Installing Tailwind CLI

The simplest and fastest way to get up and running with Tailwind CSS from scratch is with the Tailwind CLI tool.

  1. Install Tailwind CSS

    Install tailwindcss via npm, and create your tailwind.config.js file.

    npm install -D tailwindcssnpx tailwindcss init
  2. Configure your template paths

    Add the paths to all of your template files in your tailwind.config.js file.

    module.exports = {
      content: ["./src/**/*.{html,js}"],
      theme: {
        extend: {},
      plugins: [],
  3. Add the Tailwind directives to your CSS

    Add the @tailwind directives for each of Tailwind’s layers to your main CSS file.

    @tailwind base;
    @tailwind components;
    @tailwind utilities;
  4. Start the Tailwind CLI build process

    Run the CLI tool to scan your template files for classes and build your CSS.

    npx tailwindcss -i ./src/input.css -o ./dist/output.css --watch
  5. Start using Tailwind in your HTML

    Add your compiled CSS file to the <head> and start using Tailwind’s utility classes to style your content.

    <!doctype html>
      <meta charset="UTF-8">
      <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
      <link href="/dist/output.css" rel="stylesheet">
      <h1 class="text-3xl font-bold underline">
        Hello world!

What to read next

Get familiar with some of the core concepts that make Tailwind CSS different from writing traditional CSS.

  • Utility-First Fundamentals

    Using a utility-first workflow to build complex components from a constrained set of primitive utilities.

  • Responsive Design

    Build fully responsive user interfaces that adapt to any screen size using responsive modifiers.

  • Hover, Focus & Other States

    Style elements in interactive states like hover, focus, and more using conditional modifiers.

  • Dark Mode

    Optimize your site for dark mode directly in your HTML using the dark mode modifier.

  • Reusing Styles

    Manage duplication and keep your projects maintainable by creating reusable abstractions.

  • Customizing the Framework

    Customize the framework to match your brand and extend it with your own custom styles.