Plain Text

Pug provides four ways of getting plain text — that is, any code or text content that should go, mostly unprocessed, directly into the rendered HTML. They are useful in different situations.

Plain text does still use tag and string interpolation, but the first word on the line is not a Pug tag. And because plain text is not escaped, you can also include literal HTML.

One common pitfall here is managing whitespace in the rendered HTML. We’ll talk about that at the end of this page.

Inline in a Tag

The easiest way to add plain text is inline. The first term on the line is the tag itself. Everything after the tag and one space will be the text contents of that tag. This is most useful when the plain text content is short (or if you don’t mind lines running long).

p This is plain old <em>text</em> content.
<p>This is plain old <em>text</em> content.</p>

Literal HTML

Whole lines are also treated as plain text when they begin with a left angle bracket (<), which may occasionally be useful for writing literal HTML tags in places that could otherwise be inconvenient. For example, one use case is conditional comments. Since literal HTML tags do not get processed, they do not self-close, unlike Pug tags.


  p Indenting the body tag here would make no difference.
  p HTML itself isn't whitespace-sensitive.


  <p>Indenting the body tag here would make no difference.</p>
  <p>HTML itself isn't whitespace-sensitive.</p>


Piped Text

Another way to add plain text to templates is to prefix a line with a pipe character (|). This method is useful for mixing plain text with inline tags, as we discuss later, in the Whitespace Control section.

  | The pipe always goes at the beginning of its own line,
  | not counting indentation.
<p>The pipe always goes at the beginning of its own line, not counting indentation.</p>

Block in a Tag

Often you might want large blocks of text within a tag. A good example is writing JavaScript and CSS code in the script and style tags. To do this, just add a . right after the tag name, or after the closing parenthesis, if the tag has attributes.

There should be no space between the tag and the dot. Plain text contents of the tag must be indented one level:

  if (usingPug)
    console.log('you are awesome')
    console.log('use pug')
  if (usingPug)
    console.log('you are awesome')
    console.log('use pug')

You can also create a dot block of plain text after other tags within the parent tag.

  p This text belongs to the paragraph tag.
    This text belongs to the div tag.
  <p>This text belongs to the paragraph tag.</p><br/>This text belongs to the div tag.</div>

Whitespace Control

Managing the whitespace of the rendered HTML is one of the trickiest parts about learning Pug. Don’t worry, though, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

You just need to remember two main points about how whitespace works. When compiling to HTML:

  1. Pug removes indentation, and all whitespace between elements.
    • So, the closing tag of an HTML element will touch the opening tag of the next. This is generally not a problem for block-level elements like paragraphs, because they will still render as separate paragraphs in the web browser (unless you have changed their CSS display property). See the methods described below, however, for when you do need to insert space between elements.
  2. Pug preserves whitespace within elements, including:
    • all whitespace in the middle of a line of text.
    • leading whitespace beyond the block indentation.
    • trailing whitespace.
    • line breaks within a plain text block, or between consecutive piped lines.

So…Pug drops the whitespace between tags, but keeps the whitespace inside them. The value here is that it gives you full control over whether tags and/or plain text should touch. It even lets you place tags in the middle of words.

| You put the em
em pha
| sis on the wrong syl
em la
| ble.
You put the em<em>pha</em>sis on the wrong syl<em>la</em>ble.

The trade-off is that it requires you to think about and take control over whether tags and text touch.

If you need the text and/or tags to touch — perhaps you need a period to appear outside the hyperlink at the end of a sentence — this is easy, as it’s basically what happens unless you tell Pug otherwise.

a ...sentence ending with a link
| .
<a>...sentence ending with a link</a>.

If you need to add space, you have a few options:

You could add one or more empty piped lines — a pipe with either spaces or nothing after it. This will insert whitespace in the rendered HTML.

| Don't
button#self-destruct touch
| me!
<button id="self-destruct">touch</button> me!

If your inline tags don’t require many attributes, you may find it easiest to use tag interpolation, or literal HTML, within a plain text block.

  Using regular tags can help keep your lines short,
  but interpolated tags may be easier to #[em visualize]
  whether the tags and text are whitespace-separated.
<p>Using regular tags can help keep your lines short, but interpolated tags may be easier to <em>visualize</em> whether the tags and text are whitespace-separated.</p>

Depending on where you need the whitespace, you could add an extra space at the beginning of the text (after the block indentation, pipe character, and/or tag). Or you could add a trailing space at the end of the text.

NOTE the trailing and leading spaces here:

| Hey, check out 
a(href="http://example.biz/kitteh.png") this picture
|  of my cat!
Hey, check out <a href="http://example.biz/kitteh.png">this picture</a> of my cat!

The above solution works perfectly well, but is admittedly perhaps a little dangerous: many code editors by default will remove trailing whitespace on save. You and all your contributors may have to configure your editors to prevent automatic trailing whitespace removal.

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Licensed under the MIT license.