How to Use Hyphens in Tailwind CSS: A Complete Guide

Tailwind CSS is a utility-first CSS framework that allows developers to build custom designs directly in their markup. One of the many typographic utilities it provides is control over hyphenation in text. Proper use of hyphens can improve readability and text aesthetics, especially in responsive designs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to use hyphens in Tailwind CSS, ensuring your text flows beautifully on all devices.

Understanding CSS Hyphenation

Before diving into Tailwind, it’s essential to understand the CSS properties that control hyphenation. The hyphens property in CSS dictates how words should break at the end of a line. There are three values you can assign to this property:

  • none: No hyphenation is applied, and words will only break at spaces.
  • manual: Hyphenation is only applied at manually specified points within words (using the soft hyphen ­ HTML entity).
  • auto: The browser automatically hyphenates words at appropriate hyphenation points.

Enabling Hyphens in Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS provides utility classes that correspond to the CSS hyphens property. To use these utilities, you’ll need to ensure they are enabled in your Tailwind configuration file. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Check Your Tailwind Configuration

Open your tailwind.config.js file and look for the extend section within the theme object. If you don’t have an extend section, you’ll need to add one. Here’s an example:

module.exports = {
  theme: {
    extend: {
      // Other extensions...
  // Other configurations...

Step 2: Add Hyphens Utilities

Within the extend section, add the hyphens utility if it’s not already present:

module.exports = {
  theme: {
    extend: {
      hyphens: {
        auto: 'auto',
        manual: 'manual',
        none: 'none',
  // Other configurations...

Step 3: Use Hyphens Utilities in Your HTML

Now that you’ve enabled hyphens in your Tailwind configuration, you can use the corresponding classes in your HTML. Here’s how to apply each class:

  • hyphens-none: This class prevents hyphenation.
  • hyphens-manual: This class allows hyphenation only at manual points.
  • hyphens-auto: This class enables automatic hyphenation.

Example usage in HTML:

<p class="hyphens-none">
  This paragraph will not have any hyphenation.

<p class="hyphens-manual">
  This para&shy;graph will only hy&shy;phen&shy;ate at man&shy;u&shy;al points.

<p class="hyphens-auto">
  This paragraph will automatically hyphenate when necessary.

Cross-Browser Compatibility

Hyphenation support varies across browsers, and it’s essential to test your design in multiple browsers to ensure consistent appearance. As of my knowledge cutoff in 2023, most modern browsers support the hyphens property, but there may be differences in the hyphenation algorithms used.

For more information on browser compatibility, you can visit Can I use for up-to-date support tables.

Best Practices for Hyphenation in Tailwind CSS

When using hyphens in Tailwind CSS, consider the following best practices:

  • Use hyphens-auto sparingly, as excessive hyphenation can negatively impact readability.
  • Test your design on various devices and screen sizes to ensure hyphenation works as expected.
  • Combine hyphenation utilities with other typography utilities in Tailwind, such as text-justify or text-align, for optimal text flow.
  • Remember that hyphenation is most effective in languages with longer words, such as German or Finnish. It may be less necessary in languages with shorter words.


Hyphenation in Tailwind CSS is a powerful tool for improving the readability and aesthetics of text on the web. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can effectively control word breaks and ensure your content looks great across all devices. Remember to test your design thoroughly and use hyphenation judiciously for the best user experience.

For more information on Tailwind CSS and its typography utilities, you can visit the official Tailwind CSS documentation.

By mastering the use of hyphens in Tailwind CSS, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautifully typeset web pages that are both responsive and reader-friendly.


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