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W3C Last Call Working Draft


Specifies whether or not words in a sentence can be split by the use of a manual or automatic hyphenation mechanism.

Overview table

Initial value manual
Applies to All elements
Inherited Yes
Media visual
Computed value specified value
Animatable No
CSS Object Model Property
Percentages N/A


  • hyphens: auto
  • hyphens: manual
  • hyphens: none


Indicates that all word breaking is suppressed, even when explicitly specified with soft hyphens.

Indicates that word breaking is allowed only where word breaking opportunities are suggested. These suggestions may come in the form of soft hyphens or hard hyphens. Soft hyphens (Unicode U+00AD, HTML &shy;) can be inserted on the desired place.

Indicates that, in addition to suggested word breaking opportunities, word breaking opportunities are allowed where determined by a hyphenation resource (dictionary). Soft hyphens take priority over other hyphenation opportunities, but are still subject to the hyphenation controlled properties. By providing a language for the text (via the HTML lang attribute for example), a User Agent can determine the correct place to break a word.


Sets the hyphens property different on each of the paragraph elements.


p:nth-child(1) {
  hyphens: none;

p:nth-child(2) {
  hyphens: manual;

p:nth-child(3) {
  hyphens: auto;

View live example


 When hyphenation is not pre-set in a document, the default value for the hyphens property might not suit all cases. In cases where the language is properly set in the document, the hyphenation dictionaries provided in user agents can be able to break up words on the best possible place for each line.

The overall effect is that sentences run along almost the complete width of the box, and therefor can be slightly less high as end result.


Note that not all languages are supported by browsers which support the value auto for this property.


hyphens: none | manual | auto

Related specifications

Specification Status Related Changes
CSS Text Module Level 3 W3C Last Call Working Draft

See also

Related articles


  • hyphens

Related pages (MSDN)


This article contains content originally from external sources.

Portions of this content come from the Mozilla Developer Network cc-by-sa-small-wpd.svg: Article

Portions of this content come from the Microsoft Developer Network: [Windows Internet Explorer API reference Article]