labels, and lots more:

  <input type="checkbox" class="peer sr-only">
  <span class="h-4 w-4 bg-gray-200 peer-checked:bg-blue-500">
  <!-- ... -->

Just like group can be combined with any other variant, peer can as well, so you have variants like peer-hover, peer-focus, peer-disabled, and loads more at your fingertips.

The generated CSS uses the general sibling combinator and looks like this:

.peer:checked ~ .peer-checked\:bg-blue-500 {
  background-color: #3b82f6;

So just like in vanilla CSS, it will only work for targeting previous siblings, not siblings that appear later in the DOM.

Exhaustive pseudo-class support

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

We’ve added variants for basically every single missing pseudo-class we could think of in this release:

  • only (only-child)
  • first-of-type
  • last-of-type
  • only-of-type
  • target
  • default
  • indeterminate
  • placeholder-shown
  • autofill
  • required
  • valid
  • invalid
  • in-range
  • out-of-range

Personal favorite in the list is placeholder-shown — when combined with the new sibling selector variants it makes it possible to do cool stuff like floating labels:

<div class="relative">
  <input id="name" class="peer ...">
  <label for="name" class="peer-placeholder-shown:top-4 peer-focus:top-0 ...">

Shorthand color opacity syntax

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

Instead of using utilities like bg-opacity-50, text-opacity-25, or placeholder-opacity-40, Tailwind CSS v2.2 gives you a new color opacity shorthand you can use to tweak the alpha channel of a color directly in the color utility itself:

<div class="bg-red-500 bg-opacity-25">
<div class="bg-red-500/25">

This means you can now change the opacity of colors anywhere in Tailwind, even where we previously didn’t have specific opacity utilities, like in gradients for example:

<div class="bg-gradient-to-r from-red-500/50"></div>

The opacity values are taken from your opacity scale, but you can also use arbitrary opacity values using square bracket notation:

<div class="bg-red-500/[0.31]"></div>

If I’m being honest, I am more excited about never having to create another core plugin like placeholderOpacity.js for you people again than I am about actually using the feature. And I’m really excited about the feature, so that says something.

Extended arbitrary value support

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

We’ve gone over every core plugin in Tailwind to try and add the most flexible arbitrary value support we possibly could, and I think we’ve covered pretty much everything at this point.

You should be able to whatever arbitrary values you want, just about wherever you want:

<div class="col-start-[73] placeholder-[#aabbcc] object-[50%] ..."></div>

If you find one we missed, open an issue and we’ll sort it out.

In addition to making arbitrary value support more comprehensive, we’ve also added a new type-hint syntax to handle ambiguous situations. For example, if you are using a CSS variable as an arbitrary value, it’s not always clear what the generated CSS should be:

<!-- Is this a font size utility, or a text color utility? -->
<div class="text-[var(--mystery-var)]"></div>

Now you can provide a hint to the engine by prefixing the arbitrary value with the type name:

<div class="text-[color:var(--mystery-var)]"></div>

Currently, the supported types are:

  • length
  • color
  • angle
  • list

We’ll probably flesh this out even more over time as people discover new edge cases but this should get you very far.

Improved nesting support

Since Tailwind introduces a lot of non-standard CSS at-rules like @tailwind and @apply, you can often run into weird output when combining it with a PostCSS nesting plugin like postcss-nested or postcss-nesting.

To ease the pain here, we’ve included a new PostCSS plugin in the tailwindcss package that acts as a lightweight compatibility layer between existing nesting plugins and Tailwind itself.

So if you need nesting support in your project, use our plugin, and stick it before Tailwind in your PostCSS plugin list:

// postcss.config.js
module.exports = {
  plugins: [
    // ...
    // ...

By default, it uses postcss-nested under the hood (since that’s what we use to support nesting in Tailwind plugins), but if you’d like to use postcss-nesting instead, just call our plugin as a function and pass through the postcss-nesting plugin:

// postcss.config.js
module.exports = {
  plugins: [
    // ...
    // ...

Under the hood, this uses a new screen() function we’ve introduced that you can use to get the expanded media expression from any of your configured breakpoints:

/* Input */
@media screen(sm) {
  /* ... */

/* Output */
@media (min-width: 640px) {
  /* ... */

You probably won’t need to use this yourself but it could be helpful if you’re ever integrating Tailwind with another tool that understands @media but doesn’t handle @screen properly.

@screen sm { /* ... */ }
@media screen(sm) { /* ... */ }

Caret color utilities

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

You can now set the color of the cursor in form fields using the new caret-{color} utilities:

<input class="caret-red-500" />

These are customizable using the caretColor key in the theme section of your tailwind.config.js file.

Background origin utilities

We’ve added new utilities for the background-origin property, which let you control where an element’s background is positioned relative to the element’s border, padding box, or content:

  class="bg-origin-border p-4 border-4 border-dashed ..."
  style="background-image: url(...)"
  Background is rendered under the border

  class="bg-origin-padding p-4 border-4 border-dashed ..."
  style="background-image: url(...)"
  Background is rendered within the border but on top of any padding

  class="bg-origin-content p-4 border-4 border-dashed ..."
  style="background-image: url(...)"
  Background is rendered within any padding and under the content

Learn more in the background origin documentation.

Simplified transform and filter composition

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

The transform, filter, and backdrop-filter classes are no longer necessary to “enable” their respective set of composable utilities.

<div class="transform scale-50 filter grayscale backdrop-filter backdrop-blur-sm">
<div class="scale-50 grayscale backdrop-blur-sm">

Now those features are automatically enabled any time you use any of the relevant sub-utilities.

It’s important to understand though that because these utilities aren’t needed anymore, you can no longer expect transforms and filters to be “dormant” by default. If you were relying on conditionally “activating” transforms or filters by toggling these classes, you will want to make sure you are toggling the sub-utilities themselves instead:

<div class="scale-105 -translate-y-1 hover:transform">
<div class="hover:scale-105 hover:-translate-y-1">

I don’t expect this will be a real problem for most people, but it’s technically a breaking change which is why we’ve limited this improvement to the JIT engine only.

Per-side border color utilities

This feature is only available in Just-in-Time mode.

Requested at least once a month for the last four years, I’m excited to share that we’ve finally added per-side border color support now that we don’t have to sweat the development stylesheet size.

  class="border-2 border-t-blue-500 border-r-pink-500 border-b-green-500 border-l-yellow-500"
  <!-- ... -->

Go forth and build ugly websites! (Kidding, kidding, I know they are useful settle the hell down.)

Built-in safelist, transform, and extract support

We’ve added first-class support for a bunch of important PurgeCSS features and made them work in the JIT engine as well, which doesn’t actually even use PurgeCSS.

First is safelist, which is super useful if you need to protect specific classes from being removed from your production CSS, perhaps because they are used in content that comes from a database or similar:

module.exports = {
  purge: {
    content: ['./src/**/*.html'],
    safelist: [
      // ...
  // ...

Note that while the classic engine will accept regular expressions here, the JIT engine will not. That’s because when we’re generating classes on demand, the class doesn’t exist until it’s used so we have nothing to match the expression against. So if you’re using just-in-time mode, make sure you’re providing complete class names to get the expected result.

Next is transform, which lets you transform content for different file extensions before scanning it for potential class names:

let remark = require('remark')

module.exports = {
  purge: {
    content: ['./src/**/*.{html,md}'],
    transform: {
      md: (content) => {
        return remark().process(content)
  // ...

This is really useful if you have templates that are written in a language that compiles to HTML, like Markdown.

Finally we have extract, which lets you customize the logic that Tailwind uses to detect class names in specific file types:

module.exports = {
  purge: {
    content: ['./src/**/*.{html,md}'],
    extract: {
      pug: (content) => {
        return /[^<>"'`\s]*/.match(content)
  // ...

This is an advanced feature and most users won’t need it. The default extraction logic in Tailwind works extremely well for almost all projects.

For more information on these features, check out our optimizing for production documentation.


To upgrade to Tailwind CSS v2.2, install the latest release from npm:

npm install -D tailwindcss@latest

If you are using the Just-in-Time mode preview, you’ll also want to read through the changes and deprecations in the release notes.

Ready to upgrade? Get it from npm →