Overview

The main goal of the layout system is to ensure that AMP elements can express their layout so that the runtime is able to infer sizing of elements before any remote resources, such as JavaScript and data calls, have been completed. This is important since this significantly reduces rendering and scrolling jank.

With this in mind, the AMP Layout System is designed to support few but flexible layouts that provide good performance guarantees. This system relies on a set of attributes such as layout, width, height, sizes and heights to express the element's layout and sizing needs.

Behavior

A non-container AMP element (i.e., layout != container) starts up in the unresolved/unbuilt mode in which all of its children are hidden except for a placeholder (see placeholder attribute). The JavaScript and data payload necessary to fully construct the element may still be downloading and initializing, but the AMP runtime already knows how to size and lay out the element only relying on CSS classes and layout, width, height and media attributes. In most cases, a placeholder, if specified, is sized and positioned to take all of the element's space.

The placeholder is hidden as soon as the element is built and its first layout complete. At this point, the element is expected to have all of its children properly built and positioned and ready to be displayed and to accept a reader's input. This is the default behavior. Each element can override to, e.g., hide placeholder faster or keep it around longer.

The element is sized and displayed based on the layout, width, height and media attributes by the runtime. All of the layout rules are implemented via CSS internally. The element is said to "define size" if its size is inferable via CSS styles and does not change based on its children: available immediately or inserted dynamically. This does not mean that this element's size cannot change. The layout could be fully responsive as is the case with responsive, fixed-height, fill and flex-item layouts. It simply means that the size does not change without an explicit user action, e.g. during rendering or scrolling or post download.

If the element has been configured incorrectly, in PROD it will not be rendered at all and in DEV mode the runtime will render the element in the error state. Possible errors include invalid or unsupported values of layout, width and height attributes.

Layout Attributes

width and height

Depending on the value of the layout attribute, AMP component elements must have a width and height attribute that contains an integer pixel value. Actual layout behavior is determined by the layout attribute as described below.

In a few cases, if width or height are not specified, the AMP runtime can default these values as follows:

  • amp-pixel: Both width and height are defaulted to 0.
  • amp-audio: The default width and height are inferred from browser.

layout

AMP provides a set of layouts that specify how an AMP component behaves in the document layout. You can specify a layout for a component by adding the layout attribute with one of the values specified in the table below.

Example: A simple responsive image, where width and height are used to determine the aspect ratio.

<amp-img src="/img/amp.jpg"
    width="1080"
    height="610"
    layout="responsive"
    alt="an image"></amp-img>

Supported values for the layout attribute:

Value Behavior and Requirements
Not present If no value is specified, the layout for the component is inferred as follows:
  • If height is present and width is absent or is set to auto, a fixed-height layout is assumed.
  • If width and height are present along with a sizes or heights attribute, a responsive layout is assumed.
  • If width and height are present, a fixed layout is assumed.
  • if width and height are absent, a container layout is assumed.
container The element lets its children define its size, much like a normal HTML div. The component is assumed to not have specific layout itself but only act as a container; its children are rendered immediately.
fill The element takes the space available to it—both width and height. In other words, the layout and size of a fill element matches its parent.
fixed The element has a fixed width and height with no responsiveness supported. The width and height attributes must be present. The only exceptions are the amp-pixel and amp-audio components.
fixed-height The element takes the space available to it but keeps the height unchanged. This layout works well for elements such as amp-carousel that involves content positioned horizontally. The height attribute must be present. The width attribute must not be present or must be equal to auto.
flex-item The element and other elements in its parent with layout type flex-item take the parent container's remaining space when the parent is a flexible container (i.e., display: flex). The width and height attributes are not required.
nodisplay The element isn't displayed, and takes up zero space on the screen as if its display style was none. This layout can be applied to every AMP element. It’s assumed that the element can display itself on user action (e.g., amp-lightbox). The width and height attributes are not required.
responsive The element takes the space available to it and resizes its height automatically to the aspect ratio given by the width and height attributes. This layout works very well for most AMP elements, including amp-img, amp-video, etc. The available space depends on the parent element and can also be customized using max-width CSS. The width and height attributes must be present.

sizes

All AMP elements that support the responsive layout, also support the sizes attribute. The value of this attribute is a sizes expression as described in the img sizes, but extended to all elements, not just images. In short, the sizes attribute describes how the width of the element is calculated depending on the media conditions.

When the sizes attribute is specified along with width and height, the layout is defaulted to responsive.

Example: Using the sizes attribute

In the following example, if the viewport is wider than 320px, the image will be 320px wide, otherwise, it will be 100vw wide (100% of the viewport width).

<amp-img src="https://acme.org/image1.png"
    width="400" height="300"
    layout="responsive"
    sizes="(min-width: 320px) 320px, 100vw">
</amp-img>

heights

All AMP elements that support the responsive layout, also support the heights attribute. The value of this attribute is a sizes expression based on media expressions as similar to the img sizes attribute, but with two key differences:

  1. It applies to the height, not the width of the element.
  2. Percent values are allowed, e.g. 86%. If a percent value is used, it indicates the percentage of the element's width.

When the heights attribute is specified along with width and height, the layout is defaulted to responsive.

Example: Using the heights attribute

In the following example, the height of the image will default to 80% of the width, but if the viewport is wider than 500px, the height is capped at 200px. Because the heights attribute is specified along with width and height, the layout defaults to responsive.

<amp-img src="https://acme.org/image1.png"
    width="320" height="256"
    heights="(min-width:500px) 200px, 80%">
</amp-img>

media

All AMP elements support the media attribute. The value of media is a media query. If the query does not match, the element is not rendered at all and its resources and potentially its child resources will not be fetched. If the browser window changes size or orientation, the media queries are re-evaluated and elements are hidden and shown based on the new results.

Example: Using the media attribute

In the following example, we have 2 images with mutually exclusive media queries. Depending on the screen width, one of the two images will be fetched and rendered. The media attribute is available on all AMP elements, so it can be used with non-image elements, such as ads.

<amp-img
    media="(min-width: 650px)"
    src="wide.jpg"
    width=466
    height=355 layout="responsive" ></amp-img>
<amp-img
    media="(max-width: 649px)"
    src="narrow.jpg"
    width=527
    height=193 layout="responsive" ></amp-img>

placeholder

The placeholder attribute can be set on any HTML element, not just AMP elements. The placeholder attribute indicates that the element marked with this attribute acts as a placeholder for the parent AMP element. If specified, a placeholder element must be a direct child of the AMP element. By default, the placeholder is immediately shown for the AMP element, even if the AMP element's resources have not been downloaded or initialized. Once ready, the AMP element typically hides its placeholder and shows the content. The exact behavior with respect to the placeholder is up to the element's implementation.

<amp-anim src="animated.gif" width=466 height=355 layout="responsive" >
  <amp-img placeholder src="preview.png" layout="fill"></amp-img>
</amp-anim>

fallback

The fallback attribute can be set on any HTML element, not just AMP elements. A fallback is a convention that allows the element to communicate to the reader that the browser does not support the element. If specified, a fallback element must be a direct child of the AMP element. The exact behavior with respect to the fallback is up to the element's implementation.

<amp-anim src="animated.gif" width=466 height=355 layout="responsive" >
  <div fallback>Cannot play animated images on this device.</div>
</amp-anim>

noloading

The noloading attribute indicates whether the "loading indicator" should be turned off for this element. Many AMP elements are white-listed to show a "loading indicator", which is a basic animation that shows that the element has not yet fully loaded. The elements can opt out of this behavior by adding this attribute.

(tl;dr) Summary of Layout Requirements & Behaviors

The following table describes the acceptable parameters, CSS classes, and styles used for the layout attribute. Note that:

  1. Any CSS class marked prefixed with -amp- and elements prefixed with i-amp- are considered to be internal to AMP and their use in user stylesheets is not allowed. They are shown here simply for informational purposes.
  2. Even though width and height are specified in the table as required, the default rules may apply as is the case with amp-pixel and amp-audio.
Layout Width/
Height Required?
Defines Size? Additional Elements CSS "display"
container No No No block
fill No Yes, parent's size. No block
fixed Yes Yes, specified by width and height. No inline-block
fixed-height height only; width can be auto Yes, specified by the parent container and height. No block
flex-item No No Yes, based on parent container. block
nodisplay No No No none
responsive Yes Yes, based on parent container and aspect ratio of width:height. Yes, i-amphtml-sizer. block