CSS break-inside

The CSS break-inside property allows you to prevent an unwanted break within a multi-column layout, paged media, and in multi-region contexts.

For example, when working with multi-column layouts, you might prefer ordered lists to display within one column (instead of spilling over to the next column part-way through the list). In this case, you could use the break-inside property to avoid this unwanted break.

Syntax

break-inside: auto | avoid | avoid-page | avoid-column;

Possible Values

auto
Specifies to neither force nor forbid a page/column break inside the element.
avoid
Specifies to avoid a page break inside the element.
avoid-page
Specifies to avoid a page break inside the element.
avoid-column
Specifies to avoid a column break inside the element.
avoid-region
Specifies to avoid a region break inside the element.

In addition, all CSS properties also accept the following CSS-wide keyword values as the sole component of their property value:

initial
Represents the value specified as the property's initial value.
inherit
Represents the computed value of the property on the element's parent.
unset
This value acts as either inherit or initial, depending on whether the property is inherited or not. In other words, it sets all properties to their parent value if they are inheritable or to their initial value if not inheritable.

Basic Property Information

Initial Value
auto
Applies To
block-level elements
Inherited?
No
Media
Visual

Example Code

Basic CSS

break-inside: avoid;

Working Example within an HTML Document

<!doctype html>
<title>Example</title>
<style>
.multicol {
  background-color: lightyellow;
  padding: 10px;

  /* Safari and Chrome */
  -webkit-column-count: 3;
  -webkit-column-rule: 2px dotted coral;

  /* Firefox */
  -moz-column-count: 3; 
  -moz-column-rule: 2px dotted coral;

  /* CSS3 */
  column-count: 3; 
  column-rule: 2px dotted coral;
}

.multicol ul {
  break-inside: avoid;
}
</style>
<div class="multicol">
  <h3>Fruit</h3>
  <p>Here is a list of delicious fruit:</p>
  <ul>
    <li>Mangoes</li>
    <li>Papaya</li>
    <li>Strawberries</li>
    <li>Rasberries</li>
    <li>Lychees</li>
    <li>Durian Fruit</li>
  </ul>
  <p>If your browser supports this property, the above list should appear in one column. Otherwise it will probably break over to the next column.</p>
</div>

Try it with the Online Editor

This example uses vendor prefixes for the multi-column layout due to lack of browser support for the official standard at the time of writing.

Also note that at the time of writing, most browsers support the break-inside property from the CSS 2.1 specification, but not the most recent spec.

CSS Specifications

Browser Support

The following table provided by Caniuse.com shows the level of browser support for this feature.

Vendor Prefixes

For maximum browser compatibility many web developers add browser-specific properties by using extensions such as -webkit- for Safari, Google Chrome, and Opera (newer versions), -ms- for Internet Explorer, -moz- for Firefox, -o- for older versions of Opera etc. As with any CSS property, if a browser doesn't support a proprietary extension, it will simply ignore it.

This practice is not recommended by the W3C, however in many cases, the only way you can test a property is to include the CSS extension that is compatible with your browser.

The major browser manufacturers generally strive to adhere to the W3C specifications, and when they support a non-prefixed property, they typically remove the prefixed version. Also, W3C advises vendors to remove their prefixes for properties that reach Candidate Recommendation status.

Many developers use Autoprefixer, which is a postprocessor for CSS. Autoprefixer automatically adds vendor prefixes to your CSS so that you don't need to. It also removes old, unnecessary prefixes from your CSS.

You can also use Autoprefixer with preprocessors such as Less and Sass.