Introducing the CSS text-align-last Property

Sometimes tiny details that mostly go unnoticed can make or break the user experience. This can include subtle text shadows applied to a headline or proper spacing between different elements on a web page.

The text-align-last property is useful in this respect. It specifies how either the last line of a block or the line right before a forced line break will be aligned. This is important because the last line in a paragraph generally doesn’t have enough text to fill up the entire space. You may or may not notice the changes but it will improve the overall look of your website.

This tutorial will cover all the aspects of the text-align-last property including acceptable values, support and browser specific behavior.

Usage and Possible Values

It is pretty simple to use text-align-last in your projects. Here is a basic snippet to align the last line of text to the right:

.intro-graph {
  text-align: justify; // Required for IE and Edge 
  text-align-last: right;
}

This property has seven possible values. You are probably familiar with the usual left, right and center values. They align the text in the last line to the left, right and center of the container.
The following demo shows the differences between these three values:

See the Pen text-align-last — Example 1 by SitePoint (@SitePoint) on CodePen.

The fourth value, justify, aligns the last line in such a way that the text aligns its left and right edges to the left and right edges of the container. This is achieved by inserting an appropriate amount of space between words when necessary. Depending on the amount of text, you can use this property to completely fill the space on the last line without too much gap between words. The text in the second paragraph is also justified but since the last line only contains one word it is aligned to the left.

See the Pen text-align-last — Example 2 by SitePoint (@SitePoint) on CodePen.

While left aligning the last line of text works for languages that are read from Left to Right (LTR), it will be wrong to do so with RTL languages. In such cases, assigning the values left or right can cause issues when you don’t know the language to be used beforehand.

Fortunately, you can use the keyword start to align the text to the starting position of a line based on the direction of text. This implies that setting text-align-last to start will left align the text of LTR languages and right align the text of RTL languages. Similarly, you can use the value end to align the text to the ending position of a line based on the direction of text. This will right align the text of LTR languages and left align the text of RTL languages.

See the Pen text-align-last — Example 3 by SitePoint (@SitePoint) on CodePen.

The default value for this property is auto. In this case, the text inside the last line is aligned using the value of the text-align property unless text-align is set to justify. When set to justified, the text is justified only if the value of the text-justify property is set to distribute. Otherwise, the text is start aligned.

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Source: Sitepoint