O'Reilly

CSS tab-size

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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.

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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!