Starting a New Paragraph

Starting a New Paragraph

(X)HTML does not recognize the returns or other extra white space that you enter in your text editor (see page 32). To start a new paragraph in your Web page, you use the p tag.

Figure. Enclose each paragraph in opening and closing p tags. If you don't close them (which is perfectly legal in HTML but not XHTML), styles won't be applied properly.

To begin a new paragraph:

Type <p>.

Type the contents of the new paragraph.

Type </p> to end the paragraph.

13. The amount of space between each paragraph is proportional to the size of the text.


  • The closing </p> tag is required both in XHTML and when applying styles to a paragraph. Therefore, I recommend always ending a paragraph with </p>. In HTML, the closing </p> tag is optional.

  • You can use styles to format paragraphs with a particular font, size, or color (and more). For details, consult Chapter 10, Formatting with Styles.

  • To control the amount of space between lines, consult Setting the Line Height on page 158. To control the amount of space after a paragraph, consult Setting the Margins around an Element on page 176 or Adding Padding around an Element on page 177.

  • One quick and dirty (and valid) trick for adding extra space between paragraphs is to type &nbsp; (a non-breaking space) between each additional p element. Still, it's better to use CSS (see pages 176177).

  • You can align the text in the paragraph by typing align="direction" in the opening p tag, where direction is left, right, center, or justify. But note that the align attribute has been deprecated in favor of style sheets (see page 165).

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