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 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

  • CSS vs. JS Animation: Which is Faster?

    How is it possible that JavaScript-based animation has secretly always been as fast — or faster — than CSS transitions? And, how is it possible that Adobe and Google consistently release media-rich mobile sites that rival the performance of native apps? This article serves as a point-by-point...

  • Regular Expressions for the Rest of Us

    Sooner or later you’ll run across a regular expression. With their cryptic syntax, confusing documentation and massive learning curve, most developers settle for copying and pasting them from StackOverflow and hoping they work. But what if you could decode regular expressions and harness their power? In...

Incredible Demos

  • Retrieve Your Gmail Emails Using PHP and IMAP

    Grabbing emails from your Gmail account using PHP is probably easier than you think. Armed with PHP and its IMAP extension, you can retrieve emails from your Gmail account in no time! Just for fun, I'll be using the MooTools Fx.Accordion plugin...

  • MooTools 1.2 Image Protector: dwProtector

    Image protection is a hot topic on the net these days, and why shouldn't it be? If you spent two hours designing an awesome graphic, would you want it ripped of in matter of seconds? Hell no! That's why I've created an image...


  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!