<pre>: The Preformatted Text element

The <pre> HTML element represents preformatted text which is to be presented exactly as written in the HTML file. The text is typically rendered using a non-proportional, or monospaced, font. Whitespace inside this element is displayed as written.

By default, <pre> is a block-level element, i.e. its default display value is block.

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If you have to display reserved characters such as <, >, &, and " within the <pre> tag, the characters must be escaped using their respective character references.

<pre> elements commonly contain <code>, <samp>, and <kbd> elements, to represent computer code, computer output, and user input, respectively.


This element only includes the global attributes.

width Deprecated Non-standard

Contains the preferred count of characters that a line should have. Though technically still implemented, this attribute has no visual effect; to achieve such an effect, use CSS width instead.

wrap Non-standard Deprecated

Is a hint indicating how the overflow must happen. In modern browser this hint is ignored and no visual effect results in its present; to achieve such an effect, use CSS white-space instead.


It is important to provide an alternate description for any images or diagrams created using preformatted text. The alternate description should clearly and concisely describe the image or diagram's content.

People experiencing low vision conditions and browsing with the aid of assistive technology such as a screen reader may not understand what the preformatted text characters are representing when they are read out in sequence.

A combination of the <figure> and <figcaption> elements, supplemented by the ARIA role and aria-label attributes on the pre element allow the preformatted ASCII art to be announced as an image with alternative text, and the figcaption serving as the image's caption.


  <pre role="img" aria-label="ASCII COW">
  &lt; I'm an expert in my field. &gt;
          \   ^__^
           \  (oo)\_______
              (__)\       )\/\
                  ||----w |
                  ||     ||
  <figcaption id="cow-caption">
    A cow saying, "I'm an expert in my field." The cow is illustrated using
    preformatted text characters.


Basic example


<p>Using CSS to change the font color is easy.</p>
body {
  color: red;


Escaping reserved characters


let i = 5;

if (i &lt; 10 &amp;&amp; i &gt; 0)
  return &quot;Single Digit Number&quot;


Technical summary

Content categories Flow content, palpable content.
Permitted content Phrasing content.
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parents Any element that accepts flow content.
Implicit ARIA role generic
Permitted ARIA roles Any
DOM interface HTMLPreElement


HTML Standard
# the-pre-element

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also