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hyphens

The hyphens property controls hyphenation of text in block level elements. You can prevent hyphenation from happening at all, allow it, or only allow it when certain characters are present.

Note that hyphens is language-sensitive. Its ability to find break opportunities depends on the language, defined in the lang attribute of a parent element. Not all languages are supported yet, and support depends on the specific browser.

Syntax

p {
  hyphens: none | manual | auto
}

hyphens: none

Words are never hyphenated at line breaks, even if characters inside the word suggest where hyphenation could or should go.

hyphens: manual

Words are only broken at line breaks where there are characters inside the word that suggest line break opportunities. There are two characters that suggest line break opportunity:

  • 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. Literally a "-".
  • 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.

hyphens: auto

Words can be broken at appropriate hyphenation points either as determined by hyphenation characters (see above) inside the word or as determined automatically by a language-appropriate hyphenation resource (if supported by the browser or provided via @hyphenation-resource).

Conditional hyphenation characters inside a word, if present, take priority over automatic resources when determining hyphenation points within the word.

hyphens: all

Deprecated, do not use. This was only in the spec temporarily for testing.

Demo

The demo below has a bunch of paragraphs and everything is set to hyphens: auto; to demonstrate the concept of hyphenation. The lang attribute is set to en on the parent element.

Check out this Pen!

Related Properties

  • word-break
  • hyphenate-character
  • hyphenate-limit-zone
  • hyphenate-limit-word
  • hyphenate-limit-lines
  • hyphenate-limit-last
  • hyphenate-resources
  • @hyphenate-resource

Other Resources

Browser Support

This browser support data is from Caniuse, which has more detail. A number indicates that browser supports the feature at that version and up.

Desktop

ChromeOperaFirefoxIEEdgeSafari
78626*10*12*5.1*

Mobile / Tablet

iOS SafariOpera MobileOpera MiniAndroidAndroid ChromeAndroid Firefox
4.2-4.3*NoNo677567

Safari 5+ requires -webkit-, Firefox 6+ requires -moz-, IE 10+ requires -ms-, iOS 4.2+ requires -webkit-.

Chrome < 55 and Android browser actually support -webkit-hyphens: none, which is the default value, but none of the other values.

In Firefox and Internet Explorer, automatic hyphenation only works for some languages (defined with the lang attribute). See this note for a comprehensive list of supported languages.

If you are writing a web-based document that really need hyphenation, you can use Hyphenator.js which is a library based on a vast dictionary that will automatically inject soft hyphens and zero-width spaces into your content.

Without JavaScript, you'll have to rely on both hyphens and word-wrap:

.hyphenate {
  word-wrap: break-word;
  overflow-wrap: break-word;

-webkit-hyphens: auto;
   -moz-hyphens: auto;
        hyphens: auto;
}
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