prevent :after element from wrapping to next line

I have this HTML:

    <li class="completed"><a href="#">I want the icon to stay on the same line as this last <strong>word</strong></li>

I'm appending an icon using the :after pseudo element:

ul li.completed a:after {
    background:transparent url(img.png) no-repeat; 
    content: '';
    width: 24px;
    height: 16px;

The problem: if the available width is too small, the icon wraps to the next line. I would want it to stay on the same line as the last word of the link it's appended to:

Is this doable, without adding 'nowrap' to the entire link (I want the words to wrap, just not the icon).

See jsFiddle here.


you can add the image to the last word instead. that will make it break together.

add a class to word <strong class="test">word</strong>

and .test:after { ...

the trick is also to make that class to be inline-block

and if you want to keep the underline see this.

add text-decoration:inherit;

JSFiddle -

Add a negative margin to the pseudo element, to compensate its width:

ul li.completed a:after {
    background:transparent url(img1.png) no-repeat; 
    content: ' ';
    display: inline-block;
    width: 24px;
    height: 16px;
    margin-right: -24px;

Now, that is going to make the icon overflow the container, and the line is going to break only when the text meet the end of the line. If you need to maintain the icon inside the original container width, you can add padding to compensate again:

ul li.completed a {
    display: inline-block;
    padding-right: 24px;


For this method to work, there must be no white space between the text and the closing tag of the element holding the pseudo element. Even though the pseudo element's width is compensated by a negative margin, the white space will make the line break when it meets the edge of the parent element. For example, this works:

<span>text goes here</span>

and this doesn't:

    text goes here

This is a little similar to a previous answer, but I thought that I'd flesh it out and explain it fully.

As soon as you set display: inline-block, :after becomes a non-text-binding element. This is why it wraps, and why nowrap has no effect. So leave display alone.

As it's a text element by default, the content binds to previous text, as long as there's no whitespace between them. So don't add any, but make sure you have content: "", or it's the same as display: none. The only problem is height and width are controlled by the content, which in this case is collapsed. So width is 0, and height is the line height.

Resize the area with padding; left or right, it doesn't matter. Add a little margin so the icon doesn't touch the text. Keep everything as relative sizes (em, pt, etc.), and use background-size: contain, so that the icon scales with the text, like an emoji or font. Finally position the icon where you want with background-position.

ul li.completed a:after {
  content: "";
  background: url('icon.svg');
  background-size: contain;
  background-repeat: no-repeat;
  background-position: center center;
  margin-left: 0.2em; /* spacing*/
  padding-right: 0.75em; /* sizing */

I've used this for my external links (a[href*="://"]:after), and it's worked fine in Firefox, Chrome, and iOS. And since the icon remains a text element, even direct text after it binds, so any closing punctuation will wrap too.

I was having the same issue. I didn't really like the idea of adding strong or span tags to the last word, so I tried simply adding the icon as a background image with some padding-right instead of using the :after or :before pseudo elements. Worked for me!

<ul><li class="completed"><a href="#">I want the icon to stay on the same line as this last word</a></li></ul>

ul li.completed a {
background: url(img1.png) no-repeat 100% 50%;
padding-right: 18px;

Please make sure you end the tag before

<ul><li class="completed"><a href="#">I want the icon to stay on the same line as this last <strong>word</strong></a></li></ul>

Try the below css. Instead of using "after" use "before" and float right.

ul li.completed a:before {
    background:transparent url(img1.png) no-repeat; 
    content: '';
    width: 24px;
    height: 16px;

Please check this:

It is possible to do it without :after. The element with background should be display:inline.

<h1><span>I want the icon to stay on the same line as this last word</span></h1>

h1 span {
   padding-right: 24px;
   background: url('icon.svg') no-repeat right top; 

I was attempting this with a link button and had the most success with adding padding to the right of the element as @Hugo Silva suggested, then setting the ::after to absolute position. This was a pretty simple solution and seemed to work across modern browsers.

.button {
  position: relative;
  color: #F00;
  font-size: 1.5rem;
  padding-right: 2.25rem;

.button::after {
  content: '>>';
  display: inline-block;
  padding-left: .75rem;
  position: absolute;

Here's a JS Fiddle.

If using an icon font: Using the "non-breaking space" unicode \00a0 along with the pseudo-element content (in this case a Font Awesome glyph).

This works without any extra mark-up or special formatting or classnames.

a[href^='http']::after {
  content: '\00a0\f14c';
  font-family: 'Font Awesome 5 Pro', sans-serif;
  line-height: 0;

The line-height: 0; part keeps the lines from twitching when the last 'word + icon' wrap.

CodePen example

Need Your Help

Core Bluetooth advertise and scan in the background

ios iphone cocoa-touch bluetooth core-bluetooth

I have been trying to setup an app to make the device both scan for peripherals and advertise as a peripheral. The goal is for two devices to be woken up in the background when they become near each