Ugly Duck

Animated Radio Tab Toggles

January 5, 2021

In this demo tutorial, we are making the assumption that we need to create a radio slide toggle for our made-up payment options. For this we want to display 3 simple payment choices to the user:

The Final Demo

Let’s get started with the base skeleton.


There isn’t anything special happening here. We just contain all our labels and inputs into a .radio-toggles wrapper, make sure those labels are each properly connected to their corresponding inputs, and then add an empty .slide-item element (more on that later).

<div class="radio-toggles">

    <input type="radio" id="option-1" name="radio-options">
    <label for="option-1">One-Time</label>
    <input type="radio" id="option-2" name="radio-options" checked>
    <label for="option-2">Recurring</label>
    <input type="radio" id="option-3" name="radio-options">
    <label for="option-3">Free</label>
    <div class="slide-item"></div>



Now for the main event – the CSS. First we want to style the wrapper that holds all of our pieces together. You can tweak this to your liking, but I prefer a simple and clean style:

.radio-toggles {
    align-items: center;
    background: #eee;
    border: 1px solid lightgrey;
    border-radius: 9999px;
    display: flex;
    justify-content: center;
    margin: 20px auto;
    max-width: 400px;
    overflow: hidden;
    padding: 4px;
    position: relative;

Next, we “hide” (only visually) the default radio inputs:

input[type="radio"] {
    left: -9999px;
    position: absolute;
    z-index: -1;

Then we give the corresponding label elements a little spacing and breathing room:

label {
    cursor: pointer;
    padding: 10px 20px;
    text-align: center;
    width: 33.33%;
    z-index: 2;

Remember that .slide-item I referenced earlier? That element will be the visual “slider” that animates between the individual radio options. We style that like so:

.slide-item {
    background: white;
    border-radius: 9999px;
    box-shadow: 0 2px 4px rgba(0,0,0,0.15);
    height: calc(100% - 8px);
    left: calc(33.33% + 4px);
    position: absolute;
    width: calc(33.33% - 8px);
    transition: left .4s;
    z-index: 0;

You’ll notice the left, height, and width properties utilize the CSS calc attributes – this just gives some much needed padding and visual clean-up to the whole tabbed interface.

For the finishing touches, we just need to tell the .slide-item where to position itself based on which radio input is currently selected:

input[type="radio"]:nth-of-type(1):checked ~ .slide-item {
    left: 4px;
input[type="radio"]:nth-of-type(3):checked ~ .slide-item {
    left: calc(66.66% + 4px);

That’s pretty much it! You now have a fully functional, animated toggle slider with just a set of simple radio inputs and pure CSS.

~ fin ~