How to retain carriage returns or line breaks in an ASP.NET web page

Many newcomers to web development cannot get their head around why the carriage returns they made in their data on input from a textarea, or from a text file, Excel spreadsheet etc. do not appear when the web page renders.

The solution is fairly obvious once the newcomer realises that a web page is only the browser's interpretation of html markup, and that a new line in html is represented by the <br /> tag. So what is needed is a way to swap carriage returns or line feeds with the <br /> tag. Well, a way to Replace() them, actually.

<%# Eval("MyMultiLineValue").ToString().Replace(<linebreak>,"<br />") %>

The string.Replace() method allows this, but we also need to identify what we want to replace with the html tag. How is a new line <linebreak> represented in C# or VB.Net?

In C#, it's "\r\n", while in VB.Net, it's vbcrlf. However, there is also a language independent option that does just the same thing: Environment.NewLine.

<%# Eval("MyMultiLineValue").ToString().Replace(Environment.NewLine,"<br />") %>

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