MDN wants to learn about developers like you:

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

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


/* Keyword values */
white-space: normal;
white-space: nowrap;
white-space: pre;
white-space: pre-wrap;
white-space: pre-line;

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

The white-space property is specified as a single keyword chosen from the list of values below.


Sequences of whitespace are collapsed. Newline characters in the source are handled the same as other whitespace. Lines are broken as necessary to fill line boxes.
Collapses whitespace as for normal, but suppresses line breaks (text wrapping) within the source.
Sequences of whitespace are preserved. Lines are only broken at newline characters in the source and at <br> elements.
Sequences of whitespace are preserved. Lines are broken at newline characters, at <br>, and as necessary to fill line boxes.
Sequences of whitespace are collapsed. Lines are broken at newline characters, at <br>, and as necessary to fill line boxes.

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

  New lines Spaces and tabs Text wrapping
normal Collapse Collapse Wrap
nowrap Collapse Collapse No wrap
pre Preserve Preserve No wrap
pre-wrap Preserve Preserve Wrap
pre-line Preserve Collapse Wrap

Formal syntax

normal | pre | nowrap | pre-wrap | pre-line


Basic example

code { 
  white-space: pre; 

Line breaks inside <pre> elements

pre {
  word-wrap: break-word;      /* IE 5.5-7 */
  white-space: -moz-pre-wrap; /* Firefox 1.0-2.0 */
  white-space: pre-wrap;      /* Modern browsers */

See it in action


    <p>    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.
    Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.
    Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.
    Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>

CSS + Result


Specification Status Comment
CSS Text Module Level 3
The definition of 'white-space' in that specification.
Working Draft Precisely defines the breaking algorithms.
CSS Level 2 (Revision 1)
The definition of 'white-space' in that specification.
Recommendation Initial definition.

Initial valuenormal
Applies toall elements
Computed valueas specified
Animation typediscrete
Canonical orderthe unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support1 Yes15.541
pre1 Yes1641
pre-wrap1 Yes


1 -moz-

pre-line1 Yes3.589.53
Support on <textarea>1 ?365.541
Support in SVG No ?36 ? ? ?
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support ? ? Yes ? ? ? ?
pre ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
pre-wrap ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
pre-line ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Support on <textarea> ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Support in SVG ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

1. From Internet Explorer 5.5 to 7, word-wrap: break-word; can be used for line breaks in pre elements.

See also

Document Tags and Contributors

 Last updated by: wbamberg,