What Does NBSP Mean?

Learn about the &nbps HTML character

An image of a man blogging on a laptop.

Pixabay

In computer programming, NBSP means:

Non-Breaking Space

This is an HTML character you may have seen online. It may appear as "&nbsp" and it tells a web browser to create a space between two words without going to the next line.

NBSP has another potential meaning if used on a dating website or app. In these cases, it can be an acronym that stands for "No Bullsh*t Please." A dating site user might use this on their profile or in a message to tell others they're looking for serious connections only.

NBSP Explained

Don't worry—you don't have to be a computer programmer to understand what a non-breaking space is and how it works.

Let's say you've just published a blog post on your blog, perhaps using a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get). You might also have the option to view and edit the post in HTML.

Once the blog post has been published, you can view it on your blog in any web browser. As the web page is rendered, the browser will determine where to break the lines of text for it to properly wrap around the width of your blog content container in relation to the size of the browser window.

Now, let's say you notice two words in your blog post are being split up by a line break in your web browser—such as your first and last name. Just as one line of text ends with your first name, your eyes have to revert back down to the left to read your last name.

If you wanted to make sure your first and last name stayed together no matter how the text wrapped, you could use the NBSP character in the HTML code of your blog post to tell the browser this.

You would go back to the WYSIWYG of your blog post, switch to the HTML view, find where your name appears and change it so that it appears like this:

First Last

Please note that for this HTML character to work, it must contain an ampersand (&) before the letters and a semicolon (;) after them—with no spaces anywhere.

Now when you update the blog post and refresh your blog post page in your web browser, you should see your name as "First Last" without any line break between them.

More Examples of When to Use a Non-Breaking Space

Names are just one good example of when it might be appropriate to use a non-breaking space, but there are many more.

Figures of Measurement

Examples:

  • 145 lbs
145 lbs
  • 39 inches
39 inches
  • 18 centimeters
18 centimeters

Dates and Times

Examples:

  • January 25th
January 25th
  • March 2019
March 2019
  • 7:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.

Monetary Amounts

Examples:

  • $40 million
$40 million
  • five hundred
five hundred

Mailing Addresses

Examples:

  • 52 Main St.
52 Main St.
  • P.O. Box 193
P.O. Box 193

Why You Sometimes See NBSP in Text Online

The only place you would typically use and see the NBSP character is in an HTML editor or when viewing HTML code. When used correctly in HTML code, the NBSP character isn't actually displayed in the web browser—it's rendered as a blank space.

Sometimes, though, certain apps don't properly parse the HTML, so the text on a web page might show extra bits of HTML code. This is why you might see " " between some words when you're viewing text content on a web page.