How many spaces for tab character(\t)?

Last Updated On Friday 27th May 2022

how many spaces is a tab

How Many Spaces in a Tab.Tab is how many spaces.A tab character should advance to the next tab stop. Historically tab stops were every 8th character.

a       b

c++ tab character

Imagine a ruler with tab stops every 8 spaces. A tab character will align text to the next tab stop.

	                                0       8       16      24      32      40
printf("\tbar\n");              \t      bar
printf("foo\tbar\n");           foo\t   bar
printf("longerfoo\tbar");       longerfoo\t     bar

A Tab character shifts over to the next tab stop. By default, there is one every 8 spaces.

TAB Settings VIM

vim change tab size

  • :set expandtab Use this option if you want every TAB to be expanded to spaces.
  • :set smarttab If this option is set, then TAB command shifts line to right and BACKSPACE shifts line to left, both inserting number of blanks as defined in shiftwidth. If smarttab is not set, then TAB inserts blanks according to tabstop.
  • :set softtabstop This one tells Vim to interpret TAB as an indent command instead of insert-a-TAB command.

set tab width vim

:set tabstop Simply, it instructs Vim how many space characters Vim counts for every TAB command. According to Vim manual it’s recommended to leave default tabstop=8, what means every TAB is displayed with 8 space characters, and adjust only softtabstop and shiftwidth.

Indentation Setting

vim set indent

  • :set autoindent If set, Vim automatically indents a new line to the same indentation used by previous line. In other words ViM automatically tabs a new line. smartindent and cindent are autoindent variations and changes the way indentation and formatting more precisely.
  • :set smartindent Context-sensitive autoindent, great when coding, makes intendation aware of C-like syntax.
  • :set shiftwidth Using this option you can define number of spaces placed on every indentation step i.e. :set shiftwidth=3 will instruct Vim to indent with 3 spaces for every TAB command.
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