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Advanced converter that parses HTML and returns beautiful text.


  • Inline and block-level tags.
  • Tables with colspans and rowspans.
  • Links with both text and href.
  • Word wrapping.
  • Unicode support.
  • Plenty of customization options.


Available here: CHANGELOG.md

Version 6 contains a ton of changes, so it worth to take a look.

Version 7 contains an important change for custom formatters.


npm install html-to-text

Or when you want to use it as command line interface it is recommended to install it globally via

npm install html-to-text -g


const { htmlToText } = require('html-to-text');

const html = '<h1>Hello World</h1>';
const text = htmlToText(html, {
  wordwrap: 130
console.log(text); // Hello World


General options

Option Default Description
baseElement 'body' The tag(s) whose text content will be captured from the html and added to the resulting text output.
Single element or an array of elements can be specified, each as a single tag name with optional css class and id parameters e.g. ['p.class1.class2#id1#id2', 'p.class1.class2#id1#id2'].
decodeOptions { isAttributeValue: false, strict: false } Text decoding options given to he.decode. For more informations see the he module.
formatters {} An object with custom formatting functions for specific elements (see Override formatting section below).
limits Describes how to limit the output text in case of large HTML documents.
limits.ellipsis '...' A string to insert in place of skipped content.
limits.maxChildNodes undefined Maximum number of child nodes of a single node to be added to the output. Unlimited if undefined.
limits.maxDepth undefined Stop looking for nodes to add to the output below this depth in the DOM tree. Unlimited if undefined.
limits.maxInputLength 16_777_216 If the input string is longer than this value - it will be truncated and a message will be sent to stderr. Ellipsis is not used in this case. Unlimited if undefined.
longWordSplit Describes how to wrap long words.
longWordSplit.wrapCharacters [] An array containing the characters that may be wrapped on. Checked in order, search stops once line length requirement can be met.
longWordSplit.forceWrapOnLimit false Break long words at the line length limit in case no better wrap opportunities found.
preserveNewlines false By default, any newlines \n from the input HTML are collapsed into space as any other HTML whitespace characters. If true, these newlines will be preserved in the output. This is only useful when input HTML carries some plain text formatting instead of proper tags.
returnDomByDefault true Convert the entire document if we don't find the tag defined in baseElement.
tables [] Allows to select certain tables by the class or id attribute from the HTML document. This is necessary because the majority of HTML E-Mails uses a table based layout. Prefix your table selectors with an . for the class and with a # for the id attribute. All other tables are ignored.
You can assign true to this attribute to select all tables.
tags Describes how different tags should be formatted. See Tags section below.
whitespaceCharacters ' \t\r\n\f\u200b' A string of characters that are recognized as HTML whitespace. Default value uses the set of characters defined in HTML4 standard. (It includes Zero-width space compared to living standard.)
wordwrap 80 After how many chars a line break should follow.
Set to null or false to disable word-wrapping.

Options deprecated in version 6

Old option Instead use
hideLinkHrefIfSameAsText tags: { 'a': { options: { hideLinkHrefIfSameAsText: true } } }
ignoreHref tags: { 'a': { options: { ignoreHref: true } } }
ignoreImage tags: { 'img': { format: 'skip' } }
linkHrefBaseUrl tags: {
'a': { options: { baseUrl: 'https://example.com' } },
'img': { options: { baseUrl: 'https://example.com' } }
noAnchorUrl tags: { 'a': { options: { noAnchorUrl: true } } }
noLinkBrackets tags: { 'a': { options: { noLinkBrackets: true } } }
singleNewLineParagraphs tags: {
'p': { options: { leadingLineBreaks: 1, trailingLineBreaks: 1 } },
'pre': { options: { leadingLineBreaks: 1, trailingLineBreaks: 1 } }
unorderedListItemPrefix tags: { 'ul': { options: { itemPrefix: ' * ' } } }
uppercaseHeadings tags: {
'h1': { options: { uppercase: false } },
'table': { options: { uppercaseHeaderCells: false } }

Deprecated options will be removed with future major version update.

Options removed in version 6

Old option Description
format The way formatters are written has changed completely. New formatters have to be added to the formatters option, old ones can not be reused without rewrite. See new instructions below.


Example for tag-specific options:

const { htmlToText } = require('html-to-text');

const html = '<a href="/page.html">Page</a>';
const text = htmlToText(html, {
  tags: {
    'a': { options: { baseUrl: 'https://example.com' } },
    'figure': { format: 'block' }
console.log(text); // Page [https://example.com/page.html]

For new tags you have to specify the format value. For tags listed below you can skip it and only provide options. (Valid options listed in the next table.)

By default there are following tag to format assignments:

Tag name Default format Notes
'' inline Catch-all default for unknown tags.
a anchor
article block
aside block
blockquote blockquote
br lineBreak
div block
footer block
form block
h1 heading
h2 heading
h3 heading
h4 heading
h5 heading
h6 heading
header block
hr horizontalLine
img image
main block
nav block
ol orderedList
p paragraph
pre pre
table table there is also dataTable format. Using it will be equivalent to setting tables to true. tables option might be deprecated in the future.
ul unorderedList
wbr wbr

More formats also available for use:

  • skip - as the name implies it skips the given tag with it's contents without printing anything.

Format options are specified for each tag indepentently:

Option Default Applies to Description
leadingLineBreaks 1, 2 or 3 all block-level formatters Number of line breaks to separate previous block from this one.
Note that N+1 line breaks are needed to make N empty lines.
trailingLineBreaks 1 or 2 all block-level formatters Number of line breaks to separate this block from the next one.
Note that N+1 line breaks are needed to make N empty lines.
baseUrl null anchor, image Server host for link href attributes and image src attributes relative to the root (the ones that start with /).
For example, with baseUrl = 'http://asdf.com' and <a href='/dir/subdir'>...</a> the link in the text will be http://asdf.com/dir/subdir.
Keep in mind that baseUrl should not end with a /.
hideLinkHrefIfSameAsText false anchor By default links are translated in the following way:
<a href='link'>text</a> => becomes => text [link].
If this option is set to true and link and text are the same, [link] will be omitted and only text will be present.
ignoreHref false anchor Ignore all links. Only process internal text of anchor tags.
noAnchorUrl true anchor Ignore anchor links (where href='#...').
noLinkBrackets false anchor Don't print brackets around links.
itemPrefix ' * ' unorderedList String prefix for each list item.
uppercase true heading By default, headings (<h1>, <h2>, etc) are uppercased.
Set this to false to leave headings as they are.
length undefined horizontalLine Length of the line. If undefined then wordwrap value is used. Falls back to 40 if that's also disabled.
trimEmptyLines true blockquote Trim empty lines from blockquote.
While empty lines should be preserved in HTML, space-saving behavior is chosen as default for convenience.
uppercaseHeaderCells true table, dataTable By default, heading cells (<th>) are uppercased.
Set this to false to leave heading cells as they are.
maxColumnWidth 60 table, dataTable Data table cell content will be wrapped to fit this width instead of global wordwrap limit.
Set this to undefined in order to fall back to wordwrap limit.
colSpacing 3 table, dataTable Number of spaces between data table columns.
rowSpacing 0 table, dataTable Number of empty lines between data table rows.

Override formatting

This is significantly changed in version 6.

formatters option is an object that holds formatting functions. They can be assigned to format different tags by key in the tags option.

Each formatter is a function of four arguments that returns nothing. Arguments are:

  • elem - the HTML element to be processed by this formatter;
  • walk - recursive function to process the children of this element. Called as walk(elem.children, builder);
  • builder - BlockTextBuilder object. Manipulate this object state to build the output text;
  • formatOptions - options that are specified for a tag, along with this formatter (Note: if you need general html-to-text options - they are accessible via builder.options).

Custom formatter example:

const { htmlToText } = require('html-to-text');

const html = '<foo>Hello World</foo>';
const text = htmlToText(html, {
  formatters: {
    // Create a formatter.
    'fooBlockFormatter': function (elem, walk, builder, formatOptions) {
      builder.openBlock({ leadingLineBreaks: formatOptions.leadingLineBreaks || 1 });
      walk(elem.children, builder);
      builder.closeBlock({ trailingLineBreaks: formatOptions.trailingLineBreaks || 1 });
  tags: {
    // Assign it to `foo` tags.
    'foo': {
      format: 'fooBlockFormatter',
      options: { leadingLineBreaks: 1, trailingLineBreaks: 1 }
console.log(text); // Hello World!

Refer to built-in formatters for more examples.

Refer to BlockTextBuilder for available functions and arguments.

Note: BlockTextBuilder got some important changes in the version 7. Positional arguments are deprecated and formatters written for the version 6 have to be updated accordingly in order to keep working after next major update.

Command Line Interface

It is possible to use html-to-text as command line interface. This allows an easy validation of your generated text and the integration in other systems that does not run on node.js.

html-to-text uses stdin and stdout for data in and output. So you can use html-to-text the following way:

cat example/test.html | html-to-text > test.txt

There also all options available as described above. You can use them like this:

cat example/test.html | html-to-text --tables=#invoice,.address --wordwrap=100 > test.txt

The tables option has to be declared as comma separated list without whitespaces.




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