Vertically Align Text to Top within a UILabel

Vertically Align Text to Top within a UILabel

18 April 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

Vertically Align Text to Top within a UILabel

When working with UILabels in iOS, a common challenge is ensuring text alignment looks as expected. In some cases, you might encounter a UILabel with space for two lines of text, but when the text content is too short, it centers vertically by default, which might not be the desired effect. Here’s how to align your text to the top of the UILabel.

Quick and Easy Solution

The simplest way to vertically align text to the top within a UILabel is to adjust the label’s frame. This can be done using the following method:

[myLabel sizeToFit];

If your UILabel needs to handle more than one line of text, you can set the numberOfLines property to 0, which allows for an unlimited number of lines:

myLabel.numberOfLines = 0;
[myLabel sizeToFit];

Detailed Explanation

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the steps involved:

  1. Initialize your UILabel with a specific frame, taking into account your desired margins.
  2. Set the background color of the UILabel if needed, to make it more visible during debugging.
  3. Assign the text to your UILabel.
  4. Set the numberOfLines property to 0 to allow for multiple lines.
  5. Call sizeToFit on the UILabel to adjust the frame accordingly.
  6. Add the UILabel as a subview to your view hierarchy.

Here’s an example code snippet:

- (void)viewDidLoad
    [super viewDidLoad];
    // Define the label's frame with margins
    CGRect labelFrame = CGRectMake(20, 20, 280, 150);
    UILabel *myLabel = [[UILabel alloc] initWithFrame:labelFrame];
    [myLabel setBackgroundColor:[UIColor orangeColor]];
    // Set the label text
    NSString *labelText = @"Your text goes here";
    [myLabel setText:labelText];
    // Allow for multiple lines and resize the label
    [myLabel setNumberOfLines:0];
    [myLabel sizeToFit];
    // Add the label to the view
    [self.view addSubview:myLabel];

Handling Different Text Alignments

When working with center- or right-aligned text, the sizeToFit method will still size the UILabel with the top-left corner fixed. To maintain a specific width after calling sizeToFit, you can save the original width in a variable and then set it afterward:

myLabel.textAlignment = NSTextAlignmentCenter;
[myLabel setNumberOfLines:0];
[myLabel sizeToFit];

// Set a fixed width for the frame after resizing
CGRect myFrame = myLabel.frame;
myFrame = CGRectMake(myFrame.origin.x, myFrame.origin.y, 280, myFrame.size.height);
myLabel.frame = myFrame;

Considerations When Using sizeToFit

It’s important to note that the sizeToFit method will respect the initial label’s minimum width. If your label starts out with a specific width, sizeToFit will adjust the height but maintain the minimum width you’ve set.

Adjustments for Auto Layout

When using Auto Layout, especially within Interface Builder or Storyboards, you may need to call sizeToFit within the viewDidLayoutSubviews method to ensure the label sizes correctly after Auto Layout has performed its layout passes.


Aligning text to the top of a UILabel is a straightforward process that can significantly impact the look and feel of your app’s UI. By adjusting the frame of the UILabel after setting its content, you can ensure that text is always aligned to the top, regardless of the amount of content.

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