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To justify or not to justify
text-align: left or text-align:justify?

 8:03 pm on Jan 15, 2004 (gmt 0)


after reading several hours about usability and accessibility in many other boards and on many other websites I am confused about using text-aling:justify any longer.

On the first view, justified aligned text really looks better regarding a websites as whole. But now I read, that justified text is only useful for print media and definitely not for web publishing.

What are your experiences as a designer? And what did you experience as a "simple" user?

To justify or not to justify - thatīs my question :-)

Best regards,




 10:38 pm on Jan 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi there ProfMoriarty,

As a simple user I tend to
use text-align: justify; text-justify: newspaper;
for display purposes. This works well in Opera 7.0,
Netscape 7.1, Mozilla 1.5 and even I.E. 6.0.2.
If you are unfamiliar with text-justfy:newspaper;
try this...

<p style="width:300px;font-size:18px;text-align: justify; text-justify: newspaper;">
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.
Praesent blandit venenatis purus. Integer massa libero,
vehicula id, consequat sed, tincidunt nec, purus. Class
aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra,
per inceptos hymenaeos. Suspendisse potenti. Nunc vulputate
magna non magna. Aenean lorem eros, adipiscing quis, semper
non, dictum a, nunc. Curabitur ut sem. Pellentesque a est id neque
hendrerit ultrices. Donec vulputate tincidunt turpis. Curabitur
dignissim vestibulum nunc. Aliquam felis lorem, ultrices sit amet,
convallis a, accumsan vel, ante. Proin aliquam turpis sed augue.
In pellentesque, magna a pulvinar adipiscing, est orci adipiscing
felis, sed laoreet urna magna quis neque. Proin facilisis aliquet urna.


Purple Martin

 2:19 am on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks for showing me the newspaper style birdbrain, I hadn't seen it before.

My initial impression is that it's nice to look at from a distance because it's so neat, but it's not as easy to read as normal left-aligned text because the spacing varies from line to line.

I'm going to stick with normal left-aligned text for readability.


 6:15 am on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks birdbrain,

didnīt know text-justify. And sorry, it didnīt have any effect on my Firebird. Well, text-justify seems to be a development by M$ so I doubt to find text-justify in any W3C specs, but here: [msdn.microsoft.com...]

@Purple Martin:
ACK. The shorter the line, the more difficult to read justified text. But what if can expect most of my Users to have line length of at least 500px. Do you then think itīs left-aligned still easier to read?




 7:34 am on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi there ProfMoriarty,

You say....

didnīt know text-justify. And sorry, it didnīt have any effect on my Firebird.

Well, that's odd because I have tested it in...
FireBird 0.7 and it works just fine.



 8:06 am on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Strange... Iīm using Firebird 0.7 also but there was no difference between

text-align: justify; text-justify: newspaper;

and just

text-align: justify;

Maybe I shoud go checking my eyes ;-)




 8:54 am on Jan 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Birdbrain it made no difference when I looked at either..

... didn't know it either so I went searching for it and it is a M$ proprietary property however there are plans to introduce it CSS3
CSS3 text-justify [w3.org]

What it does it prioritise using the language whether the lines should be justified using "word-spacing" or "letter-spacing" as far as my quick scan of the description reads anyway ;)..

I'll let you read about "newspaper" to see what you think, but my feelings are that it is what we have come to expect from text-align: justify; anyway (in "english" speaking ~ ltr text ~ browsers anyway)

back to topic...

Personally (as a simple user) ProfMoriarty I like justified text but only on fairly "narrow" readable columns anyway


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