O'Reilly

CSS tab-size

By on  

The ridiculous tabs vs. spaces debate within code can get just as heated as the JavaScript semi-colon debate.  I'm a tab guy myself but to each their own...just don't work on a project with me if you aren't.  Anyways, I was quite surprised to find that you can set the tab space number of <pre> element code with CSS's tab-size property!

The CSS

The tab-size property takes an integer value representing the number of spaces a tab represents:

/* 4 spaces per tab */
pre {
	tab-size: 4;
}

/* No indentation */
pre {
	tab-size: 0;
}

As you can see, you could even remove indentation all together.  Not recommended but possible.

I love this property as it's especially useful for code-heavy blogs, though it doesn't have much use outside of that.

Track.js Error Reporting

Upcoming Events

Recent Features

  • An Interview with Eric Meyer

    Your early CSS books were instrumental in pushing my love for front end technologies. What was it about CSS that you fell in love with and drove you to write about it? At first blush, it was the simplicity of it as compared to the table-and-spacer...

  • Chris Coyierâs Favorite CodePen Demos II

    Hey everyone! Before we get started, I just want to say it’s damn hard to pick this few favorites on CodePen. Not because, as a co-founder of CodePen, I feel like a dad picking which kid he likes best (RUDE). But because there is just so...

Incredible Demos

  • Scrolling &#8220;Agree to Terms&#8221; Component with MooTools ScrollSpy

    Remember the good old days of Windows applications forcing you to scroll down to the bottom of the "terms and conditions" pane, theoretically in an effort ensure that you actually read them? You're saying "No David, don't do it." Too late -- I've done...

  • Rotate Elements with CSS Transformations

    I've gone on a million rants about the lack of progress with CSS and how I'm happy that both JavaScript and browser-specific CSS have tried to push web design forward. One of those browser-specific CSS properties we love is CSS transformations. CSS transformations...

Discussion

  1. MaxArt

    Didn’t know about that.
    It’s so basic that I wouldn’t be surprised if that was defined in CSS1.
    But it’s a recent thing it seems, and still vendor prefixed. No sign of support in IE, as Microsoft stubbornly thinks that tabs are as huge as 8 spaces!

  2. Aicke Schulz

    For vendor prefixes and browser support comparison: https://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/CSS/tab-size

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!

Recently on David Walsh Blog

  • OâReilly Velocity Conference â New York

    My favorite front-end conference has always been O'Reilly's Velocity Conference because the conference series has focused on one of the most undervalued parts of client side coding:  speed.  So often we're so excited that our JavaScript works that we forget that speed, efficiency, and performance are just as important. The next Velocity...

  • Free Download: Font Bundle Featuring 17 Incredible Typefaces

    The only thing we love more than a good font, is a good free font. So we’ve combed the Web for some of our favorite free fonts, and gathered them here in a single download. You’ll find a variety of useful typefaces, from highly geometric designs...

  • OâReilly Velocity Conference â Amsterdam

    My favorite front-end conference has always been O'Reilly's Velocity Conference because the conference series has focused on one of the most undervalued parts of client side coding:  speed.  So often we're so excited that our JavaScript works that we forget that speed, efficiency, and performance are just as important. The next Velocity...

  • CanIUse Command Line

    Every front-end developer should be well acquainted with CanIUse, the website that lets you view browser support for browser features.  When people criticize my blog posts for not detailing browser support for features within the post, I tell them to check CanIUse:  always up to date, unlike...

  • Generating Alternative Stylesheets for Browsers Without @media

    If your CSS code is built with a mobile-first approach, it probably contains all the rules that make up the "desktop" view inside @media statements. That's great, but browsers that don't support media queries (IE 8 and below) will simply ignore them, ending up getting the...