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Writing with Single Lines Not Double in Your Blog Posts

If you are a poet, quoting poetry, write out an address, recipe, or need to create a block of text featuring single lines not double lines between each line, here’s how.

By default, WordPress and most blogging programs turn every line into a paragraph. When you hit the ENTER or RETURN button on your keyboard, it puts in a line break which WordPress interprets as the end of a sentence.

Thus, the underlying code of your paragraph looks like this:

<p>This is a paragraph of text that goes on, wrapping
around the line over and over again, until you finally get to
the end of the paragraph and hit the ENTER key.</p>
<p>Then a new paragraph is started on the next line and 
on your blog post, there is a space between each paragraph,
set by the blog designer in your CSS stylesheet. The space
is wider on some blog designs and narrower on others.</p>

This looks like the paragraphs you see in this article, with a space between each paragraph, created by the P Paragraph HTML tag.

An example of a block of text in which you control the length of the line, but each line is on top of the other with no paragraph spacing between the lines, such as poetry, is:

We shall never cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot

You have three options for making single spaces between lines.

In the Visual Editor of WordPress, hold down the SHIFT then ENTER keyboard key. The next line will be right under the first.

In the Text/HTML Editor for WordPress, you have a choice to simply make one ENTER between the lines rather than the two required for paragraphs, or use the HTML for the line break code to force the line breaks.

To force a line break manually, add a line break HTML tag to the end of each line <br />:

We shall never cease from exploration<br />
And the end of all our exploring<br />
Will be to arrive where we started<br />
And know the place for the first time.<br />
<cite>T. S. Eliot</cite>

WordPress will automatically wrap the whole thing in a Paragraph tag, but will honor the line breaks so each line appears on it’s own with no spacing between.

This technique works for recipes, addresses, poetry, and other times you wish to have only a single line between other lines.

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12 Comments

  1. Posted June 16, 2007 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    You can also hit ‘Shift-Enter’ to add line breaks in the WYSIWYG editor.

  2. Posted June 16, 2007 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    cite not em for the author :)

  3. Posted June 16, 2007 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Well, sorta. The CITE has a mixed history. But this should set a better example. Thanks.

  4. Posted June 16, 2007 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    In the Code tab, you don’t need to manually add line break tags. You just hit enter. Two line breaks in a row will translate to a new paragraph. I wish the WYSIWYG editor behaved the same way.

  5. Posted June 16, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    After, writing a line, hitting enter, then returning to ‘edit this post’ mode, code-view, all of the codes seam to disappear. It would be nice if this rough code would stay in the system. Otherwise good tip.

  6. Posted June 16, 2007 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s rather annoying that the WordPRess editor does strange things with plain ol’ HTML we enter into the posting screen. It re-arranges HTML code, messes with line breaks and such other things.

    Does anyone have a plugin to shut off any involvement with the post text?

  7. Posted June 17, 2007 at 12:42 am | Permalink

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    If you are using WordPress platform for your blog, then there are a few things you need to know abo…

  8. thefireplace
    Posted June 17, 2007 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Fips has already given the easy answer:
    You can also hit ‘Shift-Enter’ to add line breaks in the WYSIWYG editor.

    There is no need to use the Code view to solve this.

  9. Posted June 17, 2007 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I get this question from readers and WordPress users frequently, so it is obviously worth providing this how to information.

    There are many, thefireplace, who do not use the Rich Text Editor, and need to know about this ability, as well as those who do not use WordPress.

    Mark, while it should work automatically, recognizing a single space compared to double space, I’ve found that this is not a consistent ability, sometimes based upon versions, other times when it feels like it. :D

    As for Plugins to stop the Rich Text Editor from influencing your post content, that kind of defeats its purpose. If you don’t like it, turn it off. Personally, I find it cumbersome and only use it when I have to. Of course, I’ve been writing code and HTML manually for a very long time, so I write it like typing a letter, without much thought on the keystrokes and a lot on the intent and purpose. :D It’s actually kind of frees the mind to just write as if this was a blank slate instead of a pretty picture.

  10. Posted July 23, 2007 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    There really should be a viable option for this. Either hacking the wysiwyg editor or via a plugin.
    Only using “code view” is not an option for some people and neither is ‘shift-enter’

  11. Bill
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I’m new to WP. I was creating pages and it’s simple to get around the double space with the Shift/Enter. But I’ve got a different one for you. How about when you want to use forms. The forms are double spaced when I’d like to see single spaced. I don’t know if forms are affected by WP or if they can be adjusted to do single space…


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