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The text-overflow CSS property determines how overflowed content that is not displayed is signaled to users. It can be clipped, display an ellipsis ('', U+2026 Horizontal Ellipsis), or display a custom string.

/* Overflow behavior at line end
   Right end if LTR, left end if RTL */
text-overflow: clip;
text-overflow: ellipsis;
text-overflow: "…";
text-overflow: fade;
text-overflow: fade(10px);
text-overflow: fade(5%);

/* Overflow behavior at left end | at right end
   Directionality has no influence */
text-overflow: clip ellipsis;
text-overflow: "…" "…";
text-overflow: fade clip;
text-overflow: fade(10px) fade(10px);
text-overflow: fade(5%) fade(5%);

/* Global values */
text-overflow: inherit;
text-overflow: initial;
text-overflow: unset;

The text-overflow property doesn't force an overflow to occur. To make text overflow its container you have to set some other CSS properties. For example:

overflow: hidden;
white-space: nowrap;

The text-overflow property only affects content that is overflowing a block container element in its inline progression direction (not text overflowing at the bottom of a box, for example).

Initial valueclip
Applies toblock container elements
Inheritedno
Mediavisual
Computed valueas specified
Animation typediscrete
Canonical orderthe unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar

Syntax

The text-overflow property may be specified using one or two values. If one value is given, it specifies overflow behavior for the end of the line (the right end for left-to-right text, the left end for right-to-left text). If two values are given, the first specifies overflow behavior for the left end of the line, and the second specifies it for the right end of the line.

Each value is specified as one of:

Values

clip
The default for this property. This keyword value will truncate the text at the limit of the content area, therefore the truncation can happen in the middle of a character. To clip at the transition between characters you can specify text-overflow as an empty string, if that is supported in your target browsers: text-overflow: '';.
ellipsis
This keyword value will display an ellipsis ('…', U+2026 Horizontal Ellipsis) to represent clipped text. The ellipsis is displayed inside the content area, decreasing the amount of text displayed. If there is not enough space to display the ellipsis, it is clipped.
<string>
The <string> to be used to represent clipped text. The string is displayed inside the content area, shortening the size of the displayed text. If there is not enough space to display the string itself, it is clipped.
fade
This keyword clips the overflowing inline content and applies a fade-out effect near the edge of the line box with complete transparency at the edge.
fade( <length> | <percentage> )
This function clips the overflowing inline content and applies a fade-out effect near the edge of the line box with complete transparency at the edge.
The argument determines the distance over which the fade effect is applied. The <percentage> is resolved against the width of the line box. Values lower than 0 are clipped to 0. Values greater than the width of the line box are clipped to the width of the line box.

Formal syntax

[ clip | ellipsis | <string> ]{1,2}

Examples

CSS

p {
  width: 200px;
  border: 1px solid;
  padding: 2px 5px;

  /* BOTH of the following are required for text-overflow */
  white-space: nowrap;
  overflow: hidden;
}

.overflow-visible {
  white-space: initial;
}

.overflow-clip {
  text-overflow: clip;
}

.overflow-ellipsis {
  text-overflow: ellipsis;
}

.overflow-string {
  /* Not supported in most browsers, 
     see the 'Browser compatibility' section below */
  text-overflow: " [..]"; 
}

HTML

<p class="overflow-visible">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit.</p>
<p class="overflow-clip">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit.</p>
<p class="overflow-ellipsis">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit.</p>
<p class="overflow-string">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit.</p>

Result

CSS value direction: ltr direction: rtl
Expected Result Live result Expected Result Live result
visible overflow 1234567890
1234567890
0987654321
1234567890
text-overflow: clip t-o_clip.png
123456
t-o_clip_rtl.png
1234567890
text-overflow: '' 12345
123456
54321
1234567890
text-overflow: ellipsis 1234…
1234567890
…4321
1234567890
text-overflow: '.' 1234.
1234567890
.4321
1234567890
text-overflow: clip clip 123456
1234567890
654321
1234567890
text-overflow: clip ellipsis 1234…
1234567890
6543…
1234567890
text-overflow: clip '.' 1234.
1234567890
6543.
1234567890
text-overflow: ellipsis clip …3456
1234567890
…4321
1234567890
text-overflow: ellipsis ellipsis …34…
1234567890
…43…
1234567890
text-overflow: ellipsis '.' …34.
1234567890
…43.
1234567890
text-overflow: ',' clip ,3456
1234567890
,4321
1234567890
text-overflow: ',' ellipsis ,34…
1234567890
,43…
1234567890
text-overflow: ',' '.' ,34.
1234567890
,53.
1234567890

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
CSS Basic User Interface Module Level 4
The definition of 'text-overflow' in that specification.
Working Draft Added the values <string> and fade and the fade() function
CSS Basic User Interface Module Level 3
The definition of 'text-overflow' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation Initial definition

A previous version of this interface reached the Candidate Recommendation status. As some not-listed-at-risk features needed to be removed, the spec was demoted to the Working Draft level, explaining why browsers implemented this property unprefixed, though not at the CR state.

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support 1.0 (312.3) (Yes) 7.0 (7.0)[1] 6.0[2] 9-o[3]
11.0
1.3 (312.3)
Two-value syntax No support No support 9.0 (9.0) No support No support No support
String value No support No support 9.0 (9.0) No support No support No support
fade No support No support No support No support No support No support
fade() No support No support No support No support No support No support
Feature Android Edge Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support (Yes) (Yes) 7.0 (7.0) ? (Yes) (Yes)
Two-value syntax No support No support 9.0 (9.0) No support No support No support
String value No support No support 9.0 (9.0) No support No support No support
fade No support No support No support No support No support No support
fade() No support No support No support No support No support No support

[1] Starting in Gecko 10.0 (Firefox 10.0 / Thunderbird 10.0 / SeaMonkey 2.7), handling of text-overflow on blocks with inline overflow on both horizontal sides has been corrected; previously, if you specified only one value (such as text-overflow:ellipsis;), ellipsing was happening on both sides instead of just the end edge based on the block's text direction.

[2] Internet Explorer 8 introduced the prefixed version, -ms-text-overflow, synonymous with text-overflow. Do not use this prefixed version.

[3] Opera 9 and 10 require the prefixed version, -o-text-overflow.

See also