<wbr> element stands for ‘Word Break Opportunity’. It’s an inline element used to define a position within text where a browser may optionally break a line, especially when the text exceeds the width of the container.
Unlike spaces or hyphens,
<wbr> doesn’t force a line break; instead, it suggests to the browser, “Hey, if you’re running out of space, here’s a good spot to break the line.” This is extremely useful when dealing with long strings of text without spaces, such as URLs or complex terms, which could otherwise overflow their containers.
Let’s consider a practical example. Suppose you have a very long URL that you want to display on your website. Without any breaks, this URL might overflow its container, especially on smaller screens:
<wbr> elements, we can give the browser places where it can break this URL if necessary:
Now, if the URL doesn’t fit within its container, the browser will break the line at one of the
<wbr> tags, preventing the URL from overflowing its container.
<wbr> element does not have any attributes and is an empty element, meaning it does not have a closing tag.
In conclusion, the
<wbr> element is a very handy tool in the front-end developer’s arsenal for managing the layout of text. While it might not be used every day, understanding how and when to use it is an important part of mastering HTML.