World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Non-breaking space

Article Id: WHEBN0000933901
Reproduction Date:

Title: Non-breaking space  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Whitespace character, Sorting, ZAR, Unicode character property, Manual of Style/Dates and numbers
Collection: Control Characters, Unicode Formatting Code Points, Whitespace
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Non-breaking space

In word processing and digital typesetting, a non-breaking space (" ") (also called no-break space, non-breakable space (NBSP), hard space, or fixed space) is a space character that prevents an automatic line break at its position. In some formats, including HTML, it also prevents consecutive whitespace characters from collapsing into a single space.

In HTML, the common non-breaking space, which is the same width as the ordinary space character, is encoded as   or   In Unicode, it is encoded as U+00A0.

Non-breaking space characters with other widths also exist.


  • Uses and variations 1
    • Non-breaking behavior 1.1
    • Non-collapsing behavior 1.2
    • Width variation 1.3
  • Encodings 2
  • Keyboard entry methods 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Uses and variations

Despite having layout and uses similar to those of whitespace, it differs in contextual behavior.[1][2]

Non-breaking behavior

Text-processing software typically assumes that an automatic line break may be inserted anywhere a space character occurs; a non-breaking space prevents this from happening (provided the software recognizes the character). For example, if the text "100 km" (according to the style guide) will not quite fit at the end of a line, the software may insert a line break between "100" and "km". To avoid this undesirable behaviour, the editor may choose to use a non-breaking space between "100" and "km". This guarantees that the text "100 km" will not be broken: if it does not fit at the end of a line it is moved in its entirety to the next line.

Non-collapsing behavior

A second common application of non-breaking spaces is in plain text file formats such as SGML, HTML, TeX and LaTeX, which treat sequences of whitespace characters (space, newline, tab, form feed, etc.) as if they were a single character. Such "collapsing" of whitespace allows the author to neatly arrange the source text using line breaks, indentation and other forms of spacing without affecting the final typeset result.[3][4]

In contrast, non-breaking spaces are not merged with neighboring whitespace characters when displayed, and can therefore be used by an author to insert additional visible space in the resulting output. Conversely, indiscriminate use (see the recommended use in style guides), in addition to a normal space, gives extraneous space in the output.

Width variation

Other non-breaking variants, defined in Unicode:

  • U+2007 figure space (HTML ). Produces a space somewhat equal to the figures (0–9) characters.
  • U+202F narrow no-break space (HTML  · NNBSP). It was introduced in Unicode 3.0 for Mongolian,[5] to separate a suffix[6] from the word stem without indicating a word boundary. It is also required for double punctuation in Canadian French (before " ; ? ! ") and Russian (before " — "), and in German between multi-part abbreviations (z. B., d. h., v. l. n. r.).[7] When used with Mongolian, its width is usually one third of the normal space; in other contexts, its width resembles that of the thin space (U+2009), at least with some fonts.[8]
  • U+2060 word-joiner (HTML  · WJ): encoded in Unicode since version 3.2. The word-joiner does not produce any space, and prohibits a line break at its position.


Format Representation of non-breaking space
Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 U+00A0   no-break space
UTF-8 C2 A0
ISO/IEC 8859 A0
CP1252 (Windows's default in most Germanic or Romance locales.) A0
EBCDIC 41 – RSP, Required Space
CP437, CP850, CP866 FF
HTML (including Wikitext)   (character entity reference)
  or   (numeric character references)
TeX ~ (tilde)
ASCII Not available

Unicode defines several other non-break space characters. See #Width variation. Encoding remarks:

  • Word joiner, encoded in Unicode 3.2 and above as U+2060, and in HTML as or .
  • The Byte Order Mark, U+FEFF, officially named "Zero Width No-Break Space", was also used with the same meaning as the word joiner, but in current documents this use is deprecated. See also Zero-width non-breaking space.

Keyboard entry methods

It is rare for national or international standards on keyboard layouts to define an input method for the non-breaking space. An exception is the Finnish multilingual keyboard, accepted as the national standard SFS 5966 in 2008. According to the SFS setting, the non-breaking space can be entered with the key combination AltGr + Space.[9]

Typically, authors of keyboard drivers and application programs (e.g., word processors) have devised their own keyboard shortcuts for the non-breaking space. For example:

System/application Entry method
Microsoft Windows Alt+0+1+6+0 or Alt+2+5+5 (doesn't always work)
Apple Mac OS X Opt+Space
Linux or Unix using X11 Compose, Space, Space
AmigaOS Alt+Space
GNU Emacs Ctrl+X 8 Space
Vim Ctrl+K, Space, Space; or Ctrl+K, Shift+N, Shift+S
Dreamweaver, LibreOffice, Microsoft Word, (since 3.0)
Ctrl+ Shift+Space (before 3.0),
Mac Adobe InDesign Opt+ Cmd+X

Apart from this, applications and environments often have methods of entering unicode entities directly via their code point, e.g. via the Alt Numpad input method. (Non-breaking space has codepoint 255 decimal (FF hex) in codepage 437 and codepage 850, and codepoint 160 decimal (A0 hex) in codepage 1252.)

See also


  1. ^ "Justify Just or Just Justify", M. Elyaakoubi and A. Lazrek. Journal of Electronic Publishing, vol. 13, issue 1, 2010. DOI 10.3998/3336451.0013.105.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Structure", HTML 4.01, W3, 1999-12-24 .
  4. ^ "Text", CSS 2.1, W3 .
  5. ^ ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993/FDAM 29:1999(E)
  6. ^ Mongolian NNBSP-connected suffixes
  7. ^ Solbrig, Amelie (1 February 2008). "Zweisprachige Mikrotypografie" (PDF) (in German). Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur Leipzig. p. 58 (PDF p. 113). Retrieved 11 October 2015. Alle Abkürzungen mit Binnenpunkten werden im Deutschen mit einem gFL [geschütztes flexibles Leerzeichen] spationiert. ... Die englische Schreibweise sieht keine Abstände zwischen einzelnen Buchstaben vor. Nach einem Binnenpunkt folgt demnach ohne gFL sofort der nächste Buchstabe. 
  8. ^ "Writing Systems and Punctuation" (PDF). The Unicode Standard 7.0.  
  9. ^ Kotoistus (2006-12-28), ]Status of the new keyboard layout [Uusi näppäinasettelu (presentation) (in Finnish and English),  . Drafts of the Finnish multilingual keyboard.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.