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Multi-line buttons with Compass, Sass, and CSS3

Designing multi-line buttons that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional requires a blend of modern CSS techniques and preprocessor power. This guide dives into how to leverage Compass, Sass, and CSS3 to create buttons that stand out and enhance user interfaces.

Setting Up Your EnvironmentEnsure you have Sass and Compass installed in your development environment. Compass simplifies working with CSS3 and provides mixins that make cross-browser compatibility a breeze.
  • Install Sass: If you haven’t already, install Sass by running gem install sass in your terminal.Install Compass: Similarly, install Compass using gem install compass.
  • Initializing Compass in Your ProjectCreate a new Compass project by navigating to your project directory and running:

    compass create my_project

    This command sets up a Compass project structure with folders for Sass and CSS.

    Writing Sass with Compass for a Multi-Line Button

    Navigate to the sass directory in your Compass project, and create a new Sass file for your buttons, e.g., _buttons.scss.

    The Button Markup

    Start with basic HTML for your button:

    <button class="multi-line-button">Click<br>Me</button>

    Styling the Button

    Open your _buttons.scss file and start by importing Compass:

    @import "compass/css3";

    Define your multi-line button styles. Use Compass mixins for added functionality and CSS3 for visual enhancements:

    .multi-line-button {
      @include border-radius(5px);
      background: linear-gradient(to bottom, #f5f5f5 0%, #e1e1e1 100%);
      border: none;
      color: #333;
      font: bold 16px/1.5 "Helvetica Neue", sans-serif;
      padding: 10px 20px;
      text-align: center;
      &:hover {
        background: linear-gradient(to bottom, #e1e1e1 0%, #f5f5f5 100%);
        cursor: pointer;
      &:active {
        box-shadow: inset 0 3px 5px rgba(0,0,0,0.125);

    This Sass block creates a button with rounded corners, a gradient background, and dynamic states for hover and active interactions. The line-height property is crucial for ensuring the text within the button is properly aligned and supports multiple lines.

    Compiling Sass

    With your styles written, compile the Sass to CSS using Compass. Navigate to your project root and run:

    compass compile

    Compass processes your Sass files, applies the necessary vendor prefixes, and outputs a CSS file ready for inclusion in your project.

    Cross-Browser Compatibility

    Thanks to Compass, the mixins used in the button styling handle much of the cross-browser compatibility issues by automatically generating vendor prefixes for CSS3 properties. However, always test your buttons across different browsers and devices to ensure consistent appearance and functionality.


    By combining Compass, Sass, and CSS3, you can create multi-line buttons that are both functional and visually appealing. This approach offers flexibility in design and ensures that your buttons look great across all modern browsers. Embrace these tools in your web projects to elevate your UI designs with sophisticated and interactive elements.