The zero-width space (ZWSP) is a non-printing character used in computerized typesetting to indicate word boundaries to text processing systems when using scripts that do not use explicit spacing, or after characters (such as the slash) that are not followed by a visible space but after which there may nevertheless be a line break. Normally, it is not a visible separation, but it may expand in passages that are fully justified.
In HTML pages, the zero-width space can be used as a potential line-break in long words as an alternative to the
<wbr> element. However, the zero-width space is not supported in all web browsers such as old versions of Internet Explorer (versions 6 and earlier).
To show the effect of the zero-width space, the following words have been separated with zero-width spaces:
And following words are not separated with these spaces:
On browsers supporting zero-width spaces, resizing the window will re-break the first text only at word boundaries, while the second text will not be broken at all.
The zero-width space character is encoded in Unicode as U+200B ZERO WIDTH SPACE (HTML
- Soft hyphen
- Word divider
- Word joiner
- Word wrapping
- Zero-width joiner
- Zero-width non-joiner
- Space (punctuation) – includes table comparing various space-like characters
- Unicode Consortium, "Special Areas and Format Characters" (Chapter 16), The Unicode Standard, Version 5.2 full text
- Victor H. Mair, Yongquan Liu, Characters and computers, IOS Press, 1991
- The Unicode Standard 6.1, p. 366
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