The white-space CSS property sets how white space inside an element is handled.

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The property specifies two things:

  • Whether and how white space is collapsed.
  • Whether and how lines wrap.

Note: To make words break within themselves, use overflow-wrap, word-break, or hyphens instead.


/* Single keyword values */
white-space: normal;
white-space: nowrap;
white-space: pre;
white-space: pre-wrap;
white-space: pre-line;
white-space: break-spaces;

/* white-space-collapse and text-wrap shorthand values */
white-space: collapse balance;
white-space: preserve nowrap;

/* Global values */
white-space: inherit;
white-space: initial;
white-space: revert;
white-space: revert-layer;
white-space: unset;


white-space property values can be specified as a single keyword chosen from the list of values below, or two values representing shorthand for the white-space-collapse and text-wrap properties.


Sequences of white space are collapsed. Newline characters in the source are handled the same as other white space. Lines are broken as necessary to fill line boxes.


Collapses white space as for normal, but suppresses line breaks (text wrapping) within the source.


Sequences of white space are preserved. Lines are only broken at newline characters in the source and at <br> elements.


Sequences of white space are preserved. Lines are broken at newline characters, at <br>, and as necessary to fill line boxes.


Sequences of white space are collapsed. Lines are broken at newline characters, at <br>, and as necessary to fill line boxes.


The behavior is identical to that of pre-wrap, except that:

  • Any sequence of preserved white space always takes up space, including at the end of the line.
  • A line-breaking opportunity exists after every preserved white space character, including between white space characters.
  • Such preserved spaces take up space and do not hang, thus affecting the box's intrinsic sizes (min-content size and max-content size).

The following table summarizes the behavior of the various white-space keyword values:

New lines Spaces and tabs Text wrapping End-of-line spaces End-of-line other space separators
normal Collapse Collapse Wrap Remove Hang
nowrap Collapse Collapse No wrap Remove Hang
pre Preserve Preserve No wrap Preserve No wrap
pre-wrap Preserve Preserve Wrap Hang Hang
pre-line Preserve Collapse Wrap Remove Hang
break-spaces Preserve Preserve Wrap Wrap Wrap

Note: There is a distinction made between spaces and other space separators. These are defined as follows:


Spaces (U+0020), tabs (U+0009), and segment breaks (such as newlines).

other space separators

All other space separators defined in Unicode, other than those already defined as spaces.

Where white space is said to hang, this can affect the size of the box when measured for intrinsic sizing.

Collapsing of white space

Formal definition

Initial valuenormal
Applies toall elements
Computed valueas specified
Animation typediscrete

Formal syntax

white-space = 
normal |
pre |
nowrap |
pre-wrap |
break-spaces |


Basic example

code {
  white-space: pre;

Line breaks inside <pre> elements

pre {
  white-space: pre-wrap;

In action

Multiple lines in SVG text element

The white-space CSS property can be used to create multiple lines in a <text> element, which does not wrap by default.

Note: At time of writing this feature has limited support.


The text inside the <text> element needs to be split into multiple lines for the new-lines to be detected. After the first line the rest need to have their whitespace removed.

<svg viewBox="0 0 320 150">
  <text y="20" x="10">Here is an English paragraph
that is broken into multiple lines
in the source code so that it can
be more easily read and edited
in a text editor.


text {
  white-space: break-spaces;


Controlling line wrapping in tables


    <td>Very long content that splits</td>
    <td class="nw">Very long content that don't split</td>
    <td class="nw">white-space:</td>


table {
  border-collapse: collapse;
  border: solid black 1px;
  width: 250px;
  height: 150px;
td {
  border: solid 1px black;
  text-align: center;
.nw {
  white-space: nowrap;



CSS Text Module Level 3
# white-space-property

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also