Most elegant way to force a TEXTAREA element to line-wrap, *regardless* of whitespace

Html Textarea elements only wrap when they reach a space or tab character. This is fine, until the user types a looooooooooooooooooooooong enough word. I’m looking for a way to strictly enforce line breaks (eg.: even if it results in “loooooooooooo \n ooooooooooong”).

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The best I’ve found is to add a zero-width unicode space after every letter, but this breaks copy and paste operations. Anyone know of a better way?

Note: I’m referring to the “textarea” element here (i.e.: the one that behaves similarly to a text input) – not just a plain old block of text.

The CSS settings word-wrap:break-word and text-wrap:unrestricted appear to be CSS 3 features. Good luck finding a way to do this on current implementations.

Breaking long words at textarea width size:

1) for modern browsers:

textarea { word-break: break-all; }

2) for IE8 compatibility add:

textarea { -ms-word-break: break-all; }

3) add IE11 compatibility hack:

Internet Explorer 11 word wrap is not working

@media all and (-ms-high-contrast:none) {
*::-ms-backdrop, textarea { white-space: pre; } 

This code it’s working fine on:

-IE 11, Chrome 51, Firefox 46 (Windows 7);

-IE 8, Chrome 49, Firefox 18 (Windows Xp);

-Edge 12.10240 , Opera 30 (Windows 10);

There’s the non-standard element wbr that is supported by at least

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Internet Explorer,

and Opera.

I tested the <wbr>, &#8203; and &shy; techniques. All three worked well in IE 7, Firefox 3 and Chrome.

The only one that did not break the copy/paste was the <wbr> tag.

According to my tests, only Firefox has the described behavior among current browsers. So I guess your best bet is to wait for the imminent release of Firefox 3.1 to solve your problem 🙂

The most elegant way is to use wrap="soft" for wrapping entire words or wrap="hard" for wrapping by character or wrap="off" for not wrapping at all though the last one wrap="off" is often not needed as automatically the browser uses automatically as if it was wrap="off".

<textarea name="tbox" cols="24" rows="4" wrap="soft"></textarea>

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