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Tailwind for Create-React-App Cheat Sheet

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2020-06-12 Updates

  1. Replaced autoprefixer with postcss-preset-env, which supports autopprefixer and more. Set up instruction can be found in the official documentation too.
  2. Tailwind CSS version 1.4.4 supports purge css natively. Installation for purgecss & @fullhuman/postcss-purgecss are removed.

2020-02-29 Updates

  1. Replaced concurrently with npm-run-all
  2. Fixed initial empty page load - Added sleep 5 in package.json.

Based on https://github.com/billimarie/simple-react-tailwind-tutorial


I will assume that you know how to create a new React site using Create-React-App and created a site.

Table of Contents

  1. Install DEV dependencies
  2. Create Tailwind configuration file
  3. Configure PostCSS for Tailwind
  4. Create a Tailwind file
  5. Create NPM scripts
  6. Import Tailwind CSS Output

1. Install DEV dependencies

# yarn
yarn add -D npm-run-all cross-env cssnano postcss-cli purgecss tailwindcss postcss-preset-env
# npm
npm i -D npm-run-all cross-env cssnano postcss-cli purgecss tailwindcss postcss-preset-env

2. Create Tailwind configuration file

npx tailwind init tailwind.config.js

3. Configure PostCSS for Tailwind

  1. Create a file postcss.config.js in the project root.
# bash
touch postcss.config.js
# Powershell
new-item postcss.config.js
  1. Configure Post CSS to work with Tailwind
    1. postcss-preset-env - Supports newer CSS syntax and much more! (e.g. replaces autoprefixer)
    2. cssnano - Minify CSS to reduce bundle size
module.exports = {
  plugins: [

4. Create a Tailwind file

Create a file ./src/styles/tailwind.css.

# bash
mkdir -p ./src/styles/ && touch ./src/styles/tailwind.css
# Powershell
new-item ./src/styles/tailwind.css -ItemType File -Force

Add following Tailwind utilities

@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;

5. Create NPM Scripts

package.json scripts.

  1. build:css - converts Tailwind to CSS
  2. watch:css - Watch Tailwind changes and writes CSS
  3. env:dev/prod - Sets an environment variable for development or production mode
  4. react-scripts:start: Starts 5 seconds later to prevent an initial empty page
  5. react-scripts:build: Creates a production-ready bundle
  6. start - Watches Tailwind changes and starts CRA
  7. build - Build Tailwind and production version of CRA site
"scripts": {
  "build:css": "cross-env NODE_ENV=production postcss src/styles/tailwind.css -o src/styles/index.css",
  "watch:css": "cross-env NODE_ENV=development postcss src/styles/tailwind.css -o src/styles/index.css --watch",
  "react-scripts:start": "sleep 5 && react-scripts start",
  "react-scripts:build": "react-scripts build",
  "start": "run-p watch:css react-scripts:start",
  "build": "run-s build:css react-scripts:build",
  "test": "react-scripts test",
  "eject": "react-scripts eject"

6. Import Tailwind CSS Output

  1. Go to ./src/index.js
  2. Replace import './index.css'; with import './styles/index.css';


  1. create-react-app template in TypeScript (created by me 🙂), cra-template-tailwindcss-typescript.
    • Scaffold a new CRA app like npx create-react-app my-app --template tailwindcss-typescript
    • Most of steps in this post is used in the project
  2. Demo repository - https://github.com/dance2die/template.tailwind.cra
    • Created by following this post
  3. CodeSandbox template - https://codesandbox.io/s/create-react-app-tailwind-oqvyu
    • You can fork and play around with Tailwind + React with this one :)

Image Credit: Patent Model of a Sheet-Feed Apparatus for Printing Machines


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