SVG Viewbox

Today I wrote an article for the Praxis blog outlining four free charting/visualization tools and showing examples of visualizations created with those tools. One outputs SVGs, but they are a fixed size. But since SVGs are just code, I figured I could make it responsive.

First I tried the old responsive image trick: width: 100%; height: auto; – This resulted in the SVG scaling, but only the top 10% was visible.

After some Googling, I came across this article: How to Scale SVG on CSS Tricks. Here I learned about the viewbox attribute. The viewBox does many things:

  • It defines the aspect ratio of the image.
  • It defines how all the lengths and coordinates used inside the SVG should be scaled to fit the total space available.
  • It defines the origin of the SVG coordinate system, the point where x=0 and y=0.

My original SVG was 848px by 500px. So, I set viewbox="0 0 848 500" and width=100% and removed the height attribute.

This led to a nice scalable SVG:

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