This article is in need of a technical review.

This is an experimental technology
Because this technology's specification has not stabilized, check the compatibility table for the proper prefixes to use in various browsers. Also note that the syntax and behavior of an experimental technology is subject to change in future versions of browsers as the spec changes.

The hyphens CSS property tells the browser how to hyphenate words when line-wrapping. You can prevent hyphenation entirely, control when the browser should hyphenate, or let the browser control when to hyphenate.

Hypenation rules are language-specific. In HTML, the language is determined by the lang attribute, and browsers will hyphenate only if this attribute is present and if an appropriate hyphenation dictionary is available. On XML, the xml:lang attribute must be used.

Note: The rules defining how hyphenation is performed are not explicitly defined by the specification, so the exact hyphenation may vary from browser to browser.

Syntax

hyphens: none;
hyphens: manual;
hyphens: auto;

/* Global values */
hyphens: inherit;
hyphens: initial;
hyphens: unset;

Values

none
Words are not broken at line breaks, even if characters inside the words suggest line break points. Lines will only wrap at whitespace.
manual
Words are broken for line-wrapping only where characters inside the word suggest line break opportunities. See Suggesting line break opportunities for details.
auto
The browser is free to automatically break words at appropriate hyphenation points, following whatever rules it chooses to use. Suggested line break opportunities, as covered in Suggesting line break opportunities, should be preferred over automatically selecting break points whenever possible.
Note: The auto setting's behavior depends on the language being properly tagged so that the appropriate hyphenation rules can be selected. You must specify a language using the lang HTML attribute in order to guarantee that automatic hyphenation is applied in the language of your choice.

Suggesting line break opportunities

There are two Unicode characters that can be used to manually specify potential line break points within text:

U+2010 (HYPHEN)
The "hard" hyphen character indicates a visible line break opportunity. Even if the line is not actually broken at that point, the hyphen is still rendered.
U+00AD (SHY)
An invisible, "soft" hyphen. This character is not rendered visibly; instead, it suggests a place where the browser might choose to break the word if necessary. In HTML, you can use ­ to insert a soft hyphen.

Formal syntax

none | manual | auto

Example

This CSS snippet creates three classes, one for each possible configuration of the hyphens property.

<ul>
  <li><code>none</code>: no hyphen; overflow if needed
    <p lang="en" class="none">An extreme&shy;ly long English word</p>
  </li>  
  <li><code>manual</code>: hyphen only at &amp;hyphen; or &amp;shy; (if needed)
    <p lang="en" class="manual">An extreme&shy;ly long English word</p>
  </li>
  <li><code>auto</code>: hyphen where the algo is deciding (if needed)
    <p lang="en" class="auto">An extreme&shy;ly long English word</p>
  </li>
</ul>
p { 
  width: 55px;
  border: 1px solid black;
 }
p.none {
  -moz-hyphens: none;
  hyphens: none;
}
p.manual {
  -moz-hyphens: manual;
  hyphens: manual;
}
p.auto {
  -moz-hyphens: auto;
  hyphens: auto;
}

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Text Level 3
The definition of 'hyphens' in that specification.
Working Draft Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 13-webkit[1] 6.0 (6.0)-moz[2] 10.0-ms[3] Not supported 5.1-webkit
Hyphenation dictionary for Afrikaans (af, af-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Bulgarian (bg, bg-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Catalan (ca, ca-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Croatian (hr, hr-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Czech (cs, cs-*) Not supported Not supported 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Danish (da, da-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Dutch (nl, nl-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) 10.0 Not supported 5.1
Hyphenation dictionary for English (en, en-*) Not supported 6.0 (6.0)[4] 10.0 Not supported 5.1[5]
Hyphenation dictionary for Esperanto (eo, eo-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Estonian (et, et-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Finnish (fi, fi-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for French (fr, fr-*) Not supported 8.0 (8.0) 10.0 Not supported 5.1
Hyphenation dictionary for Galician (gl, gl-*) Not supported 9.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for German, Traditional Orthography of 1901 (de-1901, de-AT-1901, de-DE-1901) Not supported 8.0 ? Not supported ?
Hyphenation dictionary for German, Reformed Orthography of 1996 (de, de-1996, de-DE, de-AT, de-*) Not supported 8.0 10.0 Not supported 5.1
Hyphenation dictionary for German, Swiss Orthography (de-CH, de-CH-*) Not supported 8.0 ? Not supported ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Hungarian (hu, hu-*) Not supported 9.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Icelandic (is, is-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Interlingua (ia, ia-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Italian (it, it-*) Not supported 9.0 10.0 Not supported 5.1
Hyphenation dictionary for Kurmanji (kmr, kmr-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Latin (la, la-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Lithuanian (lt, lt-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Mongolian (mn, mn-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Norwegian (Bokmål) (no, no-*, nb, nb-*) Not supported 8.0 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Norwegian (Nynorsk) (nn, nn-*) Not supported 8.0 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Polish (pl, pl-*) Not supported 31.0 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Portuguese (pt, pt-*) Not supported 8.0[6] 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Brazilian Portuguese (pt-BR) Not supported 8.0[6] 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Russian (ru, ru-*) Not supported 8.0 10.0 Not supported 5.1
Hyphenation dictionary for Serbian, Bosnian, Serbo-Croatian (sh, sh-*, sr, sr-*, bs, bs-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Slovenian (sl, sl-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Spanish (es, es-*) Not supported 8.0 10.0 Not supported 5.1
Hyphenation dictionary for Swedish (sv, sv-*) Not supported 8.0 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Turkish (tr, tr-*) Not supported 9.0 10.0 Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Ukrainian (uk, uk-*) Not supported 9.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Upper Sorbian (hsb, hsb-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for Welsh (cy, cy-*) Not supported 8.0 Not supported Not supported Not supported
Hyphenation dictionary for other languages Not supported Not supported Not supported Not supported Not supported
Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Mobile Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support 4.0-webkit[1] 6.0 (6.0)-moz[2] Not supported Not supported 4.2-webkit
Hyphenation dictionary for Afrikaans (af, af-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Bulgarian (bg, bg-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Catalan (ca, ca-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Croatian (hr, hr-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Czech (cs, cs-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Danish (da, da-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Dutch (nl, nl-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for English (en, en-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Esperanto (eo, eo-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Estonian (et, et-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Finnish (fi, fi-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for French (fr, fr-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Galician (gl, gl-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for German, Traditional Orthography of 1901 (de-1901, de-AT-1901, de-DE-1901) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for German, Reformed Orthography of 1996 (de, de-1996, de-DE, de-AT, de-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for German, Swiss Orthography (de-CH, de-CH-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Hungarian (hu, hu-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Icelandic (is, is-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Interlingua (ia, ia-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Italian (it, it-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Kurmanji (kmr, kmr-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Latin (la, la-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Lithuanian (lt, lt-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Mongolian (mn, mn-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Norwegian (Bokmål) (no, no-*, nb, nb-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Norwegian (Nynorsk) (nn, nn-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Polish (pl, pl-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Portuguese (pt, pt-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Brazilian Portuguese (pt-BR) ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Russian (ru, ru-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Serbian, Bosnian, Serbo-Croatian (sh, sh-*, sr, sr-*, bs, bs-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Slovenian (sl, sl-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Spanish (es, es-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Swedish (sv, sv-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Turkish (tr, tr-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Ukrainian (uk, uk-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Upper Sorbian (hsb, hsb-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for Welsh (cy, cy-*) ? ? ? ? ?
Hyphenation dictionary for other languages ? ? ? ? ?

[1] No automatic hyphenation, only -webkit-hyphens: none is supported.

[2] Automatic hyphenation only works for languages whose hyphenation dictionaries are integrated in Gecko. See the note below for a complete list of such languages.

[3] Automatic hyphenation only works for languages whose hyphenation dictionaries are integrated in Internet Explorer. See the note below for a complete list of such languages.

[4] Uses an en-US dictionary.

[5] en-GB and en-US used different dictionaries.

[6] Uses a Portuguese dictionary.

See also

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Last updated by: Sebastianz,
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