characters for indenting paragraphs

+7 votes
What keyboard character should be put at the beginning of a new paragraph to make an indention?
in WikiTree Help by Ginger Ratzlaff G2G3 (4.0k points)

4 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

If you're talking about the usual convention where the first line of a paragraph is indented and subsequent lines are not, there is no single character or symbol to do this.  In fact, Wikitree policy is that "Indentation should not be used to start paragraphs or for extended quotations. It should only be used for spacing other special elements that need to be set apart from the text."  The colon (:) character will indent the first line and all subsequent lines (left margin aligned).  Typing in five spaces will be stripped out by the Wiki interpreter when displayed.  If you have a bona fide special element need, the most straightforward method is probably to enter


at the beginning of the line to create five spaces, followed by your text.  nbsp stands for non-breaking space.

by Kerry Larson G2G6 Pilot (192k points)
selected by Stephanie Ward
Wow. I had no idea Chris prefers html code over wiki code for indented quotes.  I've been using ":" for all the years I've been here. I've always thought html code was frowned upon and when we had wikicode equivalents we should use those.
Hi Jillaine. Kerry is quite correct. has been the style page since 2014.

Thanks for the (belated-- to me) update. I'll update my practice with new editing and update old formatting as I come across it.

Are there other cases where HTML code is preferred over wiki code?
Hang on.  A : will indent the whole paragraph as a block.    etc will only indent the 1st line of the paragraph.
Wiki vs HTML is a delusion anyway, because all the tags that look like HTML are interpreted by MediaWiki.  They have to be, because they interact with the wiki tags.

You can't pass anything through.  Any html-style tags not handled by MediaWiki are taken as literal text and the < > are converted to &lt; &gt; so that they can't break the page.
+5 votes
You can use a colon


or a few

by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (151k points)
+8 votes
by David Selman G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+3 votes

Hi there.

I'm guessing this topic is quite old now, but I've just come across this problem and so thought I'd address it here. Hope that's OK.

I would like to suggest that indenting paragraphs with a colon is not the way forward, mainly for accessibility reasons.

For those who don't know, I am totally blind and use a screen reader called NVDA. It does various processing on the content it retrieves from different applications including web browsers, documents, emails, interface controls and the like in order to try and read it, either in braille, or in my case using text-to-speech technology.

While visually the result of the colon may be indenting the text, what it's actually doing in the HTML is creating a described list (for those with a knowledge of HTML, the dl and dd tags). So when paragraphs are indented this way, screen readers are processing those tags and recognising a list where in actual fact there is no list.


I love WikiTree.

Come and join me there.

A screen reader would read this normally.

:I love WikiTree.

Come and join me there.

A screen reader would read the following:

List with one item I love WikiTree.

Out of list Come and join me there.

Now imagine reading all those list announcements for every paragraph in a long narrative.

For that reason, if you're going to indent I would definitely suggest using the &bnsp combination, as literally all that does is add extra spaces, which a screen reader would read normally.

ago by Day Garwood G2G6 Mach 2 (20.1k points)

Thank you for this important point, Day.

&nbsp; seems to be permitted by the Recommended Tags Help page, because it appears in

However, unfortunately a series of &nbsp; does not do the right thing with a long paragraph. A colon indents the whole paragraph, but &nbsp; only indents the first line.

Is <blockquote> an alternative? It indents a whole paragraph (further than colon does). How does blockquote come out on a screen reader?

Hi Jim,

Blockquote is similar. An opening blockquote tag renders the text "block quote", and a closing blockquote renders the text "out of block quote".

It would then also become difficult to separate genuine long quotations from paragraphs.


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