No more widows

A widow is a term in typography that describes a single word on it’s own line at the end of a paragraph. Designers and typographists hate widows and are forever complaining about them.

A super simple way of fixing them is to add a <br> where you want to force a line break. However, <br> doesn’t play well with responsive or fluid design and sooner rather than later you’ll face an even uglier situation.

A better way to avoid widows is to add a non-breaking space between the last two words of a paragraph. This is what the &nbsp; character is for. However, it can be a little tedious (and impossible if you don’t have access to the raw text) to add these all over your website.

However, we can inject them using Javascript and a regular expression. Here’s a little jQuery snippet:

    $('p').html(function(i, html) {
        return html.replace(/\s([\S]+)$/,'&nbsp;$1');

This snippet loops through each paragraph and grabs the existing HTML. It then finds whitespace (\s) followed by one or more non-whitespace characters (\S) to the end of the line ($). It then replaces everything matched as non-whitespace to the end of the line with &nbsp; and then everything matched is appended. $1 refers to everything matched in the group ([\S]+).

Nice and easy - and no more hassle about widows!

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