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The HTML Sample Element (<samp>) is used to enclose inline text which represents sample (or quoted) output from a computer program. Its contents are typically rendered using the browser's default monospaced font (such as Courier or Lucida Console).

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

Attributes

This element only includes the global attributes.

Usage notes

You can use a CSS rule to override the browser's default font face for the <samp> element; however, it's possible that the browser's preferences may take precedence over any CSS you specify.

The CSS to override the default font face would look like this:

samp {
  font-family: "Courier";
}

If you need an element which will serve as a container for output generated by your web site or app's JavaScript code, you should instead use the <output> element.

Examples

Basic example

In this simple example, a paragraph includes an example of the output of a program.

<p>When the process is complete, the utility will output the text
<samp>Scan complete. Found <em>N</em> results.</samp> You can then
proceed to the next step.</p>

The resulting output looks like this:

Sample output including user input

You can nest the <kbd> element within a <samp> block to present an example that includes text entered by the user. For example, consider this text presenting a transcript of a Linux (or macOS) console session:

HTML

<pre>
<samp><span class="prompt">mike@interwebz:~$</span><kbd>md5 -s "Hello world"</kbd>
MD5 ("Hello world") = 3e25960a79dbc69b674cd4ec67a72c62

<span class="prompt">mike@interwebz:~$</span> <span class="cursor">█</span></samp></pre>

Note the use of <span> to allow customization of the appearance of specific portions of the sample text such as the shell prompts and the cursor. Note also the use of <kbd> to represent the command the user entered at the prompt in the sample text.

CSS

The CSS that achieves the appearance we want is:

.prompt {
  color: #b00;
}

samp > kbd {
  font-weight: bold;
}

.cursor {
  color: #00b;
}

This simply gives the prompt and cursor fairly subtle colorization, and emboldens the keyboard input within the sample text.

Result

The resulting output is this:

Specifications

Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<samp>' in that specification.
Living Standard  
HTML5
The definition of '<samp>' in that specification.
Recommendation  
HTML 4.01 Specification
The definition of '<samp>' in that specification.
Recommendation  

Browser compatibility

FeatureChromeEdgeFirefoxInternet ExplorerOperaSafari
Basic support Yes Yes1 Yes Yes Yes
FeatureAndroid webviewChrome for AndroidEdge mobileFirefox for AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
Basic support Yes Yes Yes4 Yes Yes Yes

See also