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    @lit-labs/virtualizer provides viewport-based virtualization (including virtual scrolling) for Lit.

    ⚠️ @lit-labs/virtualizer is in late prerelease. Its API is intended to remain quite stable going forward, but you should expect (increasingly minor) changes before 1.0. Some of these changes may be technically breaking, but we anticipate that they will be mechanical and straightforward to make.

    Getting Started

    Get this package:

    npm i @lit-labs/virtualizer

    Like Lit itself, the @lit-labs/virtualizer package is published as ES2019, using ES modules. The Lit packages use bare specifiers to refer to their dependencies.

    Shipping packages this way lets you control how whether and how they (along with your own source code) are bundled and transpiled for delivery to your users. However, it does require that you use a development server (or alternative tool chain) capable of resolving bare specifiers on the fly, since browsers don't natively support them.

    For more information and specific guidance, see the Tools and Workflows docs on


    What is a virtualizer?

    A virtualizer is an element that renders its own children, applying the provided renderItem template function to each item in the provided items array.

    Instead of immediately rendering a child element for every item in the array, a virtualizer renders only enough elements to fill the viewport. As the viewport scrolls or resizes, the virtualizer automatically removes elements that are no longer visible and adds elements that have come into view.

    By default, a virtualizer is not itself a scroller. Rather, it is a block-level element that sizes itself to take up enough space for all of its children, including those that aren't currently present in the DOM. It adds and removes child elements as needed whenever the window (or some other scrollable ancestor of the virtualizer) is scrolled or resized. It is possible, however, to make a virtualizer into a scroller.

    <lit-virtualizer> element

    The most common way to make a virtualizer is to use the <lit-virtualizer> element. Here's how you would use <lit-virtualizer> inside a Lit element's render method:

    render() {
      return html`
        <h2>My Contacts</h2>
          .renderItem=${contact => html`<div>${}: ${}</div>`}

    Note: The examples throughout this documentation focus on the <lit-virtualizer> element, but the virtualize directive provides an alternative that may be useful in certain cases.

    Making a virtualizer a scroller

    If you want to make a virtualizer that is itself a scroller, just add the scroller attribute to the <lit-virtualizer> element, or add scroller: true to the options object for the virtualize directive:

    render() {
      return html`
          .renderItem=${contact => html`<div>${}: ${}</div>`}

    When you make a virtualizer a scroller, you should explicitly size it to suit the needs of your layout. (By default, it has a min-height of 150 pixels to prevent it from collapsing to a zero-height block, but this default will rarely be what you want in practice.)


    @lit-labs/virtualizer currently supports two basic layouts, flow (the default) and grid, which together cover a wide range of common use cases.

    If you just want a vertical flow layout, then there's no need to do anything; that's what a virtualizer does out of the box. But if you want to select the grid layout instead, or if you want to set an option on the flow layout, then you'll use the virtualizer's layout property to do so. Here's an example:

    // First, import the layout you want to use. The reference returned
    // is a function that takes an optional configuration object.
    import {grid} from '@lit-labs/virtualizer/layouts/grid.js';
    // Inside your element's `render` function, use the imported function
    // to set the virtualizer's `layout` property. In this case, we omit
    // the configuration object so we'll get `grid`'s default options.
    render() {
      return html`
          .renderItem=${photo => html`<img src=${photo.url}>`}

    The layout system in @lit-labs/virtualizer is pluggable; custom layouts will eventually be supported via a formal layout authoring API. However, the layout authoring API is currently undocumented and less stable than other parts of the API. It is likely that official support of custom layouts will be a post-1.0 feature.

    Flow layout

    By default, a virtualizer lays out its children using the flow layout, a simplified form of the browser's own default layout.

    The flow layout's primary (and significant) simplification is that it expects all child elements to be styled as block-level elements and lays them out accordingly. Child elements will never be laid out "next to each other" inline, even if there were enough space to do so.

    Child element size is determined "naturally"—that is, the size of each child element will depend on the data you provide in the items array, the nature of your renderItem template, and any CSS rules that apply to the child.

    Spacing child elements

    To control the spacing of child elements, use standard CSS techniques to set margins on the elements.

    Note that the flow layout offers limited support for margin-collapsing: margins set explicitly on child elements will be collapsed, but any margins on elements contained within child elements are not considered.

    Specifying layout direction

    The flow layout works vertically by default. However, it also supports laying out child elements horizontally, via its direction property:

      render() {
        return html`
              direction: 'horizontal'
            .renderItem=${photos => html`<img src=${photo.url}>`}

    Grid layout


    Scrolling to a specific item or position


    virtualize directive

    An alternative way to use @lit-labs/virtualizer is via the virtualize directive; this directive turns its parent element into a virtualizer.

    The virtualize directive is useful primarily if your project utilizes Lit templates but not the LitElement base class and you want to keep your imports to a minimum.

    It can also be useful in cases like the one below, where we want to virtualize an unordered list (<ul>) element and don't want or need a separate container for its <li> children:

    render() {
      return html`
            items: this.contacts,
            renderItem: contact => html`<li>${}</li>`

    The capabilities of the virtualizer directive are the same as those of the <lit-virtualizer> element. The APIs are the same as well, except that features expressed as properties and attributes on the <lit-virtualizer> element are instead expressed as properties in an options object passed as the single argument to the virtualize directive.

    API Referrence

    items property

    Type: Array<T>

    An array of items (JavaScript values, typically objects) representing the child elements of the virtualizer.

    The types of values you use to represent your items are entirely up to you, as long as your renderItem function can transform each value into a child element.

    renderItem property

    Type: (item: T, index?: number) => TemplateResult

    A function that returns a Lit TemplateResult. It will be used to generate a child element for each item in the items array.

    scroller attribute / property

    Type: Boolean

    Optional. If this attribute is present (or, in the case of the virtualize directive, if this property has a truthy value), then the virtualizer itself will be a scroller. Otherwise, the virtualizer will not scroll but will size itself to take up enough space for all of its children, including those that aren't currently present in the DOM.

    scrollToIndex method

    Type: (index: number, position?: string) => void

    where position is: 'start'|'center'|'end'|'nearest'

    Scroll to the item at the given index. Place the item at the given position within the viewport. For example, if index is 100 and position is end, then the bottom of the item at index 100 will be at the bottom of the viewport. Position defaults to start.

    Note: Details of the scrollToIndex API are likely to change before the 1.0 release, but changes required to your existing code should be minimal and mechanical in nature.

    Example usage:

    // Where `myVirtualizer` is a reference to a <lit-virtualizer> instance, this
    // will scroll to the 100th item and put it in the center of the viewport.
    myVirtualizer.scrollToIndex(100, 'center');

    visibilityChanged event

    Fired whenever a change to the viewport (due to scrolling or resizing) affects the set of virtualizer child elements that are currently visible. The first property represents the index of the first visible element; the last property represents the index of the last visible element.

    rangeChanged event

    Fired whenever a virtualizer adds child elements to the DOM, or removes child elements from the DOM. The first property represents the index of the first element currently present in the DOM; the last property represents the index of the last element currently present in the DOM.

    Note that a virtualizer maintains a "buffer" of elements that are in the DOM but just outside the viewport, so the set of elements in the DOM will be somewhat larger than the set of visible elements.




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