I'm collecting data via a form plugin and saving that data in form of a post with several custom fields. I then display the content of the post and the custom fields on my post template using...

if( get_post_meta( $post->ID, '_aboutus', true ) ) :                        
    echo '<div class="companyaboutus">' . get_post_meta($post->ID, '_aboutus', true) . '</div>';

The form field for the "About Us" text is a textarea and most contributors add several lines of text into the field. Displaying the content/text via the code above doesn't show any line breaks though - any idea how to preserve the line breaks?

  • You could add the CSS white-space: pre-wrap. Check out this answer on StackOverflow
    – Kaspar Lee
    Jan 17, 2016 at 9:45

7 Answers 7


I stuck with the same question and actually tested wpautop(). It worked, e.g.

echo wpautop(get_post_meta($post->ID, '_aboutus', true));

Still, I came around one issue. When sanitizing the user input, don’t use a sanitization method that removed the line breaks before using wpautop :)


This could probably help,


This converts the new lines into html <br/> tags


I dont't know which form plugin you use and how it saves data to the database. But I would asume that the linebreaks are saved to the database.

But as you might know, a line break in the source code of a HTML page does not show a line break on the browser. The is a very handy PHP function called nl2br() which will add a
tag for each line break in the user content text.


What I like to do is re-create all the default filters that are applied to the_content by adding the following in functions.php.

 * Recreate the default filters on the_content
 * this will make it much easier to output the meta content with proper/expected formatting
add_filter( 'meta_content', 'wptexturize'        );
add_filter( 'meta_content', 'convert_smilies'    );
add_filter( 'meta_content', 'convert_chars'      );
add_filter( 'meta_content', 'wpautop'            );
add_filter( 'meta_content', 'shortcode_unautop'  );
add_filter( 'meta_content', 'prepend_attachment' );

Then the template code would look like:

if( $about = get_post_meta($post->ID, '_aboutus', true ) ): 
  echo '<div class="companyaboutus">'. apply_filters( 'meta_content', $about ) . '</div>'; 

You could, of course, use the_content but I found that plugins also like to hook into that for displaying sharing buttons and the like and so this method avoids sharing buttons from taking over your page.


This seems to work fine:

<? $source = get_post_meta($post->ID, '_aboutus', true);
$source = explode("\n", $source); ?>
<? for($i = 0;$i<sizeof($source);$i++){ ?>
<? echo $source[$i]; ?><br />
<? } ?>
<? } ?>
<?php if(get_post_meta($post->ID, '_aboutus', true)):                                       echo '</div>'; endif; ?>

Concerts \n to <br>

nl2br(get_post_meta($post->ID, '_aboutus', true));

Use wp_kses with an empty array as the allowed_html parameter. This will sanitize the string without removing line breaks and should pass most coding standards

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