Today I learned

Text-wrap: balance

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If you're working on websites where the content is very flexible, where editors can add text, for example, via a CMS, you often don't know "the final size, font size or language of text".

It's hard, especially for headlines, to make two lines consistent in the number of words per line.

Often it looks weird when a headline breaks on a specific breakpoint and just one word gets wrapped in the following line.

We always had to use techniques that felt more like hacks to enforce a more consistent wrap. Using <br /> tags or &nbsp;. Counting the words with JavaScript and adding <span> tags around them.

Very soon, we will have a new CSS property called text-wrap: balance that will help us with this.

To use this CSS property, you will need to apply it like this:

.my-headline {
  max-width: 20rem;
  text-wrap: balance;

This will ensure that the text is balanced over two lines and that the number of words stays consistent. At the same time, it does not affect the element's width and will only affect the words within the element.

Only using this property may not be enough because the text needs to wrap and therefore needs a max width.

Here's a direct comparison of the same text with and without text-wrap: balance: a screenshot showing two headlines, the first one does not wrap nicely, the second does.

Both have set the same max-width but only the second one has the new property set. The first one has a weird break where it wraps only one word into the next line while the second one is balanced over two lines.

Ahmad has a lot of great examples of where this new property could be useful: CSS Text balancing with text-wrap:balance Opens in new tab

Adam Argyle argues Opens in new tab that balancing headlines is the primary use case for text-wrap: balance.

It's currently only available in Chrome Canary and behind a flag. But it looks promising that we will be able to use this property soon in all major browsers.


I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter Opens in new tab or via Email Opens in new tab.

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I wish you a wonderful day! Marco