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Text Wrap vs. Word Wrap

Are they the same thing?


Text wraps add interest

Improve the appearance of text wrapped around graphics with a little attention to details.

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Text is made up of words and words are text. So, it stands to reason that text wrap and word wrap should be the same thing. Not exactly. Although, they serve similar functions. They both control how text (words) appear on the page. And sometimes, the terms are used interchangeably.Runaround is another term used for text wraps.

Text Wrap

When you plop a graphic down in the middle of a column of text you can have the text run right over it, have it stop above the image and restart below it, or wrap it around the image. Text wrap is the process of fitting text around an image with a narrow margin. Depending on the size and placement of the image, the text may wrap around the left, right, or both sides of the image. The text wrap features of word processing and page layout software allow you to control the gap between the text and image for best appearance.

Text can also be wrapped around other blocks of text, such as pull-quotes placed within one or more columns of text. Text wraps also occur around initial caps (dropped caps).

"Avoid overly irregular text wraps. Trying to follow too closely the contours of irregularly shaped images often results in too many different line lengths, too much hyphenation, and holes in the text." How to Fine-tune Text Wraps | About.com Desktop Publishing

HTML also allows you to wrap text around images or other page elements and control the border between the text and object. This is typically down using align or style (CSS) attributes within the image source coding.

"Once you have added an image to your Web page, you might want to have the text flow next to the image, rather than align below it. There are two ways you can do it - CSS or HTML. I recommend using CSS, as it's more standards based." How to Wrap Text Around an Image | About.com Web Design/HTML

Word Wrap

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the first known use of the term word wrap was in 1977. When you set margins in a word processing document, word wrap forces the text to fit between the margins or within column guides. As text approaches the end of a line (the margin), if a word won't fit it wraps or continues at the beginning of the following line. Word wrap splits text between words not in the middle of a word unless hyphenation settings are used. With hyphenation, the software may insert soft hyphens in words to split it up between lines of text. This can result in less ragged line endings.
"You can control line endings on all lines as well as widows and orphans by making your hyphenation zone larger or smaller — forcing fewer or more words to hyphenate. Manually hyphenating some lines can also force changes that will eliminate some widows and orphans without changing entire sections of your document." How to Fine-tune Your Line Endings | About.com Desktop Publishing

Text editors (such as Windows Notepad), and Email programs (such as Outlook) have commands that will wrap text so that it all fits on the screen with no horizontal scrolling. Web browsers do this automatically. As you change the size of the editor or Web browser window, the text reflows and automatically changes the line lengths to fit the new window size. This is also referred to as line wrap.

Common Misue of the BR tag: "Using <br> to change the length of your text lines.
This will insure that your pages look great on your browser, but not necessarily on another browser. This is because the browsers will automatically put in word wrapping and then when it comes to your <br> will wrap the text again, resulting in short lines and long lines and choppy text. Solution: Use style sheets to define the width of your pages."
Correct Usage of P and BR Tags | About.com Wed Design/HTML

Word wrap is sometimes called text wrapping as well as line wrap or line break. Both are sometimes referred to as text flow.

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