Skip to content

Responsive images using `srcset`

How to use the HTML img tag srcset attribute to define responsive images

The srcset attribute of the img tag allows you to set responsive images that the browser can use depending on the pixel density or window width, according to your preferences. This way, it can only download the resources it needs to render the page, without downloading a bigger image if it's on a mobile device, for example.

Here's an example, where we give 4 additional images for 4 different screen sizes:

<img src="dog.png"
  alt="A picture of a dog"
  srcset="dog-500.png 500w,
         dog-800.png 800w,
       dog-1000.png 1000w,
       dog-1400.png 1400w">

In the srcset we use the w measure to indicate the window width.

Since we do so, we also need to use the sizes attribute:

<img src="dog.png"
  alt="A picture of a dog"
  sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, (max-width: 900px) 50vw, 800px"
  srcset="dog-500.png 500w,
         dog-800.png 800w,
       dog-1000.png 1000w,
       dog-1400.png 1400w">

In this example the (max-width: 500px) 100vw, (max-width: 900px) 50vw, 800px string in the sizes attribute describes the size of the image in relation to the viewport, with multiple conditions separated by a comma.

The media condition max-width: 500px sets the size of the image in correlation to the viewport width. In short, if the window size is < 500px, it renders the image at 100% of the window size.

If the window size is bigger but < 900px, it renders the image at 50% of the window size.

And if even bigger, it renders the image at 800px.

The vw unit of measure can be new to you, and in short we can say that 1 vw is 1% of the window width, so 100vw is 100% of the window width.

A useful website to generate the srcset and progressively smaller images is https://responsivebreakpoints.com/.

→ Download my free HTML Handbook!

THE VALLEY OF CODE

THE WEB DEVELOPER's MANUAL

You might be interested in those things I do:

  • Learn to code in THE VALLEY OF CODE, your your web development manual
  • Find a ton of Web Development projects to learn modern tech stacks in practice in THE VALLEY OF CODE PRO
  • I wrote 16 books for beginner software developers, DOWNLOAD THEM NOW
  • Every year I organize a hands-on cohort course coding BOOTCAMP to teach you how to build a complex, modern Web Application in practice (next edition February-March-April-May 2024)
  • Learn how to start a solopreneur business on the Internet with SOLO LAB (next edition in 2024)
  • Find me on X

Related posts that talk about html: