Splitting a string on to several different lines in Java

I have a very long string consisting of words punctuation and spaces. I am trying to modify the string to add a new line (\n) after every x characters but while preserving whole words. For example:

An evil human sprayed innocent students in the face with pepper spray

With x = 20 would output like this:

An evil human sprayed      21 chars
innocent students in       20 chars
the face with pepper       20 chars
spray                      end of string

If words would be split by inserting a \n after x characters, then the word should be allowed to stay on the line, while a new line would be inserted at the end of the word.

Is there a catch-all way of doing this without a whole lot of complicated code?


I would write:

s = s.replaceAll("(.{20,}?)\\s+", "$1\n");

This will find every instance of at least twenty non-newline characters, followed by one or more whitespace characters, and replace the whitespace with a newline. Or, to make x decidable at run-time (rather than hard-coded as 20), I'd write:

s = s.replaceAll("(.{" + x + ",}?)\\s+", "$1\n");

Take a look at the Apache commons lang library, in particular WordUtils#wrap().

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