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The Importance of CSS Visibility,Visible vs. Hidden in React

Updated: at 11:18 PM

The Importance of CSS Visibility: Visible vs. Hidden in React Components

In the nuanced world of web development, especially within the React ecosystem, the decision between rendering a component as null or using CSS to control its visibility (visibility: hidden) can significantly influence the user interface and overall user experience. This choice becomes critically important in complex UI structures, such as HTML tables, where preserving the layout’s integrity is paramount. In this blog post, we explore why opting for CSS visibility: hidden is often the superior choice over rendering null, especially in the context of table layouts.


The Problem with Rendering Null in Tables

Consider a React component designed to dynamically display data within an HTML table. Each row in this table represents a dataset, with each cell displaying a piece of information or a related action. Now, imagine a scenario where a particular action or piece of data is conditionally rendered based on the component’s state or props. A common approach might be to render the component as null when it’s deemed unnecessary.

However, this approach introduces a significant layout issue: when the component is not rendered (null), the table cell collapses. This collapse causes all subsequent columns to shift, leading to a jarring user experience as elements on the page move unexpectedly. The issue becomes even more pronounced in complex tables where multiple components might be conditionally rendered across different rows, resulting in an inconsistent and confusing layout.

Here’s a simplified example of what that table might look like, now including an additional cell to highlight the issue:

    <th>Email Rule</th>
    <th>Update Status</th>
    <td>Rule 1</td>
      {/* Conditional rendering based on some state */}
      {isEditing ? <EditComponent /> : null}
    <td>More Actions</td>

Why CSS visibility: hidden is a Better Approach

Opting for CSS visibility: hidden to hide a component, rather than rendering it as null, offers a seamless solution to the layout shifting problem. When visibility: hidden is applied, the element is visually hidden but still occupies its designated space in the layout. This ensures that the table’s structure remains intact, regardless of the component’s visibility, preventing any unexpected layout shifts.

Let’s refactor our previous example to use visibility: hidden, demonstrating a more stable approach:

interface DisplayRuleCompareWithStatsProps {
  rule: EmailRuleType;
  updatingId: string;

const DisplayRuleCompareWithStats: React.FC<DisplayRuleCompareWithStatsProps> = ({ rule, updatingId }) => {
  const showing = updatingId ===;
  return (
    <td style={{
            visibility: showing ? "visible" : "hidden",
            marginLeft: "10px",
      {rule.ruleCompareValue} {showing ? "Updating..." : ""}

In this version, the component’s visibility toggles based on the updatingId, ensuring that the table’s layout remains stable and providing a smoother user experience.

A Note on Styling Practices

In the examples provided, we’ve used the style attribute for simplicity. However, in a real-world application, you’d likely manage your styles through CSS classes or separate stylesheets. This approach not only keeps your components clean and maintainable but also allows for more complex styling strategies that might be required for a polished and professional UI.

The Impact on User Experience

Choosing between rendering null and using visibility: hidden might seem inconsequential at first glance, but it has a profound impact on the user experience. A stable and consistent layout, free from unexpected shifts and jumps, is crucial for maintaining user engagement and satisfaction. It reflects a level of polish and professionalism in the application’s development, indicating that careful attention has been paid to ensure a seamless and accessible user interface.


In professional web development, the details matter. Opting for CSS visibility: hidden over rendering components as null in certain scenarios, such as within HTML tables, is one such detail that can significantly enhance the stability and consistency of the UI. This approach not only prevents layout shifts but also contributes to a more polished and professional-looking application. As developers, we should always strive to make choices that improve our users’ experiences, demonstrating our commitment to quality and attention to detail in every aspect of our work.