# What is the difference between \newline and \\?

As far as I know, `\\` and `\newline` both insert a new line. But they do not have an identical expansion and tracing shows they do not execute the same commands, so what is their difference?

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As far as I know, `\newline` is defined as the normal (i.e., without optional argument and non-starred) version of \\. –  Gonzalo Medina Aug 30 '11 at 22:58
@Gonzalo: Yip, from `latex.ltx1`, `\DeclareRobustCommand\newline{\@normalcr\relax}` where `expandafter\let\expandafter\@normalcr \csname\expandafter\@gobble\string\\ \endcsname`. –  Werner Aug 30 '11 at 23:28

From a usage point-of-view, there is a difference between `\\` and `\newline`:

• `\\`

Tells LaTeX to start a new line. This command has a starred version and takes an optional parameter:

• `\\*`: Similar to `\\` but also tells LaTeX not to start a new page after the line by issuing a `\nobreak`.

• `\\[<len>]`: This specifies the vertical space `<len>` to be inserted before the next line. Can also be negative.

The above two can also be mixed. That is, using both a starred + optional argument combination `\\*[<len>]`.

• `\newline`

Similar to `\\`.

From a technical point of view (in `latex.ltx`), these commands are defined as follows, justifying the similarity between `\\` (unstarred and without optional argument) and `\newline`:

``````\DeclareRobustCommand\\{%
\let \reserved@e \relax
\let \reserved@f \relax
\@ifstar{\let \reserved@e \vadjust \let \reserved@f \nobreak \@xnewline}%
\@xnewline}
\expandafter\let\expandafter\@normalcr
\csname\expandafter\@gobble\string\\ \endcsname
\DeclareRobustCommand\newline{\@normalcr\relax}
``````

LaTeX also redefines `\\` to mean other things depending on the environment(s) you use. For example, within an `array` or `tabular` environment, the commonly-used `\\` has a slightly different meaning to when it is used in regular text.

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Note that \\ will be redefined by some commands like `\centering` while `\newline` won't. For that reason using `\newline` with `\centering` will give undesired results. –  Axel Sommerfeldt Aug 31 '11 at 7:15