Zero-width space

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.[1]

Usage

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).[2]

To show the effect of the zero-width space, the following words have been separated with zero-width spaces:

On browsers supporting zero-width spaces, resizing the window will re-break the above text only at word boundaries.

Encoding

The zero-width space character is encoded in Unicode as U+200B zero width space (HTML &#8203;).[3]

In groff, it is written as a reverse solidus followed by a colon: \:.[4]

The LaTeX equivalent would be \hspace{0pt}.[5]

Its semantics and HTML implementation are comparable to – but different from – the soft hyphen.