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name Punditsdkoslkdosdkoskdo

Vertically align text to top within a UILabel

I have a UILabel with space for two lines of text. Sometimes, when the text is too short, this text is displayed in the vertical center of the label.

How do I vertically align the text to always be at the top of the UILabel?

image representing a UILabel with vertically-centered text

There's no way to set the vertical-align on a UILabel, but you can get the same effect by changing the label's frame. I've made my labels orange so you can see clearly what's happening.

Here's the quick and easy way to do this:

    [myLabel sizeToFit];

sizeToFit to squeeze a label


If you have a label with longer text that will make more than one line, set numberOfLines to 0(zero here means an unlimited number of lines).

    myLabel.numberOfLines = 0;
    [myLabel sizeToFit];

Longer label text with sizeToFit


Longer Version

I'll make my label in code so that you can see what's going on. You can set up most of this in Interface Builder too. My setup is a View-Based App with a background image I made in Photoshop to show margins (20 points). The label is an attractive orange color so you can see what's going on with the dimensions.

- (void)viewDidLoad
{
    [super viewDidLoad];

    // 20 point top and left margin. Sized to leave 20 pt at right.
    CGRect labelFrame = CGRectMake(20, 20, 280, 150);
    UILabel *myLabel = [[UILabel alloc] initWithFrame:labelFrame];
    [myLabel setBackgroundColor:[UIColor orangeColor]];

    NSString *labelText = @"I am the very model of a modern Major-General, I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral";
    [myLabel setText:labelText];

    // Tell the label to use an unlimited number of lines
    [myLabel setNumberOfLines:0];
    [myLabel sizeToFit];

    [self.view addSubview:myLabel];
}

Some limitations of using sizeToFit come into play with center- or right-aligned text. Here's what happens:

    // myLabel.textAlignment = NSTextAlignmentRight;
    myLabel.textAlignment = NSTextAlignmentCenter;

    [myLabel setNumberOfLines:0];
    [myLabel sizeToFit];

enter image description here

The label is still sized with a fixed top-left corner. You can save the original label's width in a variable and set it after sizeToFit, or give it a fixed width to counter these problems:

    myLabel.textAlignment = NSTextAlignmentCenter;

    [myLabel setNumberOfLines:0];
    [myLabel sizeToFit];

    CGRect myFrame = myLabel.frame;
    // Resize the frame's width to 280 (320 - margins)
    // width could also be myOriginalLabelFrame.size.width
    myFrame = CGRectMake(myFrame.origin.x, myFrame.origin.y, 280, myFrame.size.height);
    myLabel.frame = myFrame;

label alignment


Note that sizeToFit will respect your initial label's minimum width. If you start with a label 100 wide and call sizeToFit on it, it will give you back a (possibly very tall) label with 100 (or a little less) width. You might want to set your label to the minimum width you want before resizing.

Correct label alignment by resizing the frame width

Some other things to note:

Whether lineBreakMode is respected depends on how it's set. NSLineBreakByTruncatingTail(the default) is ignored after sizeToFit, as are the other two truncation modes (head and middle). NSLineBreakByClipping is also ignored. NSLineBreakByCharWrapping works as usual. The frame width is still narrowed to fit to the rightmost letter.

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