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When I started my journey in web development, overflowing text was a common challenge. I remember when I showed a prototype to a friend. The text within elements didn’t wrap properly, making the design look chaotic. That’s when I realized the importance of mastering CSS for seamless text wrapping.

woman using CSS Text Wrapping

CSS allows developers to control how text behaves within a designated space. It’s like organizing a bookshelf, ensuring each book finds its proper place. Text wrapping allows us to define how text should flow within elements, preventing it from spilling over.

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This guide unravels the secrets of CSS text wrapping, providing you with the know-how to elegantly present text on your websites.

What is CSS Wrap Text?

CSS text wrapping influences how text behaves within a webpage’s layout. You can ensure that when a line of text reaches the end of its container (like a box or a column), it doesn’t overflow beyond that space. Instead, the words will continue on the next line within the same container.

Imagine reading a long paragraph on a website where the text just keeps extending to the right, forcing you to scroll horizontally to read the whole sentence. CSS text wrapping prevents this inconvenience, improving the user experience.

According to a report by the Nielsen Norman Group, users tend to read in an F-shaped pattern on web pages, focusing more on the top and left parts. Proper text wrapping can help you keep content within these areas. Then, users are more likely to read and absorb information.

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Additionally, slow-loading websites can frustrate users. By ensuring efficient space utilization, text wrapping contributes to faster load times, enhancing overall user satisfaction.

CSS Wrap Text in Action

CSS Wrap Text in Action, new york times art section

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On a news website, proper text wrapping is essential, especially when showing multiple articles on one page. For example, the headline “She Broke Barriers in Music. But She’s Uneasy About the Attention.” is wrapped so it appears as two lines. The text does not overflow into the next column.

For me, as a reader, this is crucial. A well-wrapped headline allows me to quickly see what the story will cover. I can then decide if I want to read more. If the text overflowed or looked messy, it would hinder my ability to understand what I’m seeing quickly.

CSS text wrapping keeps the webpage organized, the headlines clean, and the user experience seamless. It’s about providing information in a way that’s both accessible and aesthetically pleasing.

How to Wrap Text with CSS

To wrap text with CSS, we’ll start by creating the HTML structure. For this example, let’s create a simple div with some text inside.

 <div class="text-wrapper">This is some text that we want to wrap using CSS.</div>


Next, we’ll add CSS to wrap the text within the div.

 .text-wrapper {
    width: 200px; /* set a width for the wrapping container */
    word-wrap: break-word /* ensures the text wraps to the next line if it overflows the container */


Here’s the result on the front end:

See the Pen css wrap text – simple example by HubSpot (@hubspot) on CodePen.

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In this CSS, we’re specifying a width for the container. We then use “word-wrap: break-word” to ensure that words continue on the next line if they’re too long to fit within the specified width.

There are four properties values you can select for word-wrap:

  • normal: This default setting breaks words only at specified break points.
  • break-word: This allows unbreakable words to be broken.
  • initial: This sets the property to its default value. Initial is helpful if you want some words to end at certain breakpoints and other words to be unbreakable.
  • inherit: This allows the element to inherit this property from a parent element.

See the results.

When you apply this CSS to your HTML, the text within the <div> will wrap based on the specified width.

This CSS property provides a simple way to handle text wrapping. Setting the width for the container div was intuitive, and using word-wrap: break-word was a quick solution to ensure proper wrapping.

In my experience, CSS text wrapping is a fundamental skill in web development. It’s one of the first things you learn, and it’s immensely valuable in creating clean layouts. This enhances the readability and aesthetics of the webpage.

Using CSS Wrap Text

Mastering CSS text wrapping is a crucial step for anyone delving into web design. From my experience, investing in understanding and using CSS text wrapping has been invaluable. It streamlines how users interact with your site’s content. This fundamental skill allows designers and developers to strike a balance between design and functionality.

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