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React: Super Simple Smooth Scrolling FI

React: Super Simple Smooth Scrolling

February 02 2021

I have been wanting to redo my portfolio, and one of the major things I wanted it to have was smooth scrolling. So, I created a super simple smooth-scrolling effect with no extra dependencies but react.

In this blog, we'll be creating that together. So, let's get right into it.

Live Link


Github Repo


Run the following commands to set up a react app.

npx create-react-app smooth-scroll cd smooth-scroll yarn start


So essentially what we are trying to do is to simply translate a div in Y-direction with a delay. This div will hold the full SPA (Single Page Application), resulting in an all-out smooth scrolling effect.

<div className="parent"> <div ref={scrollingContainer}> {/* The Complete App */} </div> </div
.parent{ position: fixed; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; overflow: hidden; pointer-events: none; }

In this set up the div with the ref scrollingContainer will translate in Y-direction. Notice that the div with a class of "parent" is set to position: fixed. This is essential otherwise the children div will just translate up leaving the space empty down below.

By doing this we are basically letting the browser know that our whole app is a fixed container of "width=100%" and "height=100%", with no scroll and stuff.

Later on, we'll be setting the height of the <body> tag equal to the "scrollingContainer div" and that will allow us to scroll.

On Scroll we'll translate the "scrollingContainer div".

Don't worry if this doesn't make sense. Hopefully, the code will make it clearer.

Final File Structure

File Structure


Create a file in src/components/SmoothScroll/SmoothScroll.js and paste the code below. Don't worry about the imports just yet. We'll be creating them shortly.

import React, { useEffect, useRef } from "react"; import "./SmoothScroll.css"; import useWindowSize from "../../hooks/useWindowSize"; const SmoothScroll = ({ children }) => { // 1. const windowSize = useWindowSize(); //2. const scrollingContainerRef = useRef(); // 3. const data = { ease: 0.1, current: 0, previous: 0, rounded: 0, }; // 4. useEffect(() => { setBodyHeight(); }, [windowSize.height]); const setBodyHeight = () => { document.body.style.height = `${ scrollingContainerRef.current.getBoundingClientRect().height }px`; }; // 5. useEffect(() => { requestAnimationFrame(() => smoothScrollingHandler()); }, []); const smoothScrollingHandler = () => { data.current = window.scrollY; data.previous += (data.current - data.previous) * data.ease; data.rounded = Math.round(data.previous * 100) / 100; scrollingContainerRef.current.style.transform = `translateY(-${data.previous}px)`; // Recursive call requestAnimationFrame(() => smoothScrollingHandler()); }; return ( <div className="parent"> <div ref={scrollingContainerRef}>{children}</div> </div> ); }; export default SmoothScroll;

Let's break it down.

  1. useWindowSize() is a custom hook that returns the current innerWidth and innerHeight of the window.
  2. scrollingContainerRef is used to apply translateY property on the div, on the fly.
  3. data is not a state because we don't want our react component re-rendering each time we scroll.
  4. This useEffect runs only if the windowSize changes (if the user resizes the browser). setBodyHeight makes the height property on <body> equal to the height of the "scrollingContainerRef div". After passing "position: fixed" to the "parent div", this makes sure that we have enough room to scroll through the whole "scrollingContainerRef div"
  5. This useEffect runs only once and calls the smoothScrolling function. The smoothScrolling function runs recursively changing the translate property on the "scrollingContainerRef div" whenever the user scroll.

Notice that we are calling the smoothScrolling function through requestAnimationFrame() function.

The window.requestAnimationFrame(**)** method tells the browser that you wish to perform an animation and requests that the browser calls a specified function to update an animation before the next repaint. The method takes a callback as an argument to be invoked before the repaint.

Note: Your callback routine must itself call requestAnimationFrame() again if you want to animate another frame at the next repaint. requestAnimationFrame() is 1 shot.


Create a file in src/components/SmoothScroll/SmoothScroll.css and paste the code below.

.parent { position: fixed; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; overflow: hidden; pointer-events: none; }


Create a file in src/hooks/useWindowSize.js and paste the code below

import { useState, useEffect } from "react"; export default function useWindowSize() { const getSize = () => { return { width: window.innerWidth, height: window.innerHeight, }; }; const [windowSize, setWindowSize] = useState(getSize); useEffect(() => { const handleResize = () => { setWindowSize(getSize()); }; window.addEventListener("resize", handleResize); return () => window.removeEventListener("resize", handleResize); }, []); return windowSize; }

This is a pretty straightforward hook that listens to the event of window resize and returns the latest innerWidth and innerHeight of the window.


Create a file src/components/Section/Section.js and paste the code below.

import React from "react"; import "./section.css"; const section = ({ flexDirection }) => { return ( <div className="section" style={{ flexDirection: flexDirection }}> <div className="left-container"> <div className="block"></div> </div> <div className="right-container"> <div className="container"> <p> Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipisicing elit. In laudantium esse fugiat illum tempore sapiente soluta labore voluptas iusto deleniti ab suscipit dolores quisquam corrupti facilis, id temporibus mollitia repellat omnis tempora commodi eveniet. Incidunt, perspiciatis, adipisci laboriosam dolores quos dolor voluptate odio magnam aperiam, alias asperiores pariatur! Nisi, libero! </p> </div> </div> </div> ); }; export default section;


Create a file src/components/Section/Section.css and paste the code below.

.section { display: flex; justify-content: space-around; width: 100%; align-items: center; height: 100vh; } .block { width: 250px; height: 250px; padding: 60px; background-color: peachpuff; } .container { width: 500px; } p { font-size: 1.5rem; }

Just a react component to fill up some space in our scrolling Container


import React from "react"; import "./App.css"; import Section from "./components/Section/Section"; import SmoothScroll from "./components/SmoothScroll/SmoothScroll"; function App() { return ( <SmoothScroll> <h2>Smooth Scrolling</h2> <Section flexDirection="row" /> <Section flexDirection="row-reverse" /> <Section flexDirection="row" /> <Section flexDirection="row-reverse" /> <Section flexDirection="row" /> <Section flexDirection="row-reverse" /> </SmoothScroll> ); } export default App;


h2 { text-align: center; margin: 40px auto; font-size: 4rem; }

Live Link


Github Repo

Thank you for reading!

Would love to hear your thought!