On some popular rich text editors like CKEditor, the default behaviour for pressing "Enter" is to create a new paragraph (a <p> tag), while on the others, like the textarea here on Stackexchange, pressing "enter" would mean a line break <br>.

Things get complicated when users are copying from one editor to another editor. For example, if a user write his/her work on Microsoft Word, where the user need to press "enter" several times to create enough space for a paragraph, copy and pasting it to CKEditor would create unintentionally and ugly large gaps between paragraphs. It seems that I can configure CKEditor to make it Enter as <br>, instead of Enter as <p>, but is it really better if the editor on my site is intended for writing long passages with multiple paragraphs?

  • Do those using your site ever need a new line that's not the first line of a new paragraph? How often do they need this new line that's not a new paragraph in percentage terms versus how often they'd like a new paragraph instead?
    – Confused
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 21:58

1 Answer 1


While especially Microsoft Word is doing a lot of things wrong when it comes to online publishing, people should always keep in mind that Word is made for writing letters. Real physical outcome. People tend to compare the usability of the Microsoft Word to other editors without considering the print/digital difference.

A online editor is made for write online/digital content. The normal behaviour for a online editor is pushing enter for a new paragraph and shift+enter for a new line.

Information like this can be found very easily by googling for "soft return", "shift enter" or "shift return" I've attache you some links.

Additional: It is true, that the enter key is supposed to represent the soft return, not only as the enter key has the same icon as the soft break does, but also as the original intention was to revolutionise the keyboard for a new purpose (the computer), but the simplicity of the users understanding was not ready to understand that and therefore people started to use the enter key with the same purpose as the return key, making it become the same, atleast in the mind of the people. Therefore editor programmers started to use a enter press as equivalent to the return press and the shift enter as equivalent to the soft return.

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