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Should text indent be used on the web?


Question

I thought of adding text indent to my website (-having the first line of paragraphs indented), but first searched a bit, and discovered that many sites do not have any text indent. Why is that? I thought it makes it clearer where paragraphs start, so why isn't it used more often?

Is there a serious downside, or is it just a matter of fashion/trend?

2015/06/23
1
11
6/23/2015 6:46:00 PM

Accepted Answer

You can separate paragraphs a number of ways.

Indents

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 
Curabitur in orci pellentesque, volutpat metus eget, interdum 
mauris. 
    Nunc faucibus lectus id libero blandit, et varius augue 
vehicula. Cras eu dictum libero, a elementum velit. Fusce 
ultrices malesuada elit, et convallis massa tristique in. 
    Vivamus vel urna eget orci tincidunt luctus eget ac tortor. 
Integer faucibus ante eu mauris faucibus, sit amet tincidunt 
velit rhoncus. Proin a pellentesque nunc. Aliquam vitae neque 
sit amet neque aliquam ultrices eget vitae urna. 

Blank Line/Space

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 
Curabitur in orci pellentesque, volutpat metus eget, interdum 
mauris. 

Nunc faucibus lectus id libero blandit, et varius augue 
vehicula. Cras eu dictum libero, a elementum velit. Fusce 
ultrices malesuada elit, et convallis massa tristique in. 

Vivamus vel urna eget orci tincidunt luctus eget ac tortor. 
Integer faucibus ante eu mauris faucibus, sit amet tincidunt 
velit rhoncus. Proin a pellentesque nunc. Aliquam vitae neque 
sit amet neque aliquam ultrices eget vitae urna. 

Fleurons/Flourishes/icons/bugs

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 
Curabitur in orci pellentesque, volutpat metus eget, interdum 
mauris. ~•~ Nunc faucibus lectus id libero blandit, et varius 
augue vehicula. Cras eu dictum libero, a elementum velit. Fusce 
ultrices malesuada elit, et convallis massa tristique in. ~•~ 
Vivamus vel urna eget orci tincidunt luctus eget ac tortor. 
Integer faucibus ante eu mauris faucibus, sit amet tincidunt 
velit rhoncus. Proin a pellentesque nunc. Aliquam vitae neque 
sit amet neque aliquam ultrices eget vitae urna. 

Numbers

1  Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 
   Curabitur in orci pellentesque, volutpat metus eget, interdum 
   mauris. 
2  Nunc faucibus lectus id libero blandit, et varius augue 
   vehicula. Cras eu dictum libero, a elementum velit. Fusce 
   ultrices malesuada elit, et convallis massa tristique in. 
3  Vivamus vel urna eget orci tincidunt luctus eget ac tortor. 
   Integer faucibus ante eu mauris faucibus, sit amet tincidunt 
   velit rhoncus. Proin a pellentesque nunc. Aliquam vitae neque 
   sit amet neque aliquam ultrices eget vitae urna. 

All (as well as other methods) are all valid. What's usually frowned upon is combining them, as it's a bit redundant. If you already have a space between paragraphs, indenting isn't really going to help separate them visually.

As for why you usually see blank lines/space as the primary way to separate paragraphs on the web it's because that's just the default. By default, most browsers traditionally added space between <p> tags. So there was just no need to use indents. But you are certainly free to use indents if you'd prefer.

2015/06/23
8
6/23/2015 7:24:00 PM