HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
4.9. Special Character Encoding
For the most part, characters within documents that are not part of a tag
are rendered as is by the browser. However, some characters have spe-
cial meaning and are not directly rendered, and other characters can't be
typed into the source document from a conventional keyboard. Special
characters need either a special name or a numeric character encoding
for inclusion in a document.
4.9.1. Special Characters
As has become obvious in the discussion and examples leading up to
this section, three characters in source documents have very special
meaning: the less-than sign ( < ), the greater-than sign ( > ), and the am-
persand ( & ). These characters delimit tags and special character referen-
ces. They'll confuse a browser if left dangling alone or with improper tag
syntax, so you have to go out of your way to include their actual, literal
characters in your documents. [*]
[*] The only exception is that these characters may appear literally within the <listing> and <xmp>
tags, but this is a moot point because the tags are obsolete.
Similarly, you have to use special encoding to include double quotation
mark characters within a quoted string, or when you want to include a
special character that doesn't appear on your keyboard but is part of the
ISO Latin-1 character set that most browsers implement and support.
4.9.2. Inserting Special Characters
To include a special character in your document, enclose either its stand-
ard entity name or a pound sign ( # ) and its numeric position in the Lat-
in-1 standard character set [*] inside a leading ampersand and an ending
semicolon, without any spaces in between. Whew. That's a long explan-
ation for what is really a simple thing to do, as the following examples
illustrate. The first example shows how to include a greater-than sign in a
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