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Zero-width space

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The zero-width space (), abbreviated ZWSP, is a non-printing character used in computerized typesetting to indicate word boundaries to text-processing systems for scripts that do not use explicit spacing, or after characters not followed by a visible space after which there may be a line break.


The zero-width space marks a potential line break without hyphenation; for hyphenated line breaks, a soft hyphen is used. The zero-width space can be used to mark word breaks in languages without visible space between words, such as Thai, Myanmar, Khmer, and Japanese.[1][2]

Unlike fixed-width spaces, in justified text that increases spacing between letters, characters adjacent to the zero-width space are spaced as if it was not present.[2]


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


And the 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.



In HTML pages, the HTML element <wbr> functions as a zero-width space. In Internet Explorer 6, the zero-width space was not supported in some fonts.[3]

Prohibition in domain names[edit]

ICANN rules prohibit domain names from containing non-displayed characters, including the zero-width space, and most browsers prohibit their use within domain names because they can be used to create a homograph attack, where a malicious URL is visually indistinguishable from a legitimate one.[4][5]


The zero-width space character is encoded in Unicode as U+200B ZERO WIDTH SPACE,[6] and input in HTML as &ZeroWidthSpace;, &#8203; or &#x200B;. Contrary to what their names suggest, the character entities &NegativeThickSpace;, &NegativeMediumSpace;, &NegativeThinSpace;, and &NegativeVeryThinSpace; also refer to the zero-width space.[7]

The TeX representation is \hskip0pt; the LaTeX representation is \hspace{0pt};[8] and the groff representation is \:.[9]

Its semantics and HTML implementation are similar to the soft hyphen, except that soft hyphens display a hyphen character at the point where the line is broken.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Zones spéciales et caractères de formatage" [Special areas and formatting characters] (PDF). Hapax Quebec (in French). p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 December 2005. Retrieved 31 July 2019. Les espaces sans chasse sont conçues pour les langues qui ne séparent pas les mots à l'aide d'espaces visibles, comme le thaï ou le japonais.
  2. ^ a b The Unicode® Standard Version 15.0 – Core Specification (PDF). The Unicode Consortium. September 2022. p. 918. ISBN 978-1-936213-32-0.
  3. ^ Dunae, Alex. "Better Web Typography with Spaces and Hyphens". dunae.ca. Archived from the original on December 14, 2010. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  4. ^ "Network.IDN.blacklist_chars". mozillaZine. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  5. ^ "Unicode Character 'Zero Width Space'". FileFormat.Info. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  6. ^ "General Punctuation – Unicode" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-07-20.
  7. ^ Entities/ZeroWidthSpace in MathML Version 2.0
  8. ^ "The LaTeX Companion. Chapter 3: Basic Formatting Tools" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  9. ^ "groff(7) – Linux manual page". Retrieved 2014-02-08.