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Horizontal scrolling with jQuery

Learn how to easily make horizontal anchors with jQuery

Posted in Code snippets, Tutorials, jQuery, JavaScript

I've got a freelance job from a Brazilian company few days ago. The project is fine, nothing so different than the usual. Except for one thing: They want the page to scroll horizontally.

The clients are getting creative these days...

My biggest problem is the main menu: If the page would be normal I could use anchor. But I can't since anchors don't work on the horizontal.

Fortunatelly the solution is easy: .scrollLeft()

What .scrollLeft() does is simple: It returns the position of the horizontal scroll bar. And if we pass a parameter it will set the scroll bar where we want.

I have an example on how it's done. Let's walk through it:

HTML

Very simple, no problem at all. Only one navigation and a couple of divs just to give something to work with:

<header>
    <nav>
        <ul>
            <li><a class="nav-item1" href="#">Item 1a>li>
            <li><a class="nav-item2" href="#">Item 2a>li>
            <li><a class="nav-item3" href="#">Item 3a>li>
        ul>
    nav>
header>
<section>
    <div class="item item1">Item 1div>
    <div class="item item2">Item 2div>
    <div class="item item3">Item 3div>
section>

CSS

The CSS is very basic, just to give some formatting:

<style type="text/css">
    nav { position: fixed; z-index: 1030; }
    section { width: 3600px; top: 100px; position: relative; overflow: auto; }
    .item{ float: left; position: relative; width: 900px; height: 500px; font-size: 200px; }
    .item1 { background: #f00; }
    .item2 { background: #0f0; }
    .item3 { background: #00f; }
style>

Javascript

Since we have 3 items I've created a function which groups everything. In that way I am able to keep the code clean, without repeating important parts:

function horizontalNavigation(position, event) {
    $('html').scrollLeft(position);
    event.preventDefault();
}

And here is where the magic happens:

$('.nav-item1').click(function (event) {
    horizontalNavigation(0, event);
});
$('.nav-item2').click(function (event) {
    horizontalNavigation(900, event);
});
$('.nav-item3').click(function (event) {
    horizontalNavigation(1800, event);
});

See the working example.

There is only one problem with this code: What if I want to have a smoothly horizontal scrolling? For that we can use .animate(). Solution in bold bellow:

function horizontalNavigation(position, event) {
    $('html').animate({scrollLeft: position}, 800);
event.preventDefault(); }

See the working example.

As you can see it is not so complicated as it looks. Just a bit of work, but quite easy.

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