The hyphens CSS property specifies how words should be hyphenated when text wraps across multiple lines. It can prevent hyphenation entirely, hyphenate at manually-specified points within the text, or let the browser automatically insert hyphens where appropriate.

Hyphenation rules are language-specific. In HTML, the language is determined by the lang attribute, and browsers will hyphenate only if this attribute is present and the appropriate hyphenation dictionary is available. In XML, the xml:lang attribute must be used.

Note: The rules defining how hyphenation is performed are not explicitly defined by the specification, so the exact hyphenation may vary from browser to browser.


/* Keyword values */
hyphens: none;
hyphens: manual;
hyphens: auto;

/* Global values */
hyphens: inherit;
hyphens: initial;
hyphens: unset;

The hyphens property is specified as a single keyword value chosen from the list below.


Words are not broken at line breaks, even if characters inside the words suggest line break points. Lines will only wrap at whitespace.
Words are broken for line-wrapping only where characters inside the word suggest line break opportunities. See Suggesting line break opportunities below for details.
The browser is free to automatically break words at appropriate hyphenation points, following whatever rules it chooses. However, suggested line break opportunities (see Suggesting line break opportunities below) will override automatic break point selection when present.

Note: The auto setting's behavior depends on the language being properly tagged to select the appropriate hyphenation rules. You must specify a language using the lang HTML attribute to guarantee that automatic hyphenation is applied in that language.

Suggesting line break opportunities

There are two Unicode characters used to manually specify potential line break points within text:

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.
U+00AD (SHY)
An invisible, "soft" hyphen. This character is not rendered visibly; instead, it marks a place where the browser should break the word if hyphenation is necessary. In HTML, use ­ to insert a soft hyphen.

When the HTML <wbr> element leads to a line break, no hyphen is added.

Formal definition

Initial valuemanual
Applies toall elements
Computed valueas specified
Animation typediscrete

Formal syntax

none | manual | auto


Specifying text hyphenation

This example uses three classes, one for each possible configuration of the hyphens property.


  <dt><code>none</code>: no hyphen; overflow if needed</dt>
  <dd lang="en" class="none">An extreme&shy;ly long English word</dd>
  <dt><code>manual</code>: hyphen only at &amp;hyphen; or &amp;shy; (if needed)</dt>
  <dd lang="en" class="manual">An extreme&shy;ly long English word</dd>
  <dt><code>auto</code>: hyphens where the algorithm decides (if needed)</dt>
  <dd lang="en" class="auto">An extreme&shy;ly long English word</dd>


dd {
  width: 55px;
  border: 1px solid black;
dd.none {
  -webkit-hyphens: none;
  -ms-hyphens: none;
  hyphens: none;
dd.manual {
  -webkit-hyphens: manual;
  -ms-hyphens: manual;
  hyphens: manual;
dd.auto {
  -webkit-hyphens: auto;
  -ms-hyphens: auto;
  hyphens: auto;



Specification Status Comment
CSS Text Module Level 3
The definition of 'hyphens' in that specification.
Candidate Recommendation Initial definition

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also