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Ideal column width for paragraphs online

We’ve always been told that lines of text should not be longer than 55 - 65 characters or thereabouts but I'm also finding studies saying longer lines of 90 characters or more is better on the web. Now I have no idea what to do. Is a long line of text really better on the web, or should I stick with a shorter line.


  • 55-75 characters is the width of the text. "Long text" refers to vertical size.
    – dnbrv
    Jun 29, 2012 at 16:21
  • 1
    There is no absolute rule other than 'really long and really short' line lengths can be awkward. There's also lots of variables to consider (typeface, type size, leading, color, length of copy, margins, page layout, etc.)
    – DA01
    Jun 29, 2012 at 16:34
  • I'm not necessarily looking for a absolute rule, I'm trying to decide if one is generally better then the other for readying large blocks of body copy. Jun 29, 2012 at 16:43
  • The idea is that people do not like to read or scan across a long horizontal line of text. That's why newspapers print their text in columns. As to how many characters, DA01 listed what to consider in his comment. Jul 2, 2012 at 19:40


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