Overflow problems in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer and the Expanding Box Problem is a thorough dissection of bugs that can occur with oversized content in Internet Explorer for Windows.

The particularly nasty thing about bugs caused by Internet Explorer’s inability to let oversized content overflow is that they often do not show up until after the site has been handed over to the client. That’s when content of all shapes, forms and sizes gets poured into the templates, breaking the layout in IE/Win.

Fortunately there are a couple of workarounds which are also explained in this article at Position Is Everything: word-wrap: break-word and overflow: hidden.

Posted on October 16, 2005 in Browsers, CSS, Quicklinks


  1. Sadly, however many things I tried, the PRE element ALWAYS expands around its content…

  2. Har, just struggled with this very story preparing my site’s relaunch ;)

  3. My standard fix has always been “overflow: hidden”… I’d never heard of word-wrap: break-word (sheepish grin)

  4. In addition to the suggested solutions; most overflow-cases can be worked around with ‘float’ and a solid dose of ‘negative backside margin’.

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