Vim Options


  • :set [no](option|shortcut)
  • :set (option|shortcut)=value
  • :set (option|shortcut)(?|&)
  • do not use : in the vimrc file


See vimcast 1 video

See vimcast 1 transcript


To set the options - use :set instruction. Example:

:set ts=4
:set shiftwidth=4
:set expandtab
:set autoindent

To view the current value of the option - type :set {option}?. Example:

:set ts?

To reset the value of the option to its default - type :set {option}&. Example:

:set ts&



To make indentations 4 spaces wide:

:set shiftwidth=4


To use spaces as indents, 4 spaces wide:

:set expandtab
:set softtabstop=4

softtabstop and sts are equivalent:

:set sts=4


To use tabs as indents, 4 spaces wide:

:set noexpandtab
:set tabstop=4

tabstop and ts are equivalent:

:set ts=4

Automatic Indentation

:set autoindent

Instruction descriptions

tabstopwidth of tab character8
expandtabcauses spaces to be use instead of tab characteroff
softabstoptune the whitespace0
shiftwidthdetermines whitespace amount when in normal mode8

Invisible characters

Show or hide invisible characters

To show invisible characters:

:set list 

To hide invisible characters:

:set nolist

To toggle between showing and hiding invisible characters:

:set list!

Default symbol characters

$New Line

Customize symbols

To set the tab character to **> ** and the new line character to ¬

set listchars=tab:>\ ,eol:¬

To set the spaces to _

set listchars=spaces

To see a list of character options

:help listchars