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I wish to typeset some relatively long URLs in a piece of text, and when I use \url{..}, the resulting text does not respect the margin boundaries that govern the main text body, instead going all the way to the edge of the paper before wrapping around.

For reference, my preamble looks like this:


and example of the url I'm including is:

\item Some text


I'm compiling using pdflatex, although I doubt this makes a difference.

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Alas, a quick google search found my answer (use the [hyphens] option to the url package). Not sure if I should leave the question up here for future reference or just delete it. – Suresh Sep 13 '10 at 4:01
It seems like a reasonable question. You should make your comment an answer. Wait a bit, if no one else has a good answer, just accept your own comment. I think there's even a badge for it. – TH. Sep 13 '10 at 5:01
You could also perhaps consider a service such as tinyurl to shorten it. Long urls are plain ugly in a publication. – Yiannis Lazarides Sep 13 '10 at 14:30
... but URL shortening (a) makes the destination opaque and (b) adds another indirection layer vulnerable to linkrot. – Reid Sep 16 '13 at 20:09
I also suggest to consider not solving the problem but use short URLs instead. There are several services like goo.gl which will help you here. If the document is printed, then its even easier to transfer the URL to Browser. – math Nov 28 '13 at 8:32

11 Answers 11

up vote 96 down vote accepted

(converting a previous comment to an answer)

A quick google search (alas, too quick) reveals one solution. Use the [hyphens] option with the url package:


Some recommendations also include inserting \sloppy in case latex is trying too hard to align things.

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Do you mean that it should look like this: \usepackage{url}[hyphens] ? This does not work for me. – sixtyfootersdude Oct 30 '10 at 15:08
actually it would be \usepackage[hyphens]{url} – Suresh Oct 31 '10 at 6:48
@xport: hyperref loads the url package internally. Use \PassOptionsToPackage{hyphens}{url}\usepackage{hyperref} to pass the option to the url package when it is loaded by hyperref. This avoids any package option clashes. – Martin Scharrer Jul 12 '11 at 11:26
@Suresh A minimal usage-example with some blind text would be nice. – Martin Thoma Sep 20 '12 at 4:51
@Suresh @Martin Scharrer Both \usepackage[hyphens]{url} and \PassOptionsToPackage{hyphens}{url}\usepackage{hyperref} do not seem to work properly. Sure, the url is broken, but this happens at the right boundary of the page instead of at where the right margin begins. How should I solve this? – Adriaan Jan 10 '14 at 9:51

The package url defines the command \def\UrlOrds{\do\*\do\-\do\~\do\'\do\"\do\-}% which can be added to the default url break characters at which a line can be broken:



foo bar baz \url{very-long-url-very-long-url-very-long-url-very-long-url-very-long-url-}


enter image description here

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a few explaining words might have been nice in this answer... – xubuntix Nov 1 '12 at 10:15
woohoo! This is the only one that worked for me. The other similar answer by @xamde blew TeX's capacity. – Joe Corneli May 22 '13 at 13:28
tested and worked! – Jus12 Sep 8 '14 at 6:05
The only working method for me also. – Loi.Luu Sep 17 '14 at 11:36
Thanks! Works in combination with sloppypar wonderfully! – gilu Feb 5 at 7:58

I carefully read the documentation of the url package (I'm using PDFLaTeX) and found the following to work quite nice to let LaTeX add line breaks after every normal alphabetic character:

\expandafter\def\expandafter\UrlBreaks\expandafter{\UrlBreaks%  save the current one
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None of the previous (higer-rated) suggestions worked for me with a troublesome URL I was dealing with. This option did work. Are there any potential problems with this approach? All I see is that it may not always break at a "visually appealing" part of a URL. – SSilk Jun 25 '12 at 13:19
Great! Works for me too, thank you. – Aubergine Dec 31 '12 at 15:09
This is a bad solution, because it removes all characters predefined within \UrlBreaksin the package. This can mislead other users, see e.g. Dots are smaller when UrlBreaks defined. – Speravir Feb 25 '13 at 17:51
I used the same solution, but with UrlBigBreaks. Does anybody know whether this has any adverse effects? – user1202136 Jan 20 '14 at 11:03
@Speravir The thread you are linking to is not found by now. More explanations welcome, though. – KO the typo Apr 8 '15 at 10:24

Using the sloppypar environment as in

  Figure \ref{fig:example_instant_lumi}:
  Public result available from \url{https://twiki.cern.ch/twiki/bin/view/AtlasPublic/LuminosityPublicResults}, version of 16.12.2011.

helps in my case. Without sloppypar the AtlasPublic part runs over the right margin, with sloppypar LaTeX breaks after view/ and everything's fine. (Doesn't need the url package.)

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This worked beautifully for me! Thanks! – thedoctar Jul 29 '12 at 15:41
I found that sloppypar and the url package worked well together. – Faheem Mitha Sep 22 '13 at 18:44
I have combined the suggestion by @Herbert and yours, and it looks like this method works for me. But I found one "full stop" notation below the reference entry. Is there any way to eliminate that? Thank you. – Vijay Sep 22 '14 at 5:47

If it's not necessary for the url to appear verbatim, you could use \href{url}{text}. That way you could give the url a human-readable form. If your document is used electronically you just use it as an hyperlink and if the document is printed you could (or should) question the relevance of long (and probably cryptic) url's.

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URLs often appear in bibliographies. For an online resource, they should not be omitted. – TH. Sep 13 '10 at 10:02
I could have reformatted the text as a bibliography, but in my particular setting this would have been too clunky. – Suresh Sep 14 '10 at 7:17
For some ungainly long URLs one can set up URL-shortened links via tinyurl.com, bit.ly, or other similar sites. Then the printed link can be the readable short link but the underlying link in the PDF can go to the original URL. – András Salamon Sep 26 '10 at 15:59
You can also use \href with the text set to the url, using \texttt, and putting the line breaks in explicitly. You gain flexibility at the price of a little more work. – Tom Zych Sep 15 '12 at 0:00
Instead of \texttt with manual line breaks, you can use the \path command from the url package, as mentioned in this question. This is the only way I was able to get sensible display of URLs in a bibliography on the arXiv. – Mike Shulman Jul 23 '13 at 21:14

You may also want to look at the breakurl package.

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this is a package for latex->dvips->ps2pdf and not for pdflatex – Herbert Feb 6 '11 at 20:33
  1. \usepackage[hyphens]{url} should be ok. If it does not work, then go to (2).

  2. \RequirePackage[hyphens]{url} before \documentclass.

  3. \expandafter\def\expandafter\UrlBreaks\expandafter{\UrlBreaks% save the current one \do\a\do\b\do\c\do\d\do\e\do\f\do\g\do\h\do\i\do\j% \do\k\do\l\do\m\do\n\do\o\do\p\do\q\do\r\do\s\do\t% \do\u\do\v\do\w\do\x\do\y\do\z\do\A\do\B\do\C\do\D% \do\E\do\F\do\G\do\H\do\I\do\J\do\K\do\L\do\M\do\N% \do\O\do\P\do\Q\do\R\do\S\do\T\do\U\do\V\do\W\do\X% \do\Y\do\Z}

    It does work, but it is not a good way because it breaks the url address at an arbitrary place, which looks ugly.

  4. \sloppy sometimes does work, sometimes does not. It is not a thorough solution.

I recommend Solution (1) or (2).

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\soppy should be used iin a group only. – Johannes_B Oct 8 '15 at 9:10
I feel this is more or less a mash-up of other answer already given, can you explain what your approach adds to the answers present. – moewe Oct 8 '15 at 9:30
@moewe I have surveyed and summarized the answers above. – STUDY Oct 8 '15 at 10:31
Mhhh, yes, I thought that as well. But normally I think this is left to the reader and we prefer not to add answers that don't introduce new approaches. – moewe Oct 8 '15 at 10:33
I think you can show your approval or disapproval of certain solutions by voting and commenting, so those summary answers are of no real use. But then again, some people may like those summary answers. I just wanted to point out that these answers are really unusual here. – moewe Oct 8 '15 at 15:20

I have a similar problem with itemize environment. When a word (or an url) is too long to respect the margin it does not starts a newline. Using \sloppy works but is very ugly.

My LaTeX code is generated by rst2latex.py and I use pdflatex on it.

I found that much better solution on the latex-community.org forum :

\tolerance 1414
\hbadness 1414
\emergencystretch 1.5em
\hfuzz 0.3pt
\vfuzz \hfuzz

So I add this snippet in my docutils.tex and everything is just fine !

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I think it is ok to post this here, but please have a look, if this works for the original problem too. – canaaerus Sep 14 '12 at 11:59
I have checked with urls and it works. I can't remember why I was talking about the abstract context, maybe my brain was still in another post. – Stan Sep 14 '12 at 15:39

I troubles I had with url breaking in an itemize environment could be solved by adding \Urlmuskip = 0mu plus 1mu in the preamble.

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Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look on our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format. – mafp Jun 19 '13 at 8:02

Not using \url, but \href, the URL is not visible anyway, so the suggestion in regard to employing tinyurl is relevant as it does avoid the ugliness of the URL in the text.

Much better, I find, to make an appropriate part of the text active, as in \href{URL}{active in context text}.

This way, the URL is not visible in the print out either.

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According to the documenation, BigBreaks is the way to go otherwise it breaks at the first character.


See: http://texdoc.net/texmf-dist/doc/latex/url/url.pdf I had the problem that a line break was inserted always after http:, even when using \UrlBreaks, the documentation clarified that this is the intended behavior.

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