white-space property CSS Reference

Definition and Usage

The white-space CSS property is used to to describe how whitespace inside the element is handled.

  • Initial normal
  • Applies to all elements
  • Inherited yes
  • Media visual
  • Computed Value as specified
  • Animatable no
  • Canonical order the unique non-ambiguous order defined by the formal grammar


Formal syntax: normal | pre | nowrap | pre-wrap | pre-line
white-space: normal
white-space: nowrap
white-space: pre
white-space: pre-wrap
white-space: pre-line
white-space: inherit


Sequences of whitespace are collapsed. Newline characters in the source are handled as other whitespace. Breaks lines as necessary to fill line boxes.
Collapses whitespace as for normal, but suppresses line breaks (text wrapping) within text.
Sequences of whitespace are preserved, lines are only broken at newline characters in the source and at <br> elements.
Sequences of whitespace are preserved. Lines are broken at newline characters, at <br>, and as necessary to fill line boxes.
Sequences of whitespace are collapsed. Lines are broken at newline characters, at <br>, and as necessary to fill line boxes.

The following table summarizes the behavior of various white-space values:

  New lines Spaces and tabs Text wrapping
normal Collapse Collapse Wrap
nowrap Collapse Collapse No wrap
pre Preserve Preserve No wrap
pre-wrap Preserve Preserve Wrap
pre-line Preserve Collapse Wrap


code { 
white-space: pre; 


Desktop browsers

Feature Chrome Firefox (Gecko) Internet Explorer Opera Safari (WebKit)
Basic support (normal and nowrap) 1.0 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) 5.5 4.0 1.0 (85)
pre 1.0 1.0 6.0 4.0 1.0 (85)
pre-wrap 1.0 1.0 (1.7 or earlier) — 3.5 (1.9.1)-moz
3.0 (1.9)
8.0 8.0 3.0 (522)
pre-line 1.0 3.5 (1.9.1) 8.0 9.5 3.0 (522)

Mobile browsers

Feature Android Firefox Mobile (Gecko) IE Phone Opera Mobile Safari Mobile
Basic support NA NA NA NA NA

Relative articles