The carriage return is a control character that that resets the position to the beginning of the line. In the old days, typewriters had a lever that would return to the beginning of the line once you were done typing the line, and then would usually also move down to the next line. In computer terms, the carriage return is usually used with a line feed (LF) that moves down to the next line–the combination is usually CRLF. This was important for older printers, which needed the carriage return code to happen first, because they were slow to move the print head all the way back.
- By Lowell Heddings on 08/31/12