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Customizing React Data Grid: Styling and Theming Approaches

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July 29, 2023


July 29, 2023

A React Data Grid is a powerful tool for displaying and interacting with data in a web application. However, out of the box, React Data Grids can look a bit unattractive. That's where styling and theming come in.

With the styling and theming, you can customize the look and feel of your React Data Grid to match your application's branding. You can change the colors, fonts, and layout of your React Data Grid to create a unique and visually appealing user experience.

In this blog post, we will discuss the React Data Grid,  why it is important to customize them, and the different approaches to customize React Data Grid. 

What is React Data Grid?

React Data Grid is a feature-rich, powerful, and flexible grid component that provides a set of tools and functionalities for building interactive data tables, spreadsheets, or grid-based interfaces in React applications. It offers a comprehensive and customizable solution for displaying, editing, and managing tabular data.

React Data Grid simplifies the development process by handling complex data operations such as sorting, filtering, pagination, and cell editing out of the box. It provides a performant and efficient way to handle large datasets, allowing for smooth scrolling and rendering optimizations.

React Data Grid: Must have data grid features in your component library

Whether you are building your own custom data grid component or using a third-party library, it's good to ensure that your React Data Grid component has the following features. 

Column Definitions: 

React Data Grid should allow you to define columns with various properties such as column header text, width, data type, and cell renderers. These definitions determine the structure and behavior of the grid's columns.

Sorting and Filtering: 

React Data Grid should provide built-in support for sorting and filtering data based on column values. Users can interactively sort columns in ascending or descending order and apply filters to refine the displayed data.

Cell Editing:

React Data Grid should enable users to edit cell values directly within the grid. It supports various types of cell editors, including text input, dropdowns, checkboxes, and custom editors. Cell validation and data synchronization are handled seamlessly.

Pagination and Virtualization: 

When working with large datasets, React Data Grid must offer pagination and virtualization capabilities. Pagination allows you to divide data into pages, improving performance by rendering only the visible portion. Virtualization optimizes memory usage by rendering only the rows that are currently visible in the viewport, reducing the initial load time.

Customization and Theming: 

React Data Grid should provide extensive customization options to tailor the grid's appearance and behavior. You can apply custom styles, define cell renderers, customize headers, and handle events to create a visually consistent and personalized data grid.


React Data Grid should emphasize accessibility by adhering to WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) standards. It ensures that users with disabilities can navigate, interact with, and comprehend the data grid using assistive technologies.

React Data Grid is widely used in various applications that require efficient data representation, management, and interaction. Its flexibility, performance optimizations, and extensive feature set make it a popular choice for building sophisticated data-driven interfaces in React projects.

Why is it important to customize Data Grids?

There are a few reasons why it is important to customize React Data Grids.

  1. Unique look and feel

Customization allows you to make your React Data Grids look and feel unique. This can help to improve the user experience of your application and make it more visually appealing.

  1. Application branding:

Customization allows you to match the look and feel of your React Data Grids to your application's branding. This can help to create a more cohesive and consistent user experience.

  1. Improves accessibility:

Customization can help you to improve the accessibility of your React Data Grids. For example, you can use CSS to change the font size and color of your React Data Grids to make them easier to read for people with visual impairments.

What are the different approaches to customizing Data Grids?

There are several ways to customize React Data Grids, each offering different levels of flexibility and control. Let's explore the various approaches:

CSS Overrides:

CSS overrides involve inspecting the React Data Grid's elements using browser developer tools and identifying the relevant CSS classes. You can then create a separate CSS file or style block and override the default styles by targeting those classes. 

This method provides flexibility and allows you to selectively modify specific styles.

Inline Styling:

React Data Grid provides a range of style-related props that allow you to apply inline styles directly to grid components. By using these props, you can have fine-grained control over individual elements of the grid. 

Inline styling is particularly useful when you need to dynamically change styles based on data or user interactions.

CSS Preprocessors and Styling Libraries:

CSS preprocessors like Sass or CSS-in-JS libraries such as Styled Components can be employed to streamline the customization process. These tools offer advanced features like variables, mixins, and nesting, enabling you to write more maintainable and reusable stylesheets. 

Using preprocessors or styling libraries can enhance productivity and make styling React Data Grids more efficient.

Theming with Custom Theme Configuration:

React Data Grid provides the ability to define a custom theme configuration. With this approach, you can override default styles for various elements of the grid, such as headers, rows, and cells. By specifying your own styles within the theme configuration, you can achieve consistent and coherent visual customization across your application. 

Custom theme configuration is particularly useful when you want to maintain a unified look and feel throughout your application.

Theming with CSS Variables:

CSS variables, also known as CSS custom properties, offer a flexible theming approach for React Data Grids. By defining variables for colors, fonts, spacing, and other visual properties, you can easily switch themes by modifying these variables at runtime. 

CSS variables provide a powerful and dynamic way to customize the grid's appearance, allowing for easier theming and style adjustments.

Third-Party Theming Libraries:

Several third-party libraries, such as react-data-grid-addons and react-grid-system, offer pre-built themes and customization options for React Data Grids. These libraries provide ready-to-use themes and advanced styling features, saving you time and effort in creating custom styles from scratch. 

By leveraging these libraries, you can quickly apply predefined themes or customize them to match your application's design requirements.

However, before selecting the library one must look into its features such as sorting, remote data source, pagination, row grouping, cell editing/formatting, Inline edit with custom editor support, Filtering with built-in filters, Stacked columns, Row selection, Cell selection, Keyboard navigation, and so on. 

The above customization approach has its own advantages, and the choice depends on your specific needs, project complexity, and personal preferences. Combining different techniques can also be an option, allowing you to achieve the desired level of customization and visual appeal for your React Data Grids.

React Data Grid example using “adazzle/react-data-grid” library

Let's create a React data grid using the popular library called “React Data Grid” (also known as "adazzle/react-data-grid"). This library provides a powerful and customizable grid component for displaying and manipulating tabular data in React applications.

Check out more about the library on GitHub.

To get started, make sure you have a React project set up. If you haven't already, you can create a new React project using Create React App (CRA) by running the following command in your terminal:

Once your project is set up, navigate to the project directory:

Now, let's install the React Data Grid library:

With the library installed, you can start creating your data grid component. Open the src/App.js file in your favorite code editor and replace the existing code with the following example:

In this example, we import the DataGrid component from the 'react-data-grid' library. We define an array of columns that specifies the column configuration for the grid, and an array of rows that represents the data to be displayed.

Inside the App component, we render the DataGrid component and pass in the columns and rows as props. We also set the height of the grid container to 300 pixels.

Save the file, and you're ready to run your React application. In the terminal, run the following command:

After a moment, your React application should start, and you can open it in your browser at http://localhost:3000. You should see a data grid displayed with three columns (ID, Name, Age) and three rows of sample data.

Congratulations! You have created a basic React data grid using the React Data Grid library. You can further customize the grid by exploring the library's documentation and adding additional features like sorting, filtering, and cell editing based on your specific requirements.

Build your next data-intensive app with React Data Grid component

If you are building data-intensive apps then the React Data Grid component is what you must have.

In the blog we have learned about React Data Grid, why it's important to customize data grids, and different approaches to customize them. 

If you are looking for the React Data Grid Component library or building your own, keep in mind that they should have built-in functionalities like data binding, pagination, sorting, filtering, inline editing, and grouping. 

Moreover, if you are looking for a Modern app development platform for efficient React application development look no other than DhiWise. Its React app builder empowers you to build applications with JavaScript or TypeScript. 

And to accelerate your app development process the app builder provides features such as design-to-code conversion, UI customization, API Integration, and support for Storybook and Vercel deployment with GitHub

Then what are you waiting for? Sign up with DhiWise, and build your next app faster. 

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

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