IE 8 & IE 9 give me the `textarea` of height that is less than requested by `rows` attribute value

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Currently working on cross-browser compatibility came across the problem with range of IEs.

I need the textarea of such height that it would render given text without scrollings. So I count lines of such text on the server side and on the front-end get:

<textarea rows="15">...</textarea>

So far it works with Chrome, FF & Opera:

But no such luck with IE8:

and IE9:

Is there anyway to fix it besides JS? Got HTML5 doctype and would like to keep my font-size value untouched.

Computed style of textarea:

background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);
border-bottom-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);
border-bottom-left-radius: 4px;
border-bottom-right-radius: 4px;
border-bottom-style: solid;
border-bottom-width: 1px;
border-left-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);
border-left-style: solid;
border-left-width: 1px;
border-right-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);
border-right-style: solid;
border-right-width: 1px;
border-top-color: rgb(204, 204, 204);
border-top-left-radius: 4px;
border-top-right-radius: 4px;
border-top-style: solid;
border-top-width: 1px;
box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.0745098) 0px 1px 1px 0px inset;
color: rgb(167, 169, 172);
cursor: auto;
display: inline-block;
font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
font-size: 13px;
font-weight: normal;
height: 300px;
letter-spacing: normal;
line-height: 20px;
margin-bottom: 4px;
margin-left: 0px;
margin-right: 0px;
margin-top: 0px;
overflow-x: auto;
overflow-y: auto;
padding-bottom: 4px;
padding-left: 6px;
padding-right: 6px;
padding-top: 4px;
resize: both;
text-align: start;
text-indent: 0px;
text-shadow: none;
text-transform: none;
vertical-align: middle;
white-space: nowrap;
width: 432.546875px;
word-spacing: 0px;
word-wrap: break-word; # changed to «pre» for IE
writing-mode: lr-tb;

Maybe try calculating what the CSS height would be and add that to the box's inline style as well.

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Turned out that line-height: 20px is causing the problem. One way to normalize it across browsers is default line-height: normal but what if I need other value? Thus JavaScript remains only solution it seems. Here's some jQuery code:

<!--[if IE]><script src="ie.js" type="text/javascript"></script><![endif]-->

$(document).ready(function() {

  var textArea = $('textarea'),
      lineHeight = parseFloat(textArea.css('lineHeight'));

  textArea.height(lineHeight * textArea.attr('rows'))


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I suppose the style sheet does not actually contain white-space: pre, since that would break the default rendering of textarea (which honors line breaks). Other than that, I don’t see why the problem would appear in Standards Mode.

I’m assuming that the HTML markup (which was not disclosed) contains the </textarea> end tag immediately after the last text line. Otherwise, browsers would imply that there is an empty 16th line in the content. (This browser behavior violates the HTML 4.01 spec which says that a newline immediately before an end tag shall be ignored, but what can you do?) But if this were the problem, it would appear e.g. on Firefox, too.

The setup where the height property of textarea is set to 300 pixels, which equals the number of lines (15) times the line height (20 pixels), is correct.

However, in Quirks Mode, IE misbehaves: it interprets the height attribute value as specifying the height of the total area occupied by the element, including padding and border. The 4px top and bottom padding and the 2px borders would thus require height: 310px. This in turn would cause excessive spacing in conforming browsers. So it’s best to work in Standards Mode. Check whether there is some typo in the doctype string. In IE, you can use F12 to enter Developer Tools, where you can inspect the properties and also see the mode of the browser.

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Referring to jibiel's answer (cannot comment yet due to lack of points).

Here's the code for correcting the heights of all textareas that have a row Attribute:

$("textarea[rows]").each( function() {
	$(this).css('height', parseFloat($(this).css('lineHeight')) * $(this).attr('rows') );
<script src=""></script>

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  • Do you use any css that might apply to the textarea?
  • @Arjan tons of. Please see my updated question.
  • Found out that line-height: 20px is causing the problem. One way to normalize it across browsers is default line-height: normal but what if I need other value?
  • Why are you using textarea to display text? The element is designed for user input. It was used for creating scrollable areas long, long ago, before CSS became available, but here you aren’t doing even that – you specifically want to avoid scrolling. Using the pre element would make things easier.
  • @JukkaK.Korpela I need those text to be editable.
  • You was right all along. See my answer. I'll accept yours because it was the first. Thanks!