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Modals & overlays

Updated on February 2, 2021

There are times when you may need to work on additional items, or reveal more actions or visuals in a visually heavy screen. Below are the common ways to reveal this extra information.

Modal dialogs

Modals are used to work with large amounts of data that would need a new page to complete. Modals are great for wizards and long forms because they focus a user on the new task without switching context. Modals do not stack on top of each other; they all share a common Y-axis reveal and are as wide as the primary column on a split layout page.

Default modal style

Used on large screens and tablets, they fix themselves just below the header and expand downward as needed. They must leave at least 40 pixels of space at the bottom and scroll overflow content inside. Modals are the same width as the primary layout column in a harness and need dual "Cancel" actions, as some users miss the "x" in the top right corner to dismiss the modal.

Mobile modal style

On smaller mobile screens, the modal slides in from the bottom of the screen covering both the content and navigation.


Overlays are used to show a small piece of related data or smaller flow for a specific element on the screen.

They are not meant to handle massive forms or wizard flows. Overlays can stack on top of other overlays and modals, provided they are launched from that overlay or modal. Overlays can be dismissed by interacting anywhere outside the overlay.

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