Theming and Styling Ionic 4 Apps

We have been building hybrid mobile apps with Ionic 4 and Angular for a couple of months now. One of the trick things about Ionic 4 is styling and theming.

In this article we'll show you some tips on how to do styling and theming for the latest Ionic 4 version.

Ionic 4 provides a simple theming system which uses Sass variables and cutsom CSS classes/styles to change components styling.

You can change default Ionic 4 colors by going to the src/theme/variables.scss and provides many predefined Ionic 4 Sass variables such as:

    $colors: (
    primary:    #387ef5,
    secondary:  #32db64,
    danger:     #f53d3d,
    light:      #f4f4f4,
    dark:       #222,
    customColor: #009688


Then to use any color inside $colors use the color attribute of the component with the name of the variable. For example:

    <ion-navbar color="primary">

You can also provide your own custom color names.

Ionic 4 also provides also a set of other predefined Sass variables For styling the toolbar such as

    $toolbar-background: #123456;
    $toolbar-border-color: #123456;
    $toolbar-text-color: #123456;
    $toolbar-active-color: #123456;
    $toolbar-inactive-color: #123456;
    $toolbar-title-color : #000;

To apply custom SCSS styles you have two options:

  • For global styles you can use src/app/app.scss
  • For page specific styles you can use src/pages/xxxx/xxxx.scss files.

How to hide or disable the ion-content scrollbar?

For previous versions of Ionic 4 you can use the setScrollDisabled method to disable the scrollbar but unfortunately starting from Ionic 2.0.0-rc.6 it is no longer available (public), so how to disable the ion-content scrollbar?

You can use direct class name. For example:

   .no-scroll .scroll-content{
         overflow: hidden;

Or even better to hide scrollbar but show it when there is a lot of content:

    .scroll-content {
            overflow-y: auto !important;

Make sure to add these CSS styles in the src/app/app.scss file.

How to apply custom styles to side Menus (ion-menu)

Ionic 4 side menus can be created using the <ion-menu> directive. Here is an example of an Ionic 4 menu:

    <ion-menu [content]="content">
        <ion-content >
            <ion-item (click)="openMain()" >Main</ion-item>
            <ion-item  (click)="openAbout()">About</ion-item>
            <ion-item (click)="openHelp()">Help</ion-item>
            <ion-item (click)="openContact()">Contact</ion-item>


    .menu-inner .item {
        background-color: #387ef5;

    .menu-inner > ion-header, 
    .menu-inner > ion-content, 
    .menu-inner > ion-footer {
        background-color: #123456; 

    .toolbar-title {
        color : #fff;

Styling the Toolbar (ion-toolbar)

To style the Ionic 4 toolbar or top bar you have a bunch of scss variables which are:

    $toolbar-background: #123456;
    $toolbar-border-color: #123456;
    $toolbar-text-color: #123456;
    $toolbar-active-color: #123456;
    $toolbar-inactive-color: #123456;    

Just put them in the variables.scss file and change their values to your desired colors.

ion-header, ion-content, ion-footer and ion-toolbar make part of every Ionic 4 page so you can either:

  • Add globals styles to these elements. In this case you need to put them in src/app/app.scss
  • or add specific page styles so for example to style only main page just add styles inside src/pages/main/main.scss
    page-main {

            background: #fff;
        .toolbar-title {
            color : #fff;


In this quick tutorial, we've seen many tricks to add styling and theming to your Ionic 4 application.

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About the author

Ahmed Bouchefra
is a web developer with 5+ years of experience and technical author with an engineering degree on software development. You can hire him with a click on the link above or contact him via his LinkedIn account. He authored technical content for the industry-leading websites such as SitePoint, Smashing, DigitalOcean, RealPython, freeCodeCamp, JScrambler, Pusher, and Auth0. He also co-authored various books about modern web development that you can find from Amazon or Leanpub

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