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What does &nbsp mean?

Answer: When browsing the web, you may occasionally run into pages with   somewhere in the text. You may even see multiple &nbsp's grouped together. This looks pretty odd, but there is a good explanation for it.

NBSP stands for "No-Break SPace." It is similar to a standard space character, but it prevents line breaks, or newlines from being processed between words or other elements. Typically, a string of text will wrap at the last space before the end of a line. A no-break space is treated as a standard character, so the text will not wrap wherever one is inserted.

No-break (or "non-breaking") spaces are also used to display multiple consecutive spaces on a webpage. In HTML, the language used to create webpages, a single space is processed the same as two, ten, or one hundred consecutive spaces. So if you want to put more than one space between words or other elements on a webpage, you need to use a no-break space.

HTML Example

The HTML code for a no-break space is   (HTML codes for special characters begin with an ampersand and end with a semicolon) . So to make "this phrase" turn into "this    phrase," no-break spaces must be inserted between "this" and "phrase" in the HTML, as in the example below:


Sometimes, a webpage or HTML email may have syntax errors that cause "nbsp" to appear. This may happen if the trailing semicolon is not added (&nbsp instead of &nbsp;). Some websites, such as discussion boards, may not support certain HTML codes, including no-break spaces. In these cases, you may see the &nbsp; HTML code instead of white space.

Published: August 18, 2005   —   Updated: July 25, 2020 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center