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How to Make a Folder “Slit” Effect With CSS

How to Make a Folder “Slit” Effect With CSS

When you put something — say a regular sheet of paper — in a manilla folder, a part of that thing might peek out of the folder a little bit. The same sort of thing with a wallet and credit cards. The cards poke out just a smidge so you can get a quick glance of which cards you’re carrying.

I call this sort of thing a “slit”. A slit is where we create the illusion of an opening through which we can tease a visual element peeking out of it. And we can do that in CSS!

The crucial part of the design is the shadow, which is what gives the visual cue of there being a slit. Then there’s the cover for the slit which provides the space for the exhibited element to peek through from under.

Here’s what we’re going to make together:

The cover is the other element in the design. The cover is what I call the element that overlaps the shadow. Here’s a figure depicting how the shadow and cover come together.

The shadow is made from a small upright rectangle that has a gradient background. The gradient is darker in the middle. So when the element is blurred, it creates a shadow that’s darker in the middle; hence more dimensional.

Now, the left half of the recreated shadow is covered with a rectangle on top, colored exactly the same as the background of its container.

Both the cover and the shadow are then moved to the left ever so slightly so it appears to be layered

In the source code of my example, you’ll notice that I aligned and stacked the elements inside the <main> element using CSS Grid, which is a layout standard I often use in my demos. If you’re recreating a similar design, use a layout method that fits the best for your application to align the different parts of the design. In this case, I’ve set up a single-column grid on the <main> element which allows me to center align the cover, shadow, and image.

What CSS Grid also allows me to do is set all three of those divs so they are all full-width in the <main> container:

This gets everything to stack on top of one another. Normally, we work hard to avoid covering elements with other elements in a grid. But this example relies on it. I’ve given the .slit-cover at width of 50% which naturally reveals the image underneath it. From there, I set a transform on it that moves it 50% in the negative direction, plus the small amount I shifted the shadow earlier (25px) to make sure that is revealed as well.

And there we have it! A pretty natural-looking slit that mimics something peeking out of a folder, wallet, or whatever.


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