Styling MDX Content: Theming and Layout

By: O Wolfson

When it comes to styling MDX content, the opportunities are as rich and varied as the content itself. MDX, a blend of Markdown and JSX, provides a powerful way to write rich content and embed dynamic components. Styling this content effectively can enhance readability, maintain consistency, and ensure your content looks as good as it reads. Below, we delve into some key techniques for styling MDX content, including CSS-in-JS usage, theming, and creating responsive layouts.

CSS-in-JS with MDX

CSS-in-JS is a styling technique where CSS is composed using JavaScript instead of defined in external files. This approach is particularly effective with MDX, as it allows for dynamic styling based on props or state within the MDX content.

  1. Scoped Styles: With CSS-in-JS libraries like Styled Components or Emotion, you can create scoped styles that apply only to specific components within your MDX. This encapsulation ensures styles don’t leak into other parts of your application.

  2. Dynamic Styling: Leverage JavaScript's power to create styles that change based on user interactions or data. For example, you can change the theme of a code block based on the user's preferred theme.

  3. Reusable Styles: Create styled components that can be reused across different MDX files. This approach not only maintains consistency but also makes your codebase more maintainable.

Implementing Themes in MDX

Theming is a crucial aspect of modern web design, especially for content-heavy sites. MDX works well with theming solutions like Theme UI, which allows you to define a theme object and use it consistently across your site.

  1. Defining a Theme: Start by defining a theme object that includes colors, fonts, font sizes, and other styling properties. This theme can then be accessed throughout your MDX content.

  2. Dark Mode Support: With a theme in place, implementing a dark mode becomes straightforward. Switch between light and dark color schemes based on user preference or system settings.

  3. Theming Components: When you embed JSX components in your MDX, these components can also be themed. This ensures a seamless visual transition between the Markdown content and interactive components.

Creating Responsive Layouts in MDX

Responsive design is non-negotiable in a world where content is consumed on a plethora of devices. MDX content needs to adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes.

  1. Media Queries: Use media queries within your CSS-in-JS or in external CSS files to adjust styles based on the viewport width. This could mean altering font sizes, margins, or layout configurations.

  2. Flexible Images and Embeds: Ensure that any media embedded in your MDX content, like images or iframes, are responsive. Techniques like using max-width: 100% and height: auto for images ensure that they scale properly.

  3. Grids and Flexbox: Utilize CSS grids and flexbox to create layouts that adapt to the screen size. These layouts can rearrange or resize content blocks in your MDX for optimal viewing on any device.


Styling MDX content effectively requires a thoughtful approach that considers the dynamic nature of the content and the diverse platforms it will be viewed on. By leveraging CSS-in-JS for scoped and dynamic styling, implementing a theming system for consistency, and ensuring responsive layouts, you can create MDX content that is as visually appealing as it is informative. Whether you’re building a blog, documentation, or any content-rich platform, these techniques will help you craft an engaging and aesthetically pleasing user experience.