How do I do a single newline/carriage return when typing a question or answer?

For example, if I wanted to write some columns with values as in an Excel spreadsheet. I see people do it all the time, but I don't know how. I read the formatting tips and all about the blockquote stuff... did some google'ing, but I still haven't found out how.

The only way I know to do newlines is by pressing the Enter key twice, which makes a new paragraph, creating an empty line, which is not what I want.

  • 4
    Did you already try <br/> like in HTML?
    – TimVK
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 12:27
  • Thanks Tim. <br/> works ! I didn't think of that one. I can use shift+enter here for newlines, but when asking a question or answering one I have to use <br/> tags. Okay. got it. edit: You can put that solution in as an answer so it can be voted on. Respectfully, Josh
    – joshpt
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 12:33
  • I find that sometimes <br> is needed too, depending on the situation
    – joshpt
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 12:42
  • So it looks like that meta part of the site deals with questions pertaining to mechanics of the stackoverflow site itself. Please correct me if it is anything different or anything more.
    – joshpt
    Commented Jun 21, 2012 at 19:47
  • 1
    Beware of the small screens, where such tables do not have scrollbars but are wrapped.
    – Arjan
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 16:51
  • 1
    Related: balpha wrote a long answer to a related question explaining why the two-line rule exists.
    – Pops
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 17:28
  • 3
    hit Spacebar twice. then Enter Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 17:59
  • 1
    As u useful comment was wiped when other answers to this question were deleted, let me repeat one very good reason not to use <br>: <br/> creates formatting messes later for someone trying to go back and edit to clean up other things (say, by applying a <pre> tag -- suddenly all that markup is visible), and it's the harder way to do this anyway. – Joel Coehoorn♦ Jul 5 '12 at 16:05
    – Arjan
    Commented Aug 17, 2013 at 8:24
  • I found <h6></h6> helpful as it generates a blank space for a heading, without any text. This is not just for a new line but also for some space after the newline which looks aesthetically more beautiful. Commented Apr 11 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


You can type two spaces    and press Enter.
Like so.

I wanted to write some columns with values as in an Excel spreadsheet

For longer/pasted text, you can also format as code in many ways, like by indenting with 4 spaces, or by using <pre></pre> tags (which need manual encoding of HTML), like so:

Column 1   Column 2   Column 3
value 1      13            26
value 2      11            22
  • 6
    But as an aside: line breaks should not be confused with (or abused for) paragraphs.
    – Arjan
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 9:34
  • 2
    @gobernador, Why not use <br> instead?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 11:29
  • Is that useful? of no use
    – kdh
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 5:40
  • @kdh, I mean typing <br> instead of typing "space" + "space" + "newline". Try it, it works.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 1:42
  • @Pacerier as Pops said in a comment to a now deleted answer, "Markdown should be preferred over HTML" - which makes sense. Raw HTML should be used with care and only when there's no Markdown alternative. Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 7:30
  • @ShadowWizard, That's true only if a future CSS template might display them differently. However, <br> and "space" + "space" + "newline" are synonymous regardless of styling.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 9:22
  • testing the new line now <br> my new line Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 5:54
  • test<br> it works really ?
    – j10
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 6:37
  • @jitenshah: HTML tags don't work in comments, only in posts. There's no way that I know of to insert line breaks in comments (except for MathJax hacks on sites that have it enabled). Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 19:24

Use the HTML line break tag '<br>'. See the example below where Line 1 uses the line break and line 2 uses the Enter key.

Example (1: <br>, 2: Enter)

Line 1
Line 2 Line 3

Click the Edit button on this post here for good reference.

  • 1
    That works, but there are already three deleted answers suggesting that, all with negative scores. People don't like HTML when there's a Markdown solution :)
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Oct 31, 2017 at 18:44
  • The two spaces + enter is a lot more elegant, especially in markdown view. I'm sure there's times (and spaces) for html, but doublespacing what I recommend. Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 2:57
  • 2
    For me, this answer is useful. Commented Feb 22, 2019 at 7:28

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