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In HTML, all I would have to do is:

This is line one
<br>.<br>.<br>
This is line two

to get the following output:

This is line one
.
.
This is line two

I've been playing around with \\ and \newline but can't get it to work. Can someone provide a working example?

UPDATE:

Ok, I found out I was doing it entirely wrong. I relied on extra line breaks to give me more vertical space. \baselineskip matches my needs better and gives the user more fine control.

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No, that won't be correct. See my updated answer bellow. –  Juan A. Navarro Jul 23 '11 at 16:39
    
Please note, that this code is wrong in HTML, too, as logically there are no lines to end. The correct solution in HTML probably includes the use of CSS, so HTML/CSS is quite similar to LaTeX in this regard. –  Patrick Häcker May 2 at 19:12

5 Answers 5

up vote 29 down vote accepted

LaTeX is for professional typesetting and doesn't allow you the freedom of HTML. Two line breaks in a row don't make any sense for typography. If you want to add more vertical space using the optional argument of \\[<extra vertical space to add>]. The distance of two lines is given by \baselineskip:

This is line one\\[2\baselineskip]
This is line two

You can also use \bigskip between paragraphs to add more vertical space between them. Note that there is a difference between line breaks and new paragraphs.

This is the last line of one paragraph.
\par% or empty line in the source code
\bigskip
This is the first line of the next paragraph.
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Yes, this method is more elegant. –  Level1Coder Jul 23 '11 at 16:43
2  
Why the false dichotomy between "professional typesetting" and "freedom" :) –  Aditya Oct 2 '12 at 15:59

You should separate paragraphs with blank lines. If, occasionally, you want an extra separation between two paragraphs you should use one of the \...skip commands, for example:

\noindent
This is the first paragraph.

\bigskip\noindent
This is the second paragraph.

Note that you wont be willing to do that too often, except for the occasional case. If you want to suppress indentation in all your paragraphs in your document, and leave a larger space between them, then use the parskip package

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{parskip}
\begin{document}

This is the first paragraph.

This is the second paragraph.

\end{document}

If for some reason you really want “line breaks” (as opposed to “paragraph breaks”) then use \\, i.e.:

This is line one \\
. \\
. \\
This is line two
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If those dots are just for show, and there's no content between the \\s, then it won't work directly...but you can fix that by sticking an empty \mbox{} between them. –  Ben Lerner Jul 23 '11 at 16:01
5  
But if you are trying to leave empty space between two paragraphs and trying to fake it with line breaks, then you're doing it wrong. –  Juan A. Navarro Jul 23 '11 at 16:06

What is important to note is that \\ is for a premature line-break within a paragraph: it does not terminate the paragraph.

To add manual space between paragraphs, use \par\vspace{<dimen>}.

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FWIW, the equivalent in ConTeXt is \blank[3*line]. For example:

\starttext
One line
\blank[3*line]
2nd line
\stoptext

If you want a skip equal to bigskip, you can use \blank[big]; to get twice the bigskip, use \blank[2*big] etc.

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This is line one
.\par.\par
This is line two

or

This is line one
.

.

This is line two

an empty line is the same as \par. Only in special cases a \\ makes sense instead of \par

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6  
The HTML equivalent of <br> is \\ , \par would be more like the closing of a </p> –  Juan A. Navarro Jul 23 '11 at 16:04
    
I'm intrigued. To be honest, I always used \\ instead of \par. Could you mention one of the special cases for \\ ? –  Paulo Cereda Jul 23 '11 at 16:13
2  
@Paulo: In running text you normally never have manual line breaks just paragraph breaks. I use \\ (outside tabulars etc.) normally only when I have to stack two diagrams or images or something similar. –  Martin Scharrer Jul 23 '11 at 16:44
7  
@Paulo: writing poems, tabular lines, equation lines. But not inside normal text that should always be paragraphs, divided by an empty line or a \par. It is really difficult for TeX to do a proper garapgraph formatting if you use \\ –  Herbert Jul 23 '11 at 16:47
8  
@Juan: a lot of users use the <br> tag in a wrong way where also <p> .. </p> should be used. –  Herbert Jul 23 '11 at 17:20

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