CSS overflow-wrap

The overflow-wrap property specifies whether or not unbreakable words can in fact be broken arbitrarily to prevent overflow.

When word or other string is too long to fit inside its box, the overflow-wrap property can be used to force the word to be broken at an arbitrary point if there are no otherwise-acceptable break points in the line, so that it can wrap to the next line.

The overflow-wrap property only has an effect when the white-space property allows wrapping (it does by default).

The word-wrap property is an alternate name for overflow-wrap — they both do exactly the same thing.


Possible Values

Specifies that lines may break only at allowed break points. However, the restrictions introduced by word-break: keep-all may be relaxed to match word-break: normal if there are no otherwise-acceptable break points in the line.
Allows unbreakable words to be broken at an arbitrary point if there are no otherwise-acceptable break points in the line. No hyphenation character is inserted at the break point.

In addition, all CSS properties also accept the following CSS-wide keyword values as the sole component of their property value:

Represents the value specified as the property's initial value.
Represents the computed value of the property on the element's parent.
This value acts as either inherit or initial, depending on whether the property is inherited or not. In other words, it sets all properties to their parent value if they are inheritable or to their initial value if not inheritable.

Basic Property Information

Initial Value
Applies To
All elements.

Example Code

Basic CSS

Working Example within an HTML Document

Try it

CSS Specifications

Browser Support

The following table provided by Caniuse.com shows the level of browser support for this feature.

Vendor Prefixes

For maximum browser compatibility many web developers add browser-specific properties by using extensions such as -webkit- for Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera (newer versions), -ms- for Internet Explorer, -moz- for Firefox, -o- for older versions of Opera etc. As with any CSS property, if a browser doesn't support a proprietary extension, it will simply ignore it.

This practice is not recommended by the W3C, however in many cases, the only way you can test a property is to include the CSS extension that is compatible with your browser.

The major browser manufacturers generally strive to adhere to the W3C specifications, and when they support a non-prefixed property, they typically remove the prefixed version. Also, W3C advises vendors to remove their prefixes for properties that reach Candidate Recommendation status.

Many developers use Autoprefixer, which is a postprocessor for CSS. Autoprefixer automatically adds vendor prefixes to your CSS so that you don't need to. It also removes old, unnecessary prefixes from your CSS.

You can also use Autoprefixer with preprocessors such as Less and Sass.