<samp>: The Sample Output element

The <samp> HTML element 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).

Try it


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";

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


Basic example

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

  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.


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:


<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.


The CSS that achieves the appearance we want is:

.prompt {
  color: #b00;

samp > kbd {
  font-weight: bold;

.cursor {
  color: #00b;

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


The resulting output is this:

Technical summary

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.
Implicit ARIA role generic
Permitted ARIA roles Any
DOM interface HTMLElement


HTML Standard
# the-samp-element

Browser compatibility

BCD tables only load in the browser

See also