HTML Entities

Reserved characters in HTML must be replaced with character entities.

HTML Entities

Some characters are reserved in HTML.

If you use the less than (<) or greater than (>) signs in your text, the browser might mix them with tags.

Character entities are used to display reserved characters in HTML.

A character entity looks like this:



To display a less than sign (<) we must write: &lt; or &#60;

Advantage of using an entity name: An entity name is easy to remember.
Disadvantage of using an entity name: Browsers may not support all entity names, but the support for entity numbers is good.

Non-breaking Space

A commonly used entity in HTML is the non-breaking space: &nbsp;

A non-breaking space is a space that will not break into a new line.

Two words separated by a non-breaking space will stick together (not break into a new line). This is handy when breaking the words might be disruptive.


  • § 10
  • 10 km/h
  • 10 PM

Another common use of the non-breaking space is to prevent browsers from truncating spaces in HTML pages.

If you write 10 spaces in your text, the browser will remove 9 of them. To add real spaces to your text, you can use the &nbsp; character entity.

Tip: The non-breaking hyphen (&#8209;) is used to define a hyphen character (‑) that does not break into a new line.

Some Useful HTML Character Entities

ResultDescriptionEntity NameEntity NumberTry it
non-breaking space&nbsp;&#160;Try it »
<less than&lt;&#60;Try it »
>greater than&gt;&#62;Try it »
&ampersand&amp;&#38;Try it »
double quotation mark&quot;&#34;Try it »
single quotation mark (apostrophe)&apos;&#39;Try it »
¢cent&cent;&#162;Try it »
£pound&pound;&#163;Try it »
¥yen&yen;&#165;Try it »
euro&euro;&#8364;Try it »
©copyright&copy;&#169;Try it »
®registered trademark&reg;&#174;Try it »

Note: Entity names are case sensitive.

Combining Diacritical Marks

A diacritical mark is a “glyph” added to a letter.

Some diacritical marks, like grave (  ̀) and acute (  ́) are called accents.

Diacritical marks can appear both above and below a letter, inside a letter, and between two letters.

Diacritical marks can be used in combination with alphanumeric characters to produce a character that is not present in the character set (encoding) used in the page.

Here are some examples:

MarkCharacterConstructResultTry it
 ̀aa&#768;àTry it »
 ́aa&#769;áTry it »
̂aa&#770;âTry it »
 ̃aa&#771;ãTry it »
 ̀OO&#768;ÒTry it »
 ́OO&#769;ÓTry it »
̂OO&#770;ÔTry it »
 ̃OO&#771;ÕTry it »

You will see more HTML symbols in the next chapter of this tutorial.