This question led to a new package:

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.


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

  • 18
    ... but URL shortening (a) makes the destination opaque and (b) adds another indirection layer vulnerable to linkrot.
    – Reid
    Sep 16, 2013 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, 2013 at 8:32
  • 2
    The problem with all the answers, I think, provided to this question is that (when a certain URL is broken across multiple lines) every PDF viewer which I tried will only highlight that line of the URL which one is clicking on (and not the complete URL), which is confusing. Anybody knows how to fix it?
    – O0123
    Apr 16, 2016 at 22:12

17 Answers 17


(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.

  • 75
    @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. Jul 12, 2011 at 11:26
  • 10
    @Suresh A minimal usage-example with some blind text would be nice. Sep 20, 2012 at 4:51
  • 11
    @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, 2014 at 9:51
  • 24
    If the \PassOptionsToPackage{hyphens}{url} approach does not work, maybe it's "because you're trying to load the url package with a specific option, but it's being loaded by one of your packages before that with a different set of options. Try loading the url package earlier than the package that requires it. If it's loaded by the document class, try using \RequirePackage[hyphens]{url} before the document class." latex-community.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=22526#p76347 Mar 23, 2015 at 16:37
  • 9
    I have just experienced the issue too. On my side, \PassOptionsToPackage{hyphens}{url} was not working because of BibLaTeX, I had to write that command and load hyperref BEFORE BibLaTeX was loaded, which solved the problem. Gonna edit the answer.
    – wget
    Apr 9, 2015 at 8:54

Herbert Voß created (December 2017) the package xurl.

This package allows urls to break everywhere, can be compiled simply with pdflatex, and has the same options as url (indeed, it loads url package).

Here an MWE:

% arara: pdflatex



An example of everywhere breaking url: 

Another example of everywhere breaking url: 

A third example: 


Here the output:

enter image description here

Update: since version 0.05 (December 2018) the package author have added support for biblatex which has its own url handling.

If you load xurl after biblatex this is done by default.

If you want to avoid it, load xurl before biblatex or use the option nobiblatex:


For more info, see package documentation.

  • This does not seem to work in a bib file.
    – J.-E. Pin
    Nov 23, 2018 at 16:14
  • @carlatex There is already a question on line breaks of long URLs in biblatex bibliography. Would your answer also work for this question?
    – J.-E. Pin
    Nov 24, 2018 at 12:01
  • @J.-E.Pin There was an update to the package, now biblatex is supported, see my renewed answer.
    – CarLaTeX
    Dec 11, 2018 at 8:38
  • This and the other answers don't work for me! Screenshot: i.imgur.com/FwBWCLg.png. Source code: github.com/jamesray1/holochain-proto/commit/…. I'll keep trying the others...
    – James Ray
    Mar 1, 2019 at 5:14
  • 1
    @Steven Is David's answer OK for you?
    – CarLaTeX
    Jun 24, 2023 at 8:24

The package url defines a 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. Below, the line \g@addto@macro appends the list of characters defined in \UrlOrds to the \UrlBreaks macro.



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


output example

The same effect could be obtained by using the more usual \renewcommand on \UrlBreaks, but this would remove the characters that were already defined in \UrlBreaks.

If you load package etoolbox you can reduce these 3 lines:


to this oneliner:

  • 3
    woohoo! This is the only one that worked for me. The other similar answer by @xamde blew TeX's capacity. May 22, 2013 at 13:28
  • Thanks! Works in combination with sloppypar wonderfully!
    – gilu
    Feb 5, 2016 at 7:58
  • I wonder why xurl does not have that characters in its UrlBreaks definition.
    – koppor
    Jan 9, 2018 at 7:49
  • 1
    @koppor Oh, it has, at least in version from 2018-12-23 (which is later than your comment).\UrlBreaks is just redefined from scratch, but includes the characters that are in \UrlOrds in url.sty.
    – Speravir
    Jan 4, 2020 at 0:25
  • I tried using this solution in the case of using an \href with a long \url but I couldn't get pdflatex to compile on overleaf. Any ideas on this?
    – Steven
    Jun 18, 2023 at 9:36

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

Herbert Voß (who provided the edited version above with all the \expandafters) created a package xurl which makes it much simpler (see also answer of CarLaTeX). This package takes also care of biblatex and does also include numbers and the characters that are defined as \UrlOrds in url, cf. this other answer (which is also from Herbert, though you can not recognize this anymore.)

  • 7
    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, 2012 at 13:19
  • I used the same solution, but with UrlBigBreaks. Does anybody know whether this has any adverse effects? Jan 20, 2014 at 11:03
  • For the record, I was having the url problem while using \url{} inside enumerate environment. The other solutions were fine when the \url was inside the text. But this answer is the only one that fixed the url problem inside enumerate. Thank you!
    – Jorge V
    Dec 14, 2015 at 3:59
  • 1
    This solution seems to work better than the others, but I experienced a problem in the limit case when the url ends close to line ending; LaTeX is unable to put the word following the url to a new line and puts such word (or at least the first syllable of it) in the same line, even if it protrudes from right justification, with really bad results.
    – mmj
    Nov 28, 2016 at 11:27
  • 2
    I had to cite the following link in a bibliography. ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/uksectoraccounts/datasets/… This answer was the only solution.
    – Hugh
    Dec 5, 2016 at 12:35

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.)

  • I found that sloppypar and the url package worked well together. Sep 22, 2013 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, 2014 at 5:47
  • 1
    This also works with biber. \begin{sloppypar} \printbibliography \end{sloppypar}
    – koppor
    Feb 2, 2017 at 8:17

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.

  • 8
    URLs often appear in bibliographies. For an online resource, they should not be omitted.
    – TH.
    Sep 13, 2010 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, 2010 at 7:17
  • 2
    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. Sep 26, 2010 at 15:59
  • 6
    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, 2012 at 0:00
  • 1
    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. Jul 23, 2013 at 21:14
  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).

  • 1
    \soppy should be used iin a group only.
    – Johannes_B
    Oct 8, 2015 at 9:10
  • 4
    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, 2015 at 9:30
  • 1
    @moewe I have surveyed and summarized the answers above.
    – STUDY
    Oct 8, 2015 at 10:31
  • 4
    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, 2015 at 15:20
  • 1
    @moewe Yes, you are right. But the only problem is that I have no enough reputations to comment others' answers.
    – STUDY
    Oct 9, 2015 at 6:17

You may also want to look at the breakurl package.

  • 21
    this is a package for latex->dvips->ps2pdf and not for pdflatex
    – user2478
    Feb 6, 2011 at 20:33

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.

  • I tried using this solution in the case of using an \href with a long \url but I couldn't get pdflatex to compile on overleaf. Any ideas on this?
    – Steven
    Jun 18, 2023 at 9:41

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.

  • 1
    This would be a fine idea if it was never to be printed on paper as a stand-alone work..
    – CodeLurker
    May 13, 2020 at 3:58

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 !

  • 1
    I think it is ok to post this here, but please have a look, if this works for the original problem too.
    – bodo
    Sep 14, 2012 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, 2012 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.

  • 1
    Welcome to TeX.SX! You can have a look on our starter guide to familiarize yourself further with our format.
    – mafp
    Jun 19, 2013 at 8:02
  • I tried using this solution in the case of using an \href with a long \url but I couldn't get pdflatex to compile on overleaf. Any ideas on this?
    – Steven
    Jun 18, 2023 at 9:41

The top-voted answer did not completely work for me and I really won't use the most ridicule way of requesting a line break for each letter of the alphabet(!) as some answers suggest here. (I'd wonder what happens if you then have a lot of emojis in your URLs or so, which is – theoretically at least – a thing in 2019.)

Instead though, I found this nice solutions, which really seems to force breaking URLs at any position:

% always break URLs anywhere!
\setcounter{biburllcpenalty}{9000} % lower letters
\setcounter{biburlucpenalty}{9000} % upper letters

Source is this forum post, which actually refers to this German forum post.

In my testing it worked, and, okay, I admit, I did not test it with emojis.


I used the .bib file with these packages.


And that made the work.


I would like to link to the following question here on TeX-SE: https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/207712/128658

Followed by \Urlmuskip=0mu plus 1mu\relax this does result in URLs that are properly broken over multiple lines without causing any overfull boxes. Plus this does also work for URLs in bibliographys (opposed to @xamde's answer to this question).

If you are doing this sorcery inside a package instead of your actual document you have to encapsulate the counter-changes in a \AtBeginDocument as they aren't defined otherwise. It could therefore look something like this:

% set special behaviour for hyperlinks in pdfs
\RequirePackage[breaklinks=true, pdfencoding=auto]{hyperref}
    \do\/{\mbox{\UrlFont/}\hskip 0pt plus 10pt}%

\Urlmuskip=0mu plus 1mu\relax

    \setcounter{biburlucpenalty}{1}  %break URL after uppercase character
    \setcounter{biburlnumpenalty}{1} %break URL after number
    \setcounter{biburllcpenalty}{1}  %break URL after lowercase character

The solution that works perfect for me both for bibtex and biblatex is the combination of sloppypar that @fuenfundachtzig mentioned with the \usepackage[hyphens]{url} that proposed by @Suresh.

The next code is used to be able to use both ways (bibtex and biblatex) to compile your file and works for me in cases of natbibs agsm style and bibers authoryear. Actually you don't have to use both ways and the method will work (I think) anyway if you just keep the code of each case (bibtex or biblatex) [except of the trick of @moewe with the url that solved the problem I had in my post here that will be possibly need to be adjusted according to the bibtex style we will use].

% \UseBibLaTex is a variable that if is less than 1 the document 
% will have to compiled with `bibTeX`... else with biber
% ``url'' package is used in order to make LaTeX to break the urls 
% in places like the bibliography combined with the next (upcoming) 
% command
\Urlmuskip=0mu plus 1mu minus 5mu

\def\harvardurl#1{{\bfseries URL:}\space\url{#1}}

title={One Article with a url that has to break both in bibtex and biblatex},
author={Someone NotMe and Someother Me},
title={One Article with another url that has to break both in bibtex and biblatex},
author={Someone NotMe and Myself Me},

\title{Double Functionality about Bibliography}
\author{Konstantinos Leledakis}
\date{October 2018}





Output with bibtex:

enter image description here

Output with biblatex (biber):

enter image description here


There is another possibility to force a linebreak by using a user-defined character inside the url. This is documented in the url package under 5.2.1 Arbitrary character actions:

You can do arbitrarily complex things with characters by specifying their definition(s) in \UrlSpecials. This makes them ‘active’ in math mode (mathcode "8000). The format for setting each special character c is: \do\c{hdefinitioni}, but other definitions not following this style can also be included. Here is an example to make “!” inside \url force a line break instead of being treated verbatim (it uses LATEX’s \g@addto@macro):


I think there are some downsides like using only ascii characters as the user-defined character (maybe, I'm not sure), and to have the user-defined character in the original url text, of course. I successfully tried the character | which I haven't found in any of my urls.

So you can write:


which will give you:


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