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Warning: This project is no longer maintained. Have a look at its successor:



Hyphenator.js is a free open source Javascript library that automatically hyphenates text on websites. It comes in handy as a polyfill for legacy browsers that don't support CSS 3 hyphenation at all or for modern browsers that do hyphenation, but do not provide hyphenation dictionaries for a particular language.

Hyphenator.js …

Quick links

Quick guide

  1. Download the recent version of Hyphenator.js
  2. Use mergeAndPack.html to configure and minify Hyphenator.js and hyphenation patterns.
  3. Prepare your .html documents (i.e. add hyphenate-classes, set lang and add Hyphenator.js)
  4. Test it!

Get detailed instructions.

The bad parts

As with most things, there's a downside, too. Consider the following drawbacks before using Hyphenator.js:

  • Hyphenator.js and the hyphenation patterns are quite large. Good compression and caching is vital.
  • Automatic hyphenation can not be perfect: it may lead to misleading hyphenation like leg-ends (depends on the pattern quality)
  • There's no support for special (aka non-standard) hyphenation (e.g. omaatje->oma-tje)
  • There's no way for Javascript to influence the algorithm for laying out text in the browser. Thus we can't control how many hyphens occur on subsequent lines nor can we know which words have actually been hyphenated. Hyphenator.js just hyphenates all of them.


There is text and there is beautiful text

This beauty becomes manifest in content and representation. I'm firmly convinced that all written text (well, most of it) deserves fine typography, that we deserve it. While hyphenation is just one of many tesserae that forms the appearance of text, it may be an important one.

There is code and there is sound code

In code there is readability, maintainability, performance and genius – and some constraints of technology. As a hobbyist programmer I often feel like a hobbit surrounded by wizards who campaign for these values. But being an agile hobbit gives me the freedom to find my own way through the woods (thankfully free from evil in this area). I'm constantly in search of the most performant path to circumvent the constraints of technology while maintaining readability and maintainability of my code. Sometimes this path is illuminated by a wizard1.

Issues and Requests

Each release is tested in various browsers with an automated testsuite. Nevertheless, there will always be bugs. Please don't hesitate to submit them.

If you have a special use case and Hyphenator.js doesn't provide a solution, feel free to submit a feature request.

And please, be patient. Hyphenator.js is a hobby of mine and sometimes other things have precedence…

(1) Some of my coding wizards are: