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How to customize stack layouts with alignment and spacing

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

Updated for Xcode 13.0

You can add spacing inside your SwiftUI stacks by providing a value in the initializer, like this:

VStack(spacing: 50) {
    Text("SwiftUI")
    Text("rocks")
}

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The text “SwiftUI” some distance above the text “rocks”.

Alternatively, you can create dividers between items so that SwiftUI makes a small visual distinction between each item in the stack, like this:

VStack {
    Text("SwiftUI")
    Divider()
    Text("rocks")
}"

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The text “SwiftUI” above the text “rocks”. The two words are separated by a thin gray dividing line.

By default, items in your stacks are aligned centrally. In the case of HStack that means items are aligned to be vertically in the middle, so if you have two text views of different heights they would both be aligned to their vertical center. For VStack that means items are aligned to be horizontally in the middle, so if you have two text views of different lengths they would both be aligned to their horizontal center.

To adjust this, pass in an alignment when you create your stack, like this:

VStack(alignment: .leading) {
    Text("SwiftUI")
    Text("rocks")
}

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The text “SwiftUI” above the text “rocks”. The words' left edges are vertically aligned.

That will align both “SwiftUI” and “rocks” to their left edge, but they will still ultimately sit in the middle of the screen because the stack takes up only as much space as it needs.

You can of course use both alignment and spacing at the same time, like this:

VStack(alignment: .leading, spacing: 20) {
    Text("SwiftUI")
    Text("rocks")
}

Download this as an Xcode project

The text “SwiftUI” some distance above the text “rocks”. The words' left edges are vertically aligned.

That will align both text views horizontally to the leading edge (that’s left for left to right languages), and place 20 points of vertical space between them.

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