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There are two ways to retrieve text from a element: html_text() and html_text2(). html_text() is a thin wrapper around xml2::xml_text() which returns just the raw underlying text. html_text2() simulates how text looks in a browser, using an approach inspired by JavaScript's innerText(). Roughly speaking, it converts <br /> to "\n", adds blank lines around <p> tags, and lightly formats tabular data.

html_text2() is usually what you want, but it is much slower than html_text() so for simple applications where performance is important you may want to use html_text() instead.


html_text(x, trim = FALSE)

html_text2(x, preserve_nbsp = FALSE)



A document, node, or node set.


If TRUE will trim leading and trailing spaces.


Should non-breaking spaces be preserved? By default, html_text2() converts to ordinary spaces to ease further computation. When preserve_nbsp is TRUE, &nbsp; will appear in strings as "\ua0". This often causes confusion because it prints the same way as " ".


A character vector the same length as x


# To understand the difference between html_text() and html_text2()
# take the following html:

html <- minimal_html(
  "<p>This is a paragraph.
    This another sentence.<br>This should start on a new line"

# html_text() returns the raw underlying text, which includes whitespace
# that would be ignored by a browser, and ignores the <br>
html %>% html_element("p") %>% html_text() %>% writeLines()
#> This is a paragraph.
#>     This another sentence.This should start on a new line

# html_text2() simulates what a browser would display. Non-significant
# whitespace is collapsed, and <br> is turned into a line break
html %>% html_element("p") %>% html_text2() %>% writeLines()
#> This is a paragraph. This another sentence.
#> This should start on a new line

# By default, html_text2() also converts non-breaking spaces to regular
# spaces:
html <- minimal_html("<p>x&nbsp;y</p>")
x1 <- html %>% html_element("p") %>% html_text()
x2 <- html %>% html_element("p") %>% html_text2()

# When printed, non-breaking spaces look exactly like regular spaces
#> [1] "x y"
#> [1] "x y"
# But aren't actually the same:
x1 == x2
#> [1] FALSE
# Which you can confirm by looking at their underlying binary
# representaion:
#> [1] 78 c2 a0 79
#> [1] 78 20 79