letter-spacing

The letter-spacing CSS property sets the horizontal spacing behavior between text characters. This value is added to the natural spacing between characters while rendering the text. Positive values of letter-spacing causes characters to spread farther apart, while negative values of letter-spacing bring characters closer together.

Syntax

/* Keyword value */
letter-spacing: normal;

/* <length> values */
letter-spacing: 0.3em;
letter-spacing: 3px;
letter-spacing: .3px;

/* Global values */
letter-spacing: inherit;
letter-spacing: initial;
letter-spacing: unset;

Values

normal

The normal letter spacing for the current font. Unlike a value of 0, this keyword allows the user agent to alter the space between characters in order to justify text.

<length>

Specifies extra inter-character space in addition to the default space between characters. Values may be negative, but there may be implementation-specific limits. User agents may not further increase or decrease the inter-character space in order to justify text.

Accessibility concerns

A large positive or negative letter-spacing value will make the word(s) the styling is applied to unreadable. For text styled with a very large positive value, the letters will be so far apart that the word(s) will appear like a series of individual, unconnected letters. For text styled with a very large negative value, the letters will overlap each other to the point where the word(s) may be unrecognizable.

Legible letter-spacing must be determined on a case-by-case basis, as different font families have different character widths. There is no one value that can ensure all font families automatically maintain their legibility.

Internationalization concerns

Some written languages should not have any letter spacing applied. For instance, languages that use the Arabic script expect connected letters to remain visually connected, as in the following example. Applying letter spacing will lead the text to look broken.

شسيبتنمك

Formal definition

Initial valuenormal
Applies toall elements. It also applies to ::first-letter and ::first-line.
Inheritedyes
Computed valuean optimum value consisting of either an absolute length or the keyword normal
Animation typea length

Formal syntax

normal | <length>

Examples

Setting letter spacing

HTML

<p class="normal">letter spacing</p>
<p class="em-wide">letter spacing</p>
<p class="em-wider">letter spacing</p>
<p class="em-tight">letter spacing</p>
<p class="px-wide">letter spacing</p>

CSS

.normal   { letter-spacing: normal; }
.em-wide  { letter-spacing: 0.4em; }
.em-wider { letter-spacing: 1em; }
.em-tight { letter-spacing: -0.05em; }
.px-wide  { letter-spacing: 6px; }

Result

Specifications

Specification
CSS Text Module Level 3 (CSS Text 3)
# letter-spacing-property

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also