John Russell Blog

Fancybox Position Problem

When it comes to web design and development it’s always nice to be able to use well established libraries and frameworks to speed up development and deployment. JQuery is probably the best example of how a framework can be used to speed up development, and through its success many plugins have been built on top of it to provide custom functionality and features. One such plugin is fancyBox, by fancyApps, which allows for extremely simple implementation of lightbox modals for single images, image galleries, videos, or even entire web pages. Being able to add sleek functionality like this to a website with just a few lines of code is quite impressive… until it all falls apart.

The Problem

Using someone else’s library or framework is always subject to adhering to the confines and constraints needed for their code to work properly, but when things don’t work properly it can sometimes be difficult to determine what is causing the problem. I recently ran into a couple problems with the fancyBox plugin (while using it for an image gallery) that, though it didn’t break the functionality, completely broke the user experience. The first problem was that each time an image was viewed in the fancyBox modal and then closed the page would immediately be scrolled to the very top. The second problem was that the open and closing effect for opening the fancyBox modal (set to elastic) was zooming in and out of the center of the window rather than the location of the thumbnail that was clicked. As mentioned before, neither of these problems caused the plugin to fail entirely, but visitors would certainly be thrown off by the odd behavior.

The Solution

Initially I searched Google to see if I was alone or if others were experiencing the same problem. Though not much was found, it did appear that others were having similar problems, however none of them provided concrete ways to resolve the problems. One such solution to the “scrolling to the top” problem was to add a helper object to the settings for fancyBox initialization, which disabled locking scrolling. The resulting code is listed below.

jQuery(document).ready(function() {
		padding: 0,

		openEffect : 'elastic',
		openSpeed  : 150,

		closeEffect : 'elastic',
		closeSpeed  : 150,

		closeClick : true,
		prevEffect : 'elastic',
		nextEffect : 'elastic',

		closeBtn  : true,
		arrows    : true,
		nextClick : true,

		helpers : {
			thumbs : {
				width  : 150,
				height : 150
			overlay: {
				locked: false

By adding the overlay, locked: false, helper it prevented fancyBox from adding the overlay (and setting the body overflow value to hidden), and thus fixed the problem. However, this shouldn’t have ever been a problem in the first place, and it also allowed users to scroll while viewing a modal, so I decided this was unacceptable and set the locked value back to true.

Some quick debugging with the Chrome inspector revealed that both problems were being caused by CSS set in my sites main and reset files. Knowing that the problems were caused by CSS I began methodically removing blocks of CSS (in the Chrome inspector) until the problem went away. This allowed me to narrow down the offending code that was causing the problem and eventually fix the problem, properly.

Eventually what I found was that the first problem, where closing a modal scrolled to the top of the page, was caused by my CSS reset file. The reset had a line that was setting “html” and “body” to a height of 100%, and since this was unnecessary for my project I simply removed the line and the scrolling problem went away. I didn’t inspect further the exact reason this was a problem, but I believe it was related to the overlay being hidden/removed and the browser temporarily thinking the page was only as tall as the window height (since overflow hidden was set on the html), and thus it scrolled to the top.

With the first problem resolved I moved on to the next, repeating the same debugging steps as the first time, only this time the offending line was in my main stylesheet. I eventually found that the fancyBox thumbnails were nested inside divs that were displaying block, anchors that were displaying inline, and then images (the thumbnails) that were displaying block. The problem was the anchors displaying as inline and the thumbnail children displaying block. This was causing the anchor elements to receive a default width and height of zero and was apparently causing problems with jQuery getting their position. Setting the anchors to display as block fixed the problem.

Overall, these weren’t big problems and weren’t very difficult to debug, but seeing the limited posts about similar problems in Google I thought I would share my experience in hopes that I could save a little time for others who are running into the same problems.





2 responses to “Fancybox Position Problem”

  1. Ricardo Rodríguez Avatar
    Ricardo Rodríguez

    Great!! I had the same problem but IT WORKS with the code you have posted! The only buggy thing I can see is in Chrome, because it seems like having some trouble to show it, fancybox didn’t place the black background transparency correctly. And when you want to hide it, place a white background cutted inside the browser, have you see that?

    1. laubsterboy Avatar

      Hi Ricardo! I’m glad you found the post helpful. As for the bug you’re having problems with, unfortunately I haven’t seen that exact behavior before, however it seems most likely to be a CSS issue. If you don’t mind sharing the URL (here or email: I would be happy to take a look and see if I can help.

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