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  

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
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

[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.

Notes on supported languages

Various browsers supply hyphenation dictionaries for the following languages:

Locales Language Firefox IE Chrome Opera Safari
af, af-* Afrikaans 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
bg, bg-* Bulgarian 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
ca, ca-* Catalan 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
hr, hr-* Croatian 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
cs, cs-* Czech not supported 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
da, da-* Danish 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
nl, nl-* Dutch 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported 5.1
en, en-* English 6.0
(use en-US dict)
10.0 not supported not supported

5.1
(GB and US use different dict )

eo, eo-* Esperanto 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
et, et-* Estonian 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
fi, fi-* Finnish 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
fr, fr-* French 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported 5.1
gl, gl-* Galician 9.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
de-1901, de-AT-1901, de-DE-1901 German, Traditional Orthography of 1901 8.0 ? not supported not supported ?
de, de-1996, de-DE, de-AT, de-* German, Reformed Orthography of 1996 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported 5.1
de-CH, de-CH-* German, Swiss Orthography 8.0 ? not supported not supported ?
hu, hu-* Hungarian 9.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
is, is-* Icelandic 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
ia, ia-* Interlingua 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
it, it-* Italian 9.0 10.0 not supported not supported 5.1
kmr, kmr-* Kurmanji 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
la, la-* Latin 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
lt, lt-* Lithuanian 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
mn, mn-* Mongolian 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
no, no-*, nb, nb-* Norwegian (Bokmål) 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
nn, nn-* Norwegian (Nynorsk) 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
pl, pl-* Polish 31.0 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
pt, pt-* Portuguese 8.0
(use Portuguese dict)
10.0 not supported not supported not supported
pt-BR Portuguese (do Brazil) 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
ru, ru-* Russian 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported 5.1
sh, sh-*, sr, sr-*, bs, bs-* Serbian, Bosnian, Serbo-Croatian 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
sl, sl-* Slovenian 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
es, es-* Spanish 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported 5.1
sv, sv-* Swedish 8.0 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
tr, tr-* Turkish 9.0 10.0 not supported not supported not supported
uk, uk-* Ukrainian 9.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
hsb, hsb-* Upper Sorbian 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
cy, cy-* Welsh 8.0 not supported not supported not supported not supported
  Others not supported not supported not supported not supported not supported

See also

Hide Sidebar