4.6.26 The br element

Flow content.
Phrasing content.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
Where phrasing content is expected.
Content model:
Content attributes:
Global attributes
DOM interface:
interface HTMLBRElement : HTMLElement {};

The br element represents a line break.

While line breaks are usually represented in visual media by physically moving subsequent text to a new line, a style sheet or user agent would be equally justified in causing line breaks to be rendered in a different manner, for instance as green dots, or as extra spacing.

br elements must be used only for line breaks that are actually part of the content, as in poems or addresses.

The following example is correct usage of the br element:

<p>P. Sherman<br>
42 Wallaby Way<br>

br elements must not be used for separating thematic groups in a paragraph.

The following examples are non-conforming, as they abuse the br element:

<p><a ...>34 comments.</a><br>
<a ...>Add a comment.</a></p>
<p><label>Name: <input name="name"></label><br>
<label>Address: <input name="address"></label></p>

Here are alternatives to the above, which are correct:

<p><a ...>34 comments.</a></p>
<p><a ...>Add a comment.</a></p>
<p><label>Name: <input name="name"></label></p>
<p><label>Address: <input name="address"></label></p>

If a paragraph consists of nothing but a single br element, it represents a placeholder blank line (e.g. as in a template). Such blank lines must not be used for presentation purposes.

Any content inside br elements must not be considered part of the surrounding text.

A br element should separate paragraphs for the purposes of the Unicode bidirectional algorithm. This requirement may be implemented indirectly through the style layer. For example, an HTML+CSS user agent could implement these requirements by implementing the CSS 'unicode-bidi' property. [BIDI] [CSS]