A simple tool for visually displaying columns in a Bootstrap based page.

Project maintained by designmeltdown Hosted on GitHub Pages — Theme by mattgraham


A simple tool for visually displaying columns in a Bootstrap 3 based page. The objective was to give a visual outline and labeling of what column sizes are happening at different screen sizes. This helps debug and sort out building layouts with Bootstrap. In particular it proves its worth when mixing in push, pull and offset.

Visit the demo site to see how BootInspect outlines the containers, rows and columns. I think you will love it: BootInspect Demo


BootInspect is the product of Patrick McNeil. The creator of Design Meltdown.


BootInspect requires that you have jQuery running on the page. I am sure it could easily be adapted to not need it.. However, since this isn't something you leave in a site I went for simplicity of creating it in place of creating a self sustaining utility. Besides, jQuery and Bootstrap go hand in hand.

How to use it

Download the CSS and JS file and attach them to your page.

Or, simply load the GitHub hosted files into your page with this snippet (this is a hacky approach - but great for quick debugging):

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href=""> 
<script src=""></script>

NOTE: BootInspect requires jQuery. Be sure to attach the JS file to your page after your jQuery reference.

Simply remove the CSS and JS file when you are done building your page.


Seeing what this does is probably even more helpful:

Container, row and column outlines

Basic Columns Here you can see that BootInspect has outlined containers in blue, rows in red and columns in green. It uses CSS outlines so as to not mess up the spacing of things. Also you will notice it has labeled the columns to indicate which size column it is!

Communicates inherited column sizes

Basic Columns Note that the XS column is rendered in white while the medium ones are orange. This is because the current display size is medium. So all inherited col sizes are white, while the ones targeting the current size are yellow. If this browser were sized up to be large, the medium ones would turn white. Note, the orange tags are covering up any sm or xs col sizes they override.

Hides col sizes for larger screens

Smaller screen Here the same design is shown with a smaller screen size in the small range. Note the purple color used to indicate sm columns.

Helps with debugging complex layouts

Helpful for debugging In this screenshot you can see how it was helpful to debug. I was using push/pull to swap the two columns of content on larger screens in the white band of content. It was confusing where the columns start and end. With BootInspect on it was obvious that the first column was being pulled over one column too far.

Includes rough presentation of nested rows

Nested rows BootInspect roughly handles nested rows (1 layer deep at this time). It moves the nested column labels to the left. In this sample you can see the first column is nested. The outer one is set to col-md-4 while the inner ones are set to col-md-12.


This tool is not meant to replace BootLint. I find that the two work really well together.

Release History


Copyright (c) 2014 Patrick McNeil. Licensed under the MIT license.